According to current projections, the increase in global inflation will hit emerging and developing economies particularly hard this year, which would add to a “confluence of crises” that threatens us all, warned the acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday.
In front of Human Rights Council in Geneva, Nada Al-Nashif cited International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that advanced economies should prepare for average inflation rates of 6.6% in 2022, well below the 9.5% estimated for the poorest countries.
Al-Nashif added that although the employment rates of the world’s richest countries had returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, “most” middle- or low-income nations still have failed to recover from the crisis caused by COVID-19.
The legacy of COVID and Ukraine’s suffering
The coronavirus has “exposed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities” and has delayed sustainable growth “several years in many parts of the world,” said the interim head of the UN unit that watches over fundamental guarantees, during the Council’s biennial debate on the right to development.
The unsustainable burden of sovereign debt has also burdened many developing countries because it has negative repercussions on the provision of social protection, Al-Nashif continued, adding that many nations are now facing unprecedented fiscal challenges, “including social unrest” precisely because Expensive debt payments have tied their hands.
To make matters worse, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has caused “great human suffering” within the country and beyond its borders, he added.
The war also triggered a new disruption in global supply chains, contributed to the “spike rise in fuel and food prices” which disproportionately affected women and girls, Al-Nashif explained.
Increase in extreme poverty
Citing World Bank data, he noted that it is estimated that between 75 and 95 million more people live in extreme poverty this year and pointed out that of the 760 million that subsist in this precarious situation, “there would be 16 million more women and girls than men and boys.”
Most of those people, 83.7%, concentrated in two regions: Sub-Saharan Africa (62.8%) and Central and South Asia (20.9%).
“The confluence of crises has had secondary effects on food and nutrition, health and education, the environment, peace and securityfurther undermining progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and jeopardizing sustainable recovery from the pandemic,” Al-Nashif said.