Margaret Scott

Recovery and Equality

The latest international data show that unaffordable food, pervasive unemployment, and dwindling social support threaten global recovery and the world's population. But, contrary to claims that investments aimed at improving the lives of the poor are not feasible, policymakers have options – even in the poorest countries.

NEW YORK – The global economic crisis is exacerbating an existing human crisis. Prior to 2008, there were widespread inequalities: lavish lifestyles for some, while half of the world’s children were living on less than $2 per day, suffering from malnutrition and limited access to health, education, drinking water, and adequate housing. As the crisis unfolded, millions confronted deteriorating living conditions.

Today, while global attention focuses on Europe’s woes, the economic crisis continues to inflict devastating social consequences worldwide. In a new book from UNICEF’s Division of Policy and Practice, A Recovery for All: Rethinking Socioeconomic Policies for Children and Poor Households, analysis of the latest international data shows that unaffordable food, pervasive unemployment, and dwindling social support threaten much of the world’s population.

For starters, after two major international food-price spikes in 2007-2008 and 2010-2011, people in nearly 60 developing countries are paying 80% more, on average, for local foodstuffs in 2012 than they did before the crisis. As a result, poor families’ food security is threatened, as they are forced to reduce the quality or quantity of their food.

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