Poor countries particularly hit by war and the virus


Russia’s war on Ukraine, the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of climate change are putting intense pressure on the world’s poorest, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned on Monday.

According to the Paris-based body, 60 states, territories and places fell last year into the category of “fragile contexts”, meaning they were exposed to economic, environmental, social and political risks that they did not have the capacity to absorb. And that was before Russia invaded Ukraine and intensified their burden.

The document released on Monday named the largest number of places in such a difficult situation since the OECD began publishing its “States of Fragility” report in 2015. The 60 countries account for 24 per cent of the world’s population, 73 per cent of those living in extreme poverty, 80 per cent of those who have died in conflict and the vast majority of the world’s “hunger hotspots”. And they are home to 95 per cent of the record 274 million people the United Nations says are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“We are in an era defined by multiple crises, shocks and uncertainties,” the OECD said.

Only one in three people in places deemed fragile have received COVID vaccines, compared to three in four people in the 38 relatively wealthy OECD countries.

The organization noted that the 60 fragile states accounted for only 4 percent of global emissions, but “felt the weight of climate-related natural disasters.”

The OECD said the five most fragile countries last year were Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Central African Republic. And three countries, Benin, Timor-Leste and Turkmenistan, were recently added to the list of fragile states last year. No countries have been removed from the list.


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