Monday, October 11, 2021
Ten Million or One Hundred Million Casualties? – The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Least Developed and Developing Countries and Europe’s Sustainability Agenda
Dirk A. Zetzsche (Universite du Luxembourg), Roberta Consiglio (University of Luxembourg), Ten Million or One Hundred Million Casualties? – The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Least Developed and Developing Countries and Europe’s Sustainability Agenda, (U. Lux. L. Working Paper Series 2021-004):
This is an updated and extended version of the University of Luxembourg Law Working Paper 2020-008 of 02/10/2020 (https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597657) which puts the European policy response to COVID-19 into context with the European sustainable finance action plan.
This chapter argues that the overall impact of the COVID-19 crisis on developing countries is massive, with a potentially very high number of casualties: we float an entirely arbitrary figure of 100 million. To arrive at this number, we collect and collate the different ways in which COVID-19 may hit low- and middle-income countries from a public health perspective as well as economically, and show that the crisis may not only threaten many people’s lives but may even reverse the positive development trend of the last 20 years, putting the realization of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in some doubt.
We further show that the response by EU and European countries as well as the world community is unfit to address this calamity. In turn, we propose five policy measures to mitigate the most severe impacts of the crisis on the least developed and developing countries. The chapter is structured as follows: Part 1 provides the context. Part 2 argues that the number of COVID-19 cases and casualties in the least developed and developing countries is almost certainly underestimated and understated. Part 3 lays out the indirect severe impacts of the crisis, namely the inevitable return of hunger and famine to many parts of the world. Part 4 suggests that the abandonment of the UN’s SDGs is one likely effect of the crisis in the absence of coordinated efforts; and Part 5 argues that the global and European support is insufficient to reverse the trend, indicating a departure from, or at least delay of, the sustainability agenda a possible, if not likely scenario. Part 6 presents five policy principles designed to limit the looming human tragedy. Part 7 concludes.