Senior UN Official Calls For Universal Basic Income To Tackle Growing Inequality

Kanni Wignaraja, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), by UNDP

(United Nations News) The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, but it is also proving to be an economic disaster for huge numbers of people worldwide. A senior UN official with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is calling for countries to provide citizens with a universal basic income, to help the millions who have lost their jobs, because of measures to curb the virus, combined with increasing levels of inequality.

Kanni Wignaraja, who runs the UNDP’s Asia-Pacific bureau, spoke to UN News and started by explaining why the idea of universal basic income (where governments give a minimum sum of money to all citizens, based on work status or income) is starting to gain traction.

“The spread of COVID-19 has fundamentally shaken economies, and people are beginning to question existing economic models: this pandemic has really thrown up the existing levels of both injustice and inequality worldwide. So bolder ideas are needed, including some, that previously, were pushed aside.

At the UN, we’re saying that, if there isn’t a minimum income floor to fall back on when this kind of massive shock hits, people literally have no options. Without the means to sustain themselves, they are far more likely to succumb to hunger or other diseases, well before COVID-19 gets to them.

Read more at: United Nations News

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