Our thoughts are with all of you, your families and colleagues, as we all work collectively to keep our communities healthy and socially connected despite the physical distancing that is currently our shared experience. We are grateful to those on the front line who are working tirelessly co-ordinating responses, delivering health care, researching potential vaccines, maintaining essential services and stores, caring for others within or outside the home, and everything in between.

As we face this threat together, we are reminded of the strength of solidarity. IGD has been in contact with our partners around the world to send our support, and we are tracking how their governments and communities are responding to COVID-19. We have been humbled by the many messages of support and solidarity we have received in return.

We are also monitoring the development challenges that are emerging from, or exacerbated by, this crisis. Who is affected by this pandemic, how lives are disrupted, and the capacities of individuals, communities and governments to respond serves to highlight many pre-existing inequalities – of wealth, income security, access to health care or other essential resources. This crisis will disrupt global aid and humanitarian systems and set back the development trajectories of many low-income countries and communities. 

We are concerned about issues such as the gendered nature and impacts of crisis; the disruption to employment and food supply chains; the inclusion of Indigenous communities; the likely impacts on overcrowded cities and informal settlements; or whether health care and social protection systems can extend assistance to the increased number who will be in desperate need. Underpinning these issues are also questions related to human rights, increasing surveillance and the potential erosion of civil liberties in these exceptional times. 

We have digested some articles that explore these issues and provide some links here to critical issues we have identified.

Dr Sarah Cook

Director - Institute for Global Development

Two women with buckets on their head are ascending stairs on a hill.

Gendered Perspectives & Social/Economic Issues

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Gendered Perspectives & Social Issues

COVID-19 and violence against children - Mercy Jumo, Karen Flanagan and Sophie Shugg

Lockdowns across the world have pushed people into the privacy of their homes, unintentionally closing the shutters on violence against children. Read more.

Adapting and responding to the pandemic: civic spaces in Southeast Asia - Nicola Nixon
Civil society organisations (CSOs) count among the unsung heroes of COVID-19 pandemic response efforts in Southeast Asia. Read more.

Sex Disaggregated Data Tracker - GlobalHealth5050. Read more.

The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic: Implications for Community and Social Development - Special Edition. Read more.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to rise in violence against women and girls in Asia Pacific, new report shows - Erin Handley
Lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a devastating rise in violence against women and children in Asia, according to a new report. Read more.

Putting Gender, Care and Climate Justice at the Heart of post-COVID19 Recovery - Somali Cerise and Sarah Cook
What would an alternative post-COVID economy look like that prioritized the care of people and planet? How do we get there? Read more.

COVID-19: Human development on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990 - UNDP
Concerted action with a focus on equity could still limit the impacts of this unprecedented crisis: closing the digital divide would reduce by more than two-thirds the number of children currently not learning because of school closures. Read more.

Increased Care Work, Reduced Wages: Informal Women Workers Are Barely Getting By - Shiney Chakraborty
COVID-19 is intensifying pre-existing inequalities, from health to the economy, and from security to social protection. As ever, women continue to bear the maximum brunt. Read more.

Moving the UHC agenda forward without waiting for the next health crisis - Sarah Cook, Alexandra Kaasch, Anthony Zwi
This thoughtful introduction discusses how COVID-19 and universal health care are related. Read more.

Vicious cycle for prisoners who are homeless on release needs urgent action - The Guardian
The NSW government must take steps now to pre-empt what could happen to people leaving custody without a place to live amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

Why does gender matter? - The Lowy Interpreter
Those in the front line are overwhelmingly likely to be women, who account for two thirds of the global health care workforce. This article from The Lowy Interpreter tells us why gender matters in the impact and recovery from COVID-19.

Consulting the data - how are women affected? - The Lancet
Care, education and economic access are among the many areas where women will experience significant impacts from COVID-19. Read more in this article that explores these issues in more detail.

Understanding mortality rates in men - The LA Times
Why are we seeing higher mortality rates in men from COVID-19? Read more here.

As Cities Around the World Go on Lockdown, Victims of Domestic Violence Look for a Way Out - TIME
In China, the number of domestic violence cases reported to the local police tripled in February compared to the previous year, according to Axios. Activists say this is a result of enforced lockdown. Read more.

