The United Nations has projected that as many as 163 million additional people could be pushed into extreme poverty through 2021 because of COVID-19.
The agency said as many as 132 million additional people went hungry in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Spokesperson for Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, said this while briefing correspondents on the Economic and Social Council’s High-Level Political Forum at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that 43 countries are expected to present their voluntary national reviews of their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Forum, which started on Tuesday, will end on July 15.
According to Dujarric, the forum, on Day 2, examined progress in SDGs one, two, eight and 17, and linkages among those goals.
He said: “In a session called: ‘How do we get on track to end poverty and hunger, and transform towards inclusive and sustainable economies?’ speakers addressed issues of poverty and hunger.
“They addressed the issues of poverty and hunger which are on the rise after years of decline, a trend made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The livelihoods of people living in poverty and informal workers are at risk without social protection to cope in many countries, with women particularly impacted.”
Speaking on COVID-19, he said the secretary-general would once again call for a Global Vaccine Plan to double the production of vaccines and ensure equitable distribution through COVAX.
“As we approach the grim milestone sometime today, most likely four million deaths have been recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
On extreme weather, Dujarric said many parts of the world were experiencing unprecedented weather patterns.
“We recorded heatwaves in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, wildfires in Europe and mudslides in Asia.”
According to him, the secretary-general said all over the world, natural disasters have become more frequent and more severe and that this means every country, city and industry needs to step up its climate action now.
He said: “The World Meteorological Organisation said that the heatwave in Canada and the US had major impacts on people, animals and vegetation.
“It noted that so many records were broken in June regarding high temperatures that it was hard to keep track.
“WMO said these heatwaves are becoming more intense as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures.
“They are also starting earlier and ending later in the year and are taking an increasing toll on human health.”