Worldwide, many countries continue to experience an extended period of COVID-19 risks. There are no off-the-shelf solutions for managing such a complex crisis, in which measures to prevent transmission will have colossal economic and social costs. Countries are forced to confront hard choices of balancing the needs to save lives and to save livelihoods. The threat imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic therefore needs a systematic approach, in which the restrictions, states of lockdown and exit strategies all balance public health, societal, and economic needs.
In Asia and the Pacific, the impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous due to the high concentration of people, economic activities and resource consumption. Coronavirus threatens economic, social and medical well-being of millions and we must act now to protect Asia's most vulnerable Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP’s Executive Secretary wrote in the Nikkei Asian Review on the 2nd of April.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that natural disasters can be an impediment to realizing the development goals. Earthquakes, landslides, floods, and droughts have detrimental impacts on overall country macroeconomic factors and further disproportionately affect the poor and marginalized groups. Therefore, it is imperative to develop multi-hazard assessments that address and map both physical and social vulnerabilities.