United Nations Kazakhstan: Covid-19 Socio-Economic Response & Recovery Plan (August 2020)

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** Introduction**

This document sets out the Plan for the United Nations Country Team´s (UNCT) socio-economic response to COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, in line with the United Nations’ global framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19.

The pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis but it is much more than that. The initial and on-going health crisis has major socio-economic consequences that are touching everyone´s lives and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable people, as well as the enterprises and entrepreneurs that provide them with jobs, incomes and contribute to the taxes that the state relies upon to deliver public services. The crisis demonstrates the need to invest in the health, social and economic systems: all three need to be prioritised. Furthermore, the pandemic has impacted men and women differently and further exacerbated existing gender inequalities.

The world has made remarkable progress in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which lie at the centre of the UN´s remit. However, the pandemic is unleashing a human development crisis that may reverse some of this progress. On some dimensions of human development, conditions today are equivalent to levels of deprivation last seen in the mid-1980s as the crisis is hitting hard human development’s constitutive elements: income, health and education, exacerbating existing inequalities, and generating new ones. The full impact is yet to be documented as the crisis continues in different forms and shapes such as increased gender-based violence. These inequalities in human development are a roadblock to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As such, the advent of COVID-19 has the potential to not only hinder the attainment of the SDGs, but to actually reverse decades´ worth of progress across many socio-economic and environmental dimensions.

The timescale of this crisis is unknown, as is much else about the coronavirus. What is clear is that the UNCT must act decisively. There is no going back to the pre-COVID-19 world until such a time as a vaccine is available and globally distributed. This radically different environment is the new normal. This means that the UNCT must strive even harder to assist the Government of Kazakhstan to make appropriate policy choices which impinge the lives of the most vulnerable groups and firms.