Report title “First Crisis, Then Catastrophe” was released on April 12, 2022
The world population has reached 7.7 billion. The report has highlighted that 263 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2022. This would result in a total of 860 million people living below the extreme poverty line. This is due to the combined impact of COVID-19, inequality, and food and energy price inflation, accelerated by the war in Ukraine.
- Oil companies are reporting record-breaking profits with soaring energy prices.
- Investors expect agriculture companies to rapidly become more profitable as food prices spiral. Similar trends are expected to play out in the food and beverage sector.
- The fortunes of 10 of the richest people in the world have doubled during the pandemic.
- Developing nations are now witnessing debt levels unseen so far and are close to defaulting on their debts. The countries are being forced to slash public spending to pay creditors and import food and fuel.
Key recommendations made
- Create a Global Fund for Social Protection: We need to set up an international financing mechanism for social protection to enable low-income countries to provide essential income security for their populations.
- Control prices through measures like:
- Cuts in value-added taxes on staple food and cash transfers to support income.
- International trade policies should encourage the growth of local and regional food systems while avoiding unfair competition from large agricultural conglomerates.
- Cancel unpayable debt: Cancel all debt payments in 2022 and 2023 for all the low and lower-middle-income countries that need it and support a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism.
- Reallocate and re-issue Special Drawing Rights: SDRs under the IMF should be reallocated to ensure it is debt and conditionality-free.
- Increase additional aid: Emergency support provided to lower-income countries should be increased.
- We need to tax the rich more to save people from poverty. A yearly wealth tax of 2% on millionaires and 5% on billionaires might raise enough money to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, provide enough vaccinations for the world, and provide universal healthcare and social safety to everyone living in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
Source: Down to Earth