Global Trends in 2021: How COVID-19 is Transforming International Development   [open pdf - 281KB]

From the Introduction: "COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019], overlaid on existing global challenges, is the biggest stress test that international development cooperation has ever faced. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was billed as 'our common interest to ensure our common survival.' That is no longer just an aspirational sentiment. Whilst no one can yet predict whether COVID-19 itself, as against the damage to economies and livelihoods triggered by policy responses to it, will ultimately prove the bigger driver of the intervening excess deaths and other hardships, we can assume the indirect effect will dominate in many low-income countries and poorer communities over the long term. Most of the world is still in the midst of this searing COVID-19 experience, with its multidimensional domino effects. Exceptional uncertainty surrounds what major features of our lives, livelihoods, and the global order will change permanently or indeed already have changed. Yet a few basic contours of the new global context are easier to trace than others, even if their specific consequences are still speculative. In this note, we review and overlay some of the features of the COVID crisis on earlier observed trends and dynamics and explore some of the changes and trends in development agency strategic direction brought about by the pandemic. We end with three fundamental challenges that bilateral development agencies will need to address, and which will define their development cooperation and international partnerships for the foreseeable future."

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