Homelessness, Loneliness, Disability and Digital Inclusion during COVID-19 - Centre for Social Impact
The Centre for Social Impact has prepared four fact sheets on these core social issues. You can read them here.

This new crisis underscores old injustices in the global economy - Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO)
A new shift in the COVID19 story demonstrates longstanding structural deficits in a global economy that limits the ability of people to cope under crisis conditions. Read more.

 Bachelor of Social Research and Policy

Bachelor of Social Research and Policy

Migration & Human Rights

COVID-19, risk and rights: the ‘wicked’ balancing act for governments - Sarah Joseph

COVID-19 has caused a global public health emergency, a global economic emergency, and a global human rights emergency. The crisis is detrimentally affecting all recognised human rights in every country. Read more.

Human Rights and Democracy in Economic Policy Reform: The European COVID-19 Response Under Scrutiny - Matthias Goldmann
This article argues that the impact of economic policy reforms on democratic institutions might compromise the enjoyment of human rights, especially economic, social, and cultural rights (ESC rights). Read more.

Human rights, multilateralism and battling COVID-19, top focus of European Union - UN
The European Union has been at the forefront of international cooperation to defeat “the same common enemy”, COVID-19, the President of the European Council, told the UN General Assembly. Read more.

Southeast Asian democracies in declining health amid COVID-19 - Melissa Crouch
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting democracies in the Asia-Pacific region in ways that demand Australian attention. Read more.

COVID Projected to Slash Remittance Flows to Developing World - World Bank
In recent years, remittances were on the rise, playing an increasingly important role in global development.  They eclipsed foreign aid in the ‘90s and surpassed foreign direct investment last year. Then COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns hit. Listen now.

COVID-19 Watch Hub - Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law
UNSW Law’s Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law has launched a ‘watching brief’ hub – COVID-19 Watch – which includes analysis by a range of experts, such as lawyers, academics, UN officials and displaced people themselves. Read more.

Webinar: Reducing COVID-19 Vulnerability Amongst Displaced Populations and Migrants - United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
On Thursday, 9 April 2020, UNDRR Asia-Pacific hosted a webinar to identify emerging lessons generated from experiences in combating COVID-19 in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, and amongst internally displaced communities in Afghanistan. It also explored how COVID-19 is impacting migrant workers in Asia-Pacific, featuring India as a case study. Watch now.

Bracing for coronavirus in Syria’s battered northwest - New Humanitarian
As Syria reports its first cases of COVID-19 and aid groups warn of a potentially disastrous spread to the rebel-held northwest, people in and around Idlib province – many of whom have fled for their lives in recent months – are left waiting, saddled with a new sense of dread. Read more.

Q&A: WHO’s Mike Ryan on how countries in crisis can prepare for a coronavirus epidemic - New Humanitarian
Health authorities around the globe are scrambling to prepare for and contain the rapidly spreading coronavirus. But the job is even more daunting in countries already facing long-running crises. Read more.

International Organisation on Migration (UN Migration) Analytical Snapshots
These snapshots are designed to capture the latest information and analysis in a fast-moving environment. Topics will be repeated from time to time as analysis develops. View them here.

In Rohingya camps, COVID-19 challenges humanitarian effort to ‘do no harm’ - DEVEX
Operating under an established “do no harm” principle that encourages no further damage or suffering as a result of their actions, humanitarian organizations find themselves in an unprecedented situation where risks are tied to action and inaction alike. Read more.

Greek island refugee camps face coronavirus ‘disaster’, aid groups warn - New Humanitarian
As coronavirus sweeps across the world, they worry that if Moria was already unable to address basic health and safety needs, it is in no position to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Read more.

Australian Human Rights Institute launches 'On Guard'
Our colleagues at the Australian Human Rights Institute have released a weekly newsletter on human rights and the COVID-19 situation. You can read and subscribe here.

A producer is kneeling in the foreground in a wet rice padding planting by hand.

