COVID-19 Global Pandemic: Joint Statement by the OECD Development Assistance Committee
Members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have issued a statement expressing their support for the response by UN agencies, multilateral development banks and civil society to the global Covid-19 crisis, and welcoming calls by G20 and G7 leaders to focus on the impact on developing countries.
9 April 2020
- We, the members of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), are deeply saddened by the large-scale deaths and human suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It threatens to reverse existing achievements on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to undermine further progress in the “Decade for Action”.
- The consequences of the crisis are severe for us all, but poor people – especially those in fragile countries - will be the hardest hit, where health systems, government structures and social safety nets are weak. The ensuing economic effects are likely to be profoundly damaging, particularly for already vulnerable people, and could jeopardise political and economic stability. Economic slowdown, declining exports and tourism revenues, and capital outflows, are depressing tax revenues and aggravating sovereign debt.
- We recognise that COVID-19 is a global crisis that does not respect national boundaries. This crisis demands a strong, coordinated, inclusive and coherent global response. International and multilateral cooperation is more important now than ever.
- DAC members have already launched substantial domestic and international responses. As the largest financing partners to the multilateral system, we welcome the call of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and the OECD Secretary-General for countries to prevent the crisis from derailing sustainable development efforts, particularly in developing countries.
- We support the response by key partners in the international development community, notably the UN, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank Group (WBG), the regional multilateral development banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and civil society organisations (CSOs).
- We also welcome the calls of G20 and G7 leaders’ to focus on the impact of COVID-19 on developing countries and to mobilise development finance from all sources.
- We recognise that this response will require much more than finance. It needs sustained action by many actors to address the immediate public health and humanitarian crisis and simultaneous support for economic, environmental and social resilience. The response must take account of the role of women and girls, children, youth and vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities and the elderly, and aim to reduce inequalities and protect human rights and freedoms.
- Official Development Assistance (ODA) is an important means of supporting national responses to the COVID-19 crisis, within the framework of sustainable development and its five components – people, peace, planet, prosperity and partnership.
- Acknowledging the pressures on public finances in all countries, we will strive to protect ODA budgets, encourage other financial flows to support governments and communities in partner countries, and invite other development cooperation partners to do the same. We will endeavour to support Least Developed Countries and other countries with specific needs via a coherent and coordinated humanitarian-development-peace response. We will respond to immediate needs as the pandemic evolves, including care and vaccines when available, and support crisis transition and recovery. We aim to continue investing in health, social safety nets and humanitarian needs. We also prioritise helping developing countries protect and rebuild the livelihoods of poor people affected by the pandemic, encouraging the support of multilateral banks, the private sector and civil society.
- Domestic and international private-sector actors play a key role in supporting governments to deliver effective responses and economic recovery. We call on them to support provision of basic services, maintain supply chains and other essential economic activity in developing countries during the crisis. We recognise CSOs as key partners in tackling COVID-19 and its damaging socioeconomic consequences. They are critical in providing support to vulnerable people, and should be enabled to do so.
- We will share timely and transparent information; exchange epidemiological and clinical data; share materials necessary for research and development, including on vaccines; and strengthen health systems globally, including supporting the implementation of the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), through appropriate channels.
- As the DAC, we will uphold our standards and accountability mechanisms in the support we provide. We commit to sharing evidence, best practice, data and resources on what works to counter the virus. We will learn lessons from the crisis and will use our experience to inform policy choices during the recovery to fortify efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.