27 March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic challenges our health and our economy and calls for the closest international cooperation to manage its impact.
One of the most pronounced effects of this pandemic is the intensification of economic inequalities within the UfM region and beyond. In addition to the higher unemployment rates among groups with higher economic vulnerability, such as women and young people, the pandemic ushers the region – and the world- into a recession in 2020.
Conscious of the scale and scope of this challenge, the UfM is pursuing its existing actions for a healthier development and preparing to call upon its vast community of partners and stakeholders – government representatives, regional organisations, civil society, businesses and academia – to join forces and promote common initiatives that tackle the causes and fragilities that have led to a faster spread of the COVID-19 in the region.
The UfM Secretariat is mobilizing its capacities to build consensus on necessary actions in the areas of transition from informal to formal economy, promoting social economy, supporting micro small and medium-sized enterprises, unleashing the potential of digital technologies, and conceiving smart solutions to the unemployment-related challenges, including the fields of blue economy and the tourism sector.
In the field of sustainable development, the Secretariat is also exploring ways to strengthen the health protective components of its climate, environment and water initiatives, considering the strong link, certified by science, between a functional and productive environment, social well-being, economic performance and health.