Food Systems

Credit: Tim Shepherd via Unsplash

Disrupting Employment & Food Security

COVID-19, women and digitised food networks in Jakarta: Inequality and resilience - Inaya Rakhmani, Ariane Utomo, Catherine Phillips, Diahhadi Setyonaluri

COVID-19 has disrupted market economies all around the world. As governments take unprecedented action to contain its spread, the pandemic is increasing global food insecurity due to disruptions of food systems and weakening economies. Read more.

"Our situation is apocalyptic" - The New York Times
A survey of factory owners in Bangladesh by Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Global Workers’ Rights found that millions of workers, mostly women from rural areas, had already been sent home without owed wages or severance pay. Read more here.

Southeast Asia sees factory shutdowns and massive lay-offs due to Covid-19 outbreak - Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
This collection of articles explores employment disruptions in South East Asia as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the feed.

"We fear, but we have to work" - The Guardian
Workers in Nairobi bring attention to precarious employment and inequalities amongst marginalised workers. You can read more about how quarantine may be considered a luxury here.

What happens if health care workers stop showing up? - The Atlantic
This piece explores the risks health care workers take on the front line. Read more.

The Effects of COVID-19 Will Ripple through Food Systems - Scientific American
Staple crops are likely to be less affected by measures to control the virus, but farmers growing more specialized ones could feel the pinch. Read more. 

Burkina Faso crisis and COVID-19 concerns highlight pressure on Sahel food security - UN News
Food insecurity levels in the Sahel region are “spiralling out of control”, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday, as it expressed concerns about the potential impact on humanitarian supply chains because of restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more.

Pandemic: Informal workers urgently need income replacement — and more protections - Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO)
“Flattening the curve” has become a mantra of the COVID-19 pandemic — but calls for staying home and social distancing have starkly emphasized the inequalities in our society, including amongst workers. Read more.

To die from hunger or the virus: An all too real dilemma for the poor in India (and elsewhere) - Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO)
Food insecurity, hoarding and mandates to stay home are affecting the choices that can be made by many across the world. Read more.

Two hills are in the foreground. A road runs between them towards a sunrise in the background.


Image: Grant Ritchie via Unsplash

Environmental Impacts & Disaster Resilience

Greening our way through the pandemic - UNSW Grand Challenges

This overview explores how we can use the pandemic to better equip our environments with green space. Read more.

COVID-19, development and a Green New Deal - Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen suggests that COVID-19 has struck the world at what is already a critical political, economic and ecological juncture in its history; and what happens next, particularly in the wealthiest nations, will have potentially profound implications for the development of the global South. Read more.

COVID-19 and climate – dealing with the diabolical - Democracy Sausage
This podcast looks at tackling the climate crisis as Australia is still battling the coronavirus. Mark Kenny is joined by Kieran Gilbert, Frank Jotzo, and Marija Taflaga. Listen now.

People and the Planet: The Future of Development in a Post-COVID-19 World - UNDP
The High-Level Dialogue “People and the Planet: How can we shape the future of development in a post-COVID-19 World?" was organized by UNDP and UNEP and took place on 17 June 2020. Watch now.

First came the coronavirus. And then the cyclone hit. - Lisa Cornish
As countries world-wide were implementing travel restrictions and lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Harold hit Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu in early April, with the greatest impact to remote and regional communities. Read more.

Webinar: Combating the dual challenges of climate-related disasters and COVID-19 - United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
This webinar shares lessons from the recent devastating cyclone Harold in the Pacific and examines prevention and preparedness measures being taken in other high-risk countries in Asia-Pacific.  The webinar will result in emerging lessons and key recommendations on how to address climate-related and other disaster risks in the face of COVID-19. Watch now.

Will Covid-19 have a lasting impact on the environment? - BBC
Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as countries try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Is this just a fleeting change, or could it lead to longer-lasting falls in emissions? Read more.

COVID-19 and the nature trade-off paradigm - UN Environment
The outbreak of epidemics like COVID-19 reveal the fundamental tenets of the trade-off we consistently face: humans have unlimited needs, but the planet has limited capacity to satisfy them. Read more.

Himalayas visible for first time in 30 years as pollution levels in India drop - SBS Hindi
As the lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus in India continues, pollution levels across much of the country have dropped sharply. Read more.

A photo of Uluru in the background with desert grass and bushes in the foreground.


