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The study, conducted by UNDP and the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, assesses the impact of different COVID-19 recovery scenarios on the SDGs, evaluating the multidimensional effects of the pandemic over the next decade.

This study finds that 44 million people are expected to be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to COVID-19. Reversing the trend is possible with a focused set of investments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which could lift 146 million people out of extreme poverty compared with projected or expected levels.Under a ‘High Damage’ scenario, where the recovery is protracted, the pandemic could be responsible for 251 million in poverty – 207 million on top of the expected COVID scenario – and it could increase the female poverty headcount by an additional 102 million. This scenario models a world in which economic growth is lower than current projections, and productivity is slower to recover, to highlight the great uncertainty surrounding these projections. In this scenario, more than 1billion people worldwide could be living in extreme poverty by 2030.

However, the study also finds that a focused set of SDG investments over the next decade in social protection/welfare programmes, governance, digitalization, and a green economy could not only prevent the rise of extreme poverty, but actually accelerate the development trajectory the world was on before the pandemic. This ambitious, yet feasible ‘SDG Push’ scenario would lift an additional 146million people out of extreme poverty, narrow the gender poverty gap, and reduce the female poverty headcount by 74 million, even taking into account the current impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study simulates concerted SDG interventions for both governments and citizens, such as improved effectiveness and efficiency in governance and changes in consumption patterns of food,energy and water. The proposed interventions also focus on global collaboration on climate change,additional investments in COVID-19 recovery, and the need for improved broadband access and technology innovation.

Explore the findings here and read the web story to learn more! For further information and to get involved in subsequent analysis, please contact Laurel Patterson (

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