Bahrain and UNDP join to assess COVID Impact

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Bahrain’s Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) have launched a joint project to assess the socio-economic implications of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The project aims to support the decision-making process, by providing heads with objective data and analyses about the pandemic’s implications, identifying the nature of the effects on citizens and business owners, and the range of changes that reflect on their various activities.

Katadah Abdul Hameed Zaman, Derasat’s Executive Director, said, “This recent Coronavirus crisis began a new age that imposes its own challenges, and Derasat’s acknowledged response continues to extract lessons, and expertise in dealing with this type of crisis, and making the Kingdom of Bahrain more immune when facing global shifts.”

Zaman stressed the importance of cooperating with the UNDP, which gives the project more value on the basis of comparing Bahrain’s response with the various global responses to the pandemic.

“This enriches national expertise, whether by learning from other responses, or presenting our national response as an experience worth investing in, based on its learned lessons for other nations,” he said.

The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Bahrain, Stefano Pettinato, indicated how “good public policy always benefits from sound evidence from the ground. It is for that reason that UNDP is investing resources on a set of rigorous and thorough socio-economic impact assessments around the world, including in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

While the Government has responded quickly and decisively to the pandemic, particularly on the health front and through additional economic resources