UNESCO to address impact of COVID-19 in Latin America, Caribbean

France will today host a virtual UNESCO conference on the effect of COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean. The

UNESCO

Photo: Reuters/ Philippe Wojazer

France will today host a virtual UNESCO conference on the effect of COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The conference will likely focus on economic recovery efforts, given the region’s reliance on informal economies that have been severely threatened by lockdown measures. Furthermore, the conference seeks to address social issues such as the region’s worsening education gap, as severe losses in income force millions of Latin American university students to discontinue their studies due to their inability to pay.

The pandemic has exacerbated social unrest faced by nations including Colombia and Argentina; anti-government protests returned to the streets of Colombia less than a week after its nationwide quarantine was lifted. The region faces a 9.1% GDP contraction in 2020, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), increasing fears of a “lost decade” reminiscent of the one experienced during the 1980s debt crisis. A severe recession in the region could reignite widespread upheavals, increasing the likelihood that significant economic and political changes could sweep Latin America in the long-term.

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