EU member states must ensure careful and efficient implementation of economic recovery plans that support inclusion and growth to bounce back from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new World Bank report.
The World Bank’s latest EU Regular Economic Report – entitledInclusive Growth at a Crossroads – finds that the unprecedented and exceptional policy response of governments and EU institutions has cushioned the worst impacts on employment and income. However, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated deep-seated inequalities, halting progress in multiple areas including gender equality and income convergence across the EU member states. A further three to five million people in the EU today are estimated to be ‘at risk of poverty,’ based on national thresholds benchmarked before the crisis.
The report highlights that effective recovery programs can reinforce progress on the green and digital transitions underway across the region. With the crisis continuing to unfold, government support schemes and the rollout of vaccines in a timely manner will remain essential to bolstering the resilience of firms, workers, and households. Given the longevity of the crisis and the impact on the most vulnerable, many governments have opted to extend the duration of support throughout 2021.
“A green, digital and inclusive transition is possible if economic policy is increasingly geared towards reforms and investment in education, health and sustainable infrastructure,” said Gallina A. Vincelette, Director for the European Union Countries at the World Bank.
With an output contraction of 6.1 percent in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the sharpest peacetime recession in the EU. Governments will need to ensure targeted and active labor market policies are in place to support an inclusive recovery. The report highlights that special attention should be given to already vulnerable workers such as youth, the self-employed, and those in informal employment. These groups are more likely to face employment adjustments during the crisis and may face longer spells of unemployment or periods outside the labor force.
Women have been disproportionately impacted by work disruptions during the pandemic, particularly in the sectors facing the worst effects of the crisis. This was also highlighted in the 2020 Regular Economic Report produced by the World Bank, which found that at least one in five women will face difficulty returning to work compared to one in ten men. It has been harder for women to resume work due to the sectors and occupations that they are working in and because of the additional care burdens that have fallen disproportionately on their shoulders – a manifestation of increasing inequities in home environments.
“As recovery takes hold, it will be important for carefully targeted and coordinated policy support to continue to mitigate the impact of the crisis, with measures increasingly targeted towards vulnerable households and viable firms. Policy makers will also need to strike a balance between helping those that need it most, while enhancing the productivity of the economy and keeping debt at manageable levels,” added Vincelette.
World Bank’s Regional Action in Europe and Central Asia
To date, the World Bank has committed more than $1.7 billion to help emerging economies in Europe and Central Asia mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Since April 2020, around $866 million has been approved through new emergency response (MPA/Vaccines) projects. In addition, up to $904 million is being reallocated, used, or made available from existing projects and lending, including additional financing, to help countries with their COVID-19 response.
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects suggests that growth will be strong but uneven in 2021. The global economy is set to expand 5.6 percent—its strongest post-recession pace in 80 years. The recovery largely reflects sharp rebounds in some major economies.
World Economic Forum Plans 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters
The World Economic Forum plans to convene the world’s foremost leaders for the Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Taking place in person from 17-21 January, the Annual Meeting 2022 will be the first global leadership event to set the agenda for a sustainable recovery.
The pandemic has exacerbated fractures across society. It is a critical year for leaders to come together and shape necessary partnerships and policies. The meeting will bring together forward-thinking leaders to drive multistakeholder collaboration and address the world’s most pressing economic, political and societal challenges. Further details will be announced in due course.
The wellbeing of our participants, staff, service providers and hosts is a priority. Therefore, the World Economic Forum is working closely with the Swiss authorities, as well as with experts, national and international health organizations to put in place measures for the Annual Meeting 2022 that are appropriate and adapted to the context.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said “The pandemic has brought far-reaching changes. In a world full of uncertainty and tension, personal dialogue is more important than ever. Leaders have an obligation to work together and rebuild trust, increase global cooperation and work towards sustainable, bold solutions.”
Progressing cooperation on tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be important topics on the agenda.
