Will the legacy of COVID-19 be to close the poverty gap?
Updated 22:22, 28-Sep-2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the poverty gap globally, it has forced through structural changes that could help dramatically redress it in the future, according to the head of the United Nations' Development Program (UNDP). 

Speaking on CGTN Europe's Innovation, Action, Change program, Achim Steiner said innovation in technology had been propelled forward by "five to 10 years." That has had direct implications for controlling the virus but also broader benefits in the healthcare, education and justice sectors.

However, with work on poverty alleviation having been pushed back decades by the economic and social costs of COVID-19, Steiner recognizes that his organization must play a major role in ensuring opportunities to recover more effectively are not missed.


The role of the UNDP "is to bring that integral perspective, enabling governments to make choices that are investment choices in the future," he said.

When asked about how he sees the role of the UNDP post-pandemic, Steiner is optimistic. 

"Sometimes out of the worst moments in human history, we come with some of the boldest responses. Countries have proven already ... whether it's [on] poverty eradication [or] it's action on climate change ... You can actually do a great deal more if you choose to do things differently."

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Cover image: /Amel Emric/AP

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