COVID-19 Pandemic

Humanity needs leadership and
solidarity to defeat COVID-19


The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.

Countries are racing to slow the spread of the disease by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools.

The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.

But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.

We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.

Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.


UNDP response

Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.


“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner


How UNDP supports countries around the world

We have been supporting countries since the very early stages of this crisis, donating more than two million surgical masks and providing life supporting medical equipment such as x-ray machines, infrared thermometers, infusion pumps, protective suits, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Working with WhatsApp, WHO and UNICEF we have created an information hub that will get real time healthcare to billions around the world. 

Photo: Basak Kabadayi/


We have teamed up with AMV, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, and actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry for the Tweet Zero campaign, which highlights the simple actions that can keep you safe; such as frequent hand washing, staying home when sick and not touching your face.

It will require all of society to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to cushion the potentially devastating impact it may have on vulnerable people and economies.

We must rebuild trust and cooperation, within and among nations, and between people and their governments.

UNDP’s support will also help ensure that the responses of individual countries are comprehensive as well as equitable and inclusive, so that no one is left out and countries can continue to make progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

While we do this, we must also consider ways to prevent a similar pandemic recurring. In the longer term, UNDP will look at ways to help countries to better prevent and manage such crises and ensure that the world makes full use of what we will learn from this one.

A global response now is an investment in our future.

Photo by Milos Vujovic


UNDP support to Montenegro

Building on our wealth of expertise in digitalisation and ICT reforms, UNDP team in Montenegro has seamlessly shifted to virtual space. UNDP Country Office is looking into ways to reprogramme, redeploy and refocus our portfolio to support Montenegro to adequately respond to the current crisis and plan for the recovery. We are joining hands with sister UN agencies, a wide network of national stakeholders and development partners, including the EU, to step up our collective response.

So far, UNDP’s response in Montenegro is three-pronged:

  1. Procurement: We are supporting the country to meet the most pressing needs, amidst disruptions in local and global supply chains. Together with UNICEF, we have already equipped three quarantine facilities in Podgorica, Danilovgrad and Ulcinj. Thanks to the EU funds, we are tirelessly working to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, necessary medical devices and other supplies for the healthcare facilities.
  2. Digital solutions to accelerate and adapt the existing ICT systems, and rollout new tech-driven models in response to the pandemic. In record time, we upgraded the e-Social Card system to facilitate new cash transfers in line with the recently adopted Government measures.
  3. Socio-economic impact analysis: We aim to develop a comprehensive, all-encompassing approach to tackle the crisis and ensure fast recovery. First and foremost, we need to identify those that might be left behind in scrambles and help them emerge from the crisis.  

Read more about our response in Montenegro...




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