Credit: Kyle Hinkson via Unsplash

Indigenous Perspectives

Indigenous Australians at increased risk of COVID-19 due to existing health and socioeconomic inequities - Aryati Yashadhana, Nellie Pollard-Wharton, Anthony B. Zwi, Brett Biles

The rapid spread of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the associated coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has placed extreme pressure on health systems, governments, and economies. Heightened risk of COVID-19 severity and mortality among Indigenous and ethnic minority communities. Read more.

‘We are facing extermination’: Brazil losing a generation of indigenous leaders to COVID-19 - Dom Phillips
Coronavirus has swept through tribes, killing elders – and inflicting irreparable damage on tribal history, culture and medicine. Read more.

Walgett community unites to tackle pandemic-related food shortages - Croakey
Experts around the world have been highlighting the weaknesses of the current food system in the context of COVID-19 and arguing that the crisis caused by the pandemic provides an opportunity to re-think the way we produce, distribute and consume food. Read more.

When public health becomes punitive, rather than supporting communities - Croakey
Aboriginal people are fighting a battle on two fronts – against the novel coronavirus and against punitive government interventions, according to Peta MacGillivray, a Kalkadoon and South Sea Islander lawyer who is currently the Project Manager for the Yuwaya Ngarra-li Partnership between UNSW and the Dharriwaa Elders Group. Read more.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 - Croakey
The Australian Government has convened the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 Taskforce, co-chaired by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Department of Health, to develop and deliver a National Management Plan to protect communities and save lives. Read more

Uluru artists depict COVID-19 health messages through traditional Indigenous dot paintings - ABC Australia
Indigenous artists have taken the COVID-19 messaging into their own hands at Mutitjulu, the small Aboriginal community nestled at the base of Uluru, 500 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs. Read more.

Warnings about COVID-19 are being translated into Aboriginal languages to reach all Australians - SBS Australia
Language barriers in parts of the Northern Territory are being broken down so all Australians can access important messaging about the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more.

'Coronavirus could wipe us out': indigenous South Americans blockade villages - The Guardian
Groups in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru withdraw into homes as physicians highlight history of diseases ‘decimating’ communities. Find out more.

COVID-19 not the first pandemic First Nations people have quarantined from - Canada's National Observer
Five generations ago, on the west coast of what is today known as the province of British Columbia, a Nuu-chah-nulth woman named Tlaook brought family members to a hidden place in their territory, where they quarantined from diseases that decimated the rest of their nation. Read more.

Houses next to a river.

Informal & Urban Settlements

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Informal & Urban Settlements

Preventatives for Homelessness and Rethinking Informal Settlements - David Sanderson

Professor David Sanderson speaks about the impacts of COVID-19 especially in informal settlements and communities in Africa and how these communities are preparing and dealing with the crisis. Listen now.

What impacts are emerging from Covid-19 for urban futures? - Tim Dixon
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted cities throughout the world. The disease’s worst effects are closely linked with urban areas, where death rates tend to be higher because of a complex combination of factors, including population density, national and international connectivity and public health response. Read more.

So coronavirus will change cities – will that include slums? - David Sanderson
t’s hard to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to any better outcomes for the close to a billion or so people who live in fast-growing, low-income, informal settlements, or slums, that cram cities throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific. Read more.

Global urbanization created the conditions for the current coronavirus pandemic - Roger Keil
COVID-19 brought the relation between humans and animals to the core of social and scientific debates. COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease: the coronavirus that causes it crossed species boundaries from animals to humans. Read more.

Dealing with COVID-19 in the towns and cities of the Global South - International Institute for Environment and Development
Diana Mitlin looks at the particular challenges the COVID-19 outbreak will pose to people living in informal settlements. Read more.

COVID-19: We will be measured by how we support the vulnerable - UNSW Newsroom

With more than half of the world's population living in cities, COVID-19 will test urban resilience. Read more.

Key considerations: COVID-19 in informal urban settlements - ReliefWeb
Population density and limited infrastructure has led to concerns about how COVID-19 will impact on informal urban settlements. Read more.

