On the 26 January 2021 the UK Government International Development Select Committee published a report on the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kate Hawkins explains what’s in the report and the evidence that ARISE submitted to the process.
The International Development Select Committee has a mandate within the UK government to track and assess international development spending and policy and make recommendations where change is deemed necessary. In April 2020 they opened an inquiry into COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries and then moved into a second phase later in the year that looked at the secondary impacts and how aid from the UK might mitigate them. It focused on:
- Non-coronavirus health care
- Economy and food security
- Treatment of women and children
We felt it important that we shared evidence from our work in India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Sierra Leone. You can find a shortened version of the points we made in our blog for World Cities Day. We highlighted the effects of violence and mental strain brought about by the pandemic and measures to tackle it. Our evidence explored how daily wage earners were particularly hard hit and that particularly marginalised people in urban informal settlements – such as waste-pickers – were feeling the brunt of the pain. It highlighted the gendered affects of COVID-19 and its impacts on the most vulnerable.
The International Development Select Committee report
The inquiry found that routine healthcare in some countries is grinding to a halt; vulnerable economies risked failure under rising levels of national debt; people across the Global South were more in fear of threats of job losses and starvation than the pandemic; and the virus, and its counter-measures, were increasing levels of gender-based violence, child marriages and other challenges to girls access to education.
The findings of the inquiry echo many of the challenges that we have seen in the course of our work. They cite our work several times and highlight the importance of capturing data on COVID-19 in a manner that adequately reflects the real-world situation for marginalised groups which is disaggregated according to sex, ability, age, status etc. Throughout, they acknowledge that communities that were previously poor are being plunged into further crisis by the pandemic.
The report offers many recommendations for how aid from the UK can better organised. You can find the UK Government’s response to the report here.
We welcome the report and are grateful for the opportunity to provide evidence. Moving forward, we will be following future Select Committee inquiries and supplying data from our work where useful.