COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Humanity needs leadership and
solidarity to defeat the coronavirus

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.

Countries are racing to slow the spread of the disease by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools.

The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.

But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.

We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.

Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.

UNDP response

Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.

“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner

How is UNDP Lao PDR supporting the COVID-19 Response?

Following the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, on 29 March the Government of Lao PDR formally announced nation-wide lockdown. Despite the still limited number of COVID-19 cases, the outbreak in the region has impacted trade, construction and tourism and has therefore a significant effect on the economy. Read more

UNDP along with the United Nations Country Team is providing support with the assessment of the short- and long-term impacts of COVID 19 on sectors and this will feed into to the 9th National Social and Economic Development Plan 2021-2025.

Community radio volunteers working at their stations during the spread of COVID-19 in Laos. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR

UNDP Lao PDR has been supporting the dissemination of messages on preventive measures and COVID-19 related topics, upon the request of the Lao Ministry of Health, United Nations Commnunications Group, together with WHO and other sister agencies through its Community Radio network.

The UNDP- supported project has been extended to eight priority districts reaching out to around 300,000 people in their own ethnic languages, in rural and remote areas to extend the broadcasting coverage including underrepresented ethnic groups living in remote high-risk border districts, in particular during the recent returning of migrant workers from neighboring countries during the previous couple of weeks as a result of the pandemic.

UNDP's COVID-19 Response

UNDP, together with its partners, is supporting the government in ensuring business continuity during the crisis to be able to carry out inter-sectorial coordination and recovery planning.

This is done via the digitalization of business processes and the development of a data visualization platform for ODA and COVID-19 related financial flows, to ensure coherence between financial resources and the recovery priorities identified by the government.

In consultation with our national partners, three priorities have been identified for our support to Lao PDR’s COVID-19 response:

1. Socio-economic Impact and Needs Assessment

2. Inclusive and Integrated Crisis Management and Response

3. Health Systems and Communications Support

UNDP places great emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable people in society and leaving no one behind with all its efforts.