New partnerships and financial instruments help tackle COVID-19
The Government of Paraguay has taken early, swift and concrete actions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on saving lives, strict lockdown measures have been put in place and appear to be flattening the curve. However, these measures are causing a slowdown of the economy with the informal sector being particularly hard hit. A large proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to go out of business and workers in the informal sector with no savings or other source of income are at risk of falling into poverty or becoming food insecure.
UNDP is partnering with the National SDG Commission, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an unprecedented Public-Private Partnership (PPP) facilitating integrated responses to the health and social-economic crises. As a first step, this PPP is implementing a mass awareness raising campaign, ‘Todos por Paraguay', which also acts as a crowdfunding vehicle for critical medical equipment and communal soup kitchens for vulnerable groups, beginning in the metropolitan area of greater Asunción. With UNDP's support, Paraguay is the first country in the region to adopt SDG Bonds, which will support the COVID recovery phase by financing projects that both stimulate the economy and contribute to social and environmental gains – to build back greener.
Worrying reports show that the pandemic has also led to an increase in calls to helplines for gender-based violence in Paraguay. UNDP together with government institutions and several UN agencies recently launched a project as a response to this trend, aiming to strengthen national capacities for effective responses and services to survivors, and to promote awareness raising campaigns on gender-based violence to the public.