Today, October 17th 2020 – the International day for the eradication of poverty the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) expresses solidarity with hundreds of millions of people suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities worldwide are being pushed deeper into poverty, precarious existence and inequalities – with a massive loss of paid- and self-employment and livelihoods as well as exacerbating limitations to access to food, water and sanitation, adequate housing, education, health services and other basic needs. It is estimated that 500 million more people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic and the economic downturn that it has exceedingly exacerbated.

For example for the Economies in Latin America and the Caribbean it is estimated that the number of people who live in poverty will increase from 185,9 to  219,1 million and people living in extreme poverty will increase from 67.5 million to 90.7 million. Inequalities measured by the Gini coefficient have increased by 4,9 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019 in the region Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the meantime the profit of the biggest companies went up. The GAFA firms and Microsoft are expected to make 46 billion USD more profit in 2020 than before the pandemic. Most of the profit is paid to their shareholders – while taxes are avoided.

In all regions of the world violence against women, girls and LGBTQIA+ people has escalated  in severity. An increase of 30% is estimated. For instance, during the lockdown in several countries, a worrisome number of young women and girls have fallen victims of unwanted pregnancies.Set featured image

In this situation GCAP national coalitions in 19 countries around the world organized People’s Assemblies  to provide a people to analyse the situation and to develop demands for solutions. Women’s organisations, youth, elderly people, persons with disabilities, persons discriminated by work and descent participated. The health and food situation and also the growing violence against women and children were major concerns. The debt crisis was identified in several countries as a major problem.

Governments in many countries are unable to support their people due to debt payments. Over US$300 billion is being spent annually by the Global South for Public External Debt payments to bilateral and multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and IMF, private banks, speculators, and investors in government bonds and securities. The debt problem is compounded by illicit financial flows, also in the billions of dollars.

During this situation, several countries face severe financial pressures as the IMF and other IFIs imposed conditionalities for austerity. Conditionalities demand to reduce public spending by selling public assets and eliminating or reducing public services – a paradox – since a reduction in public spending further deepens the economic crisis and because public services are and have been, the only support people have available in defense against COVID-19.

GCAP joins a broad global civil society movement calling for the unconditional cancelation of public external debts – at least for the next four years. GCAP has been active in the Global Week of Action for Debt Cancelation from 10 to 17 October 2020.