The COVID-19 pandemic is global. It changes the lives of people across the globe – faster and more profound than any of us had ever imagined. The United Nations is working closely with Governments across the world to respond immediately to human needs: health care, food and nutrition, the continuation of education (even when children cannot go to school) and jobs.
Egypt’s response to COVID-19 has been timely and robust. Public Health measures were taken early and to date, the pandemic in Egypt has been managed within the capacities of the heath system. Many countries in the world have not managed this, and it should give all of us hope for the future.
The Government has taken early action to provide support to working people, companies and small enterprises. We do not know yet how deep the global crisis will be and to what extend it will impact Egypt. Using the time now, for good preparation to rapidly go from crisis to recovery, is essential. The United Nations Country Team, consisting of 19 agencies, is working closely with the Government in supporting the national response.
The UN in Egypt has launched a socio-economic response plan in consultation with the Government of Egypt. The focus of this plan is to effectively support the most vulnerable groups affected by the outbreak, by repurposing existing projects and delivery mechanisms.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Richard Dictus, stressed “At this difficult time for many people in Egypt, the United Nations must immediately reach out to the most vulnerable people of society and help them as much as we can, to get through the next period. The needs are critical, and they are urgent, and this should be reflected in the support we offer”.
In 2018, the United Nations calculated that it directly reached 33 million people in Egypt through its collaboration with Government, Civil Society and the corporate sector. “We are now seeking to firm up these partnerships and try to direct them to as many people in need as we can, as quickly as we can” Mr Dictus said.
The main objectives of the UN’s socio-economic response are to: (i) mitigate the economic impact on the labour market, MSMEs and high-risk sectors; (ii) ensure the continuity of inclusive access to public services, notably social protection and safety nets, health & nutrition and education services; (iii) alleviate the impact on food security and the agriculture sector; and (iv) support women and girls’ continued access services and economic opportunities. In addition, the response plan is also aiming at enhancing the protection of livelihood opportunities for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The response plan covers an initial period of 6 months and will be adjusted based on the evolving context.