Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the globe.
The warning was sounded in a joint statement by the International Labour Organization (ILO), The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
“Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because the majority lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets,” the statement said.
“Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food, or, at best, less food and less nutritious food.”
The warning comes as some countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and restrictions as the second wave of the pandemic hits certain regions within their borders.
The United Nations agencies in their statement noted that adhering to workplace safety and health practices and ensuring access to decent work and the protection of labour rights in all industries will be crucial in addressing the human dimension of the crisis.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections globally had surpassed the 37 million mark with a death toll exceeding 1.08 million.
The four agencies reiterated calls for unity in the fight against the pandemic, saying that would better the chances of success.
“Now is the time for global solidarity and support, especially with the most vulnerable in our societies, particularly in the emerging and developing world. Only together can we overcome the intertwined health and social and economic impacts of the pandemic and prevent its escalation into a protracted humanitarian and food security catastrophe, with the potential loss of already achieved development gains,” the statement said.