Ahead of the Annual Meeting 2022, the Forum will host the fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit to take place virtually from 20 to 23 September 2021 in the context of the United Nations General Assembly. The summit will convene under the theme Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It will welcome almost leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Spain’s PM Speaks with Global CEOs on Strategic Priorities in Post-Pandemic Era
The World Economic Forum today hosted a “Country Strategy Dialogue on Spain with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez” for its partners, chaired by Børge Brende, President of the Forum. The session gave CEOs from around the world an opportunity to hear directly from Sánchez on the factors behind Spain’s remarkable resilience to the economic shocks of the pandemic and its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.
In the virtual session, Sánchez explained his government’s policy priorities and answered questions from CEOs on promoting innovation, a digital economy, a green transition and social justice in Spain, and on improving the enabling environment for long-term investors.
“After deploying unprecedented economic, financial and social measures to protect our economies, Spain is experiencing strong recovery. We want to build the economy of the future, and to do it in an inclusive way, leaving no one behind. We want to attract top talent and quality, innovation-centric investments. In summary, we want to transform the Spanish economy and we want to do it together with the private sector,” he said.
“The world economy is again growing. Spain is on track to be one of the fastest-growing economies among G20 countries. With Spain being among the key stakeholders in the European Union recovery fund, Prime Minister Sánchez and his government have provided important leadership on how to use the current momentum for a truly transformative agenda, for Spain, but also for Europe.” said Brende.
More than 80 partners of the World Economic Forum from around the world participated in the virtual session.
The Indigenous peoples of the North in Russia have got extra support
The largest metal producer, Norilsk Nickel, has decided to provide additional funding to the indigenous people of the Russian Arctic – living on the Taimyr Peninsula, the company said in a press release.
This is the second tranche of the company allocated to the indigenous peoples living in the north of Russia this year. Earlier it was reported that Norilsk Nickel allocated 2 billion Russian rubles (25.9 million US dollars) for various humanitarian needs of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North – the Taimyr Peninsula.
“Norilsk Nickel’s response to the needs of indigenous peoples is a confirmation of the company’s flexibility and systematic work with local communities. Our agreement is a demonstration of the desire for sustainable development of the peoples of Taimyr. We constantly monitor the needs of specific communities and, in contact with the company, change the parameters of individual clauses of our agreements. Moreover, most of the changes are an increase in the number of events with an increase in funding for the most important support programs,” said Grigory Dyukarev, Chairman of the Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the Taimyr Peninsula, Krasnoyarsk Territory.
The company clarifies that an additional tranche of financing will be directed to the production of special literature, support for the publication of newspapers in the languages of the indigenous peoples of the North, preparation of teaching materials for language learning and some other activities.
“Nornickel strives to fully comply with the UN sustainable development goals. The company’s actions towards indigenous peoples are not a tribute to fashion, not an attempt to appease, but an honest, transparent and conscious position, the course of which is the development of corporate ethnoculture. We don’t just fund critical indigenous livelihoods and management programs, our goal is to build partnerships with all stakeholders: associations and specific communities. We always strive to respond to requests for adjustments to our support programs based on an urgent agenda that indigenous peoples themselves understand better than we do. Especially when it comes to supporting indigenous languages, promoting and protecting them. After all, language is the main vehicle for preserving the historical memory of generations, “commented Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programmes at Nornickel.
The agreement was signed at a round-table discussion on the results of an ethnological expert review to study the drivers of indigenous peoples sustainable development on Taimyr. In the period from December 2020 to July 2021, large-scale scientific studies of changes in the original habitat of the indigenous peoples of the North living in the western part of the Taimyr Dolgan-Nenets municipal district of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the socio-cultural situation. The scientific organisations that participated in the review included Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera), The Expert Center Project Office for Arctic Development and others. The representatives of the indigenous communities praised Nornickel’s openness and determination to remedy the damaging effects of the May 2020 incident on their habitats and livelihood, emphasizing the relevance and significance of the review not only for Taimyr, but also for many other Russian regions.
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