COVID-19 and the Displaced: Addressing the the threat of novel coronavirus in humanitarian emergencies - Refugees International
As COVID-19 spreads, the virus will disproportionately impact the world’s most vulnerable, among them refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs). Read more.


Credit: Adam Nieścioruk via Unsplash

Responses to COVID-19

How will COVID-19 change global development? 5 experts weigh in - Adva Saldinger

The unofficial theme of the 75th United Nations General Assembly, which certainly looked and felt different, was the response to and recovery from COVID-19. The unprecedented crisis has cast a long shadow and disrupted ongoing development efforts, which were already falling short of what was necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more.

COVID-19 and the case for global development - Johan Oldekop et. al.
COVID-19 accentuates the case for a global, rather than an international, development paradigm. The novel disease is a prime example of a development challenge for all countries, through the failure of public health as a global public good. Read more.

Constraints on the Pacific response to COVID-19 - Stephen Howes & Sherman Surandiran
Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are three Pacific countries that start their fiscal year about mid-way through the calendar year. The three countries’ budgets show how the pandemic is affecting Pacific countries differently. They also demonstrate the inherent limitations Pacific countries face in responding to the pandemic with more spending. Read more.

Staying on Course: Reflecting on Teaching during COVID-19 - Anthony Zwi, Kayla Lochner and Aryati Yashadhana
COVID19 has had an almost immediate and profound impact on learning and teaching. This piece reflects on the major challenges and “silver linings” in teaching development during this period. Read more.

Australia’s new COVID-19 development response strategy: strengths and contradictions - Stephen Howes
There’s a lot to like about Australia’s new COVID-19 response strategy: more spending on emergency budget support and health, and a focus on economic recovery. Read more.

How can Covid-19 be the catalyst to decolonise development research? - Melanie Pinet and Carmen Leon-Himmelstine
Covid-19 may be the external threat that international development research needs to truly decolonise itself and to work with research partners and participants in a more sustainable and equitable way. Read more.

Africa beyond Covid-19 - Overseas Development Institute
Early signs from Africa are that in many countries, the response to Covid-19 has been effective. But contrary to commonplace narratives about aiding Africa, recent events highlight opportunities for Europe and elsewhere to learn from Africa. Listen now.

A crisis with opportunity for Nepal - George Varughese and Iain Payne
For Nepal, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis is likely to be exacerbated by perennial vulnerability and a legacy of past poor policy choices, George Varughese and Iain Payne write. Read more.

India is shaping a ‘new multilateralism’ in a post-COVID world - Tanya Spisbah
COVID-19 has forced the frailty of multilateralism to the fore while affirming the imperative of interconnectedness. Read more.

What Africa can teach the world about beating the coronavirus - CNN Opinion
COVID-19 has made its way to Africa – a continent where public health systems have learned from recent disease outbreaks, including Ebola. What can the world learn from the African experience in overcoming this new global threat?

Australia can’t let foreign aid fall victim to Covid-19 - The Interpreter
Philip Citowicki argues that a review of the foreign aid budget is an opportunity to refocus, not to make more ill-conceived cuts. Read more.

COVID-19 pandemic is testing world's leaders. Who's stepping up? - Al Jazeera
In just three months, more than a million people in 180 countries have fallen sick from the viral illness, while at least 50,000 have died in a public health emergency the United Nations is calling the world's "most challenging crisis" since World War II. Find out more.

'Community infections could happen any time': Kenya prepares for Covid-19 - The Guardian
There are 645 million people living in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank data – and three-quarters of them don’t have the facilities at home to wash their hands with soap and water. Read more.

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to ask some very hard questions. But are we ready for the answers? - The Conversation
This article in The Conversation explores some of the ethical issues around responses to COVID-19. Read more.

Who's funding the COVID-19 response and what are the priorities? - Devex
Since the beginning of 2020, more than $4.6 trillion has been pledged by governments, bilateral donors, multilateral institutions, philanthropic donors, NGOs, and the private sector in the fight against COVID-19. See the breakdown here.

Lockdowns won’t work — the case for strategic social distancing policies in Africa - Devex
This article argues that it will be more difficult to design and implement social distancing measures in low-income or under-resourced settings. Read more.
This article further explores the issues of translating knowledge between languages to respond to COVID-19.