Statement by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner on UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan

March 25, 2020


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today launched a $2 billion global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. This response plan is intended to protect millions of people and stop the virus from circling back around the globe. 

UNDP joins the Secretary-General, OCHA and WHO as well as the humanitarian community in calling for an urgent and united international response to this unprecedented threat.

This pandemic already has a foothold in more than 185 countries and is affecting millions.  A global threat of this magnitude requires global solidarity to support the most vulnerable countries as they cope with this this unfolding crisis.

Countries already in crisis because of conflicts, natural disasters, and climate change are most at risk.

We need to come together to strengthen the immediate health response, particularly where health systems are weak.  And we must sustain life-saving help to millions of internally displaced people and refugees already living in overcrowded settlements.   The world is only as strong as our weakest health system.

COVID-19 is a massive health crisis, and it is also a humanitarian and development crisis.  It threatens to create devastating social, economic, and political crises that could leave deep scars for years to come - reversing development gains achieved over the last 20 years.

Developing countries could lose at least US$220 billion in income, which translates into lost jobs, closed factories, and stretched governments in some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries.

With WHO and our UN sister agencies, UNDP is working with governments on their most urgent health system needs and is ready to respond to recovery needs in countries around the globe.

For over 50 years, UNDP has stood with the poorest and most vulnerable.

We will endure this together and we will recover and rebuild together.

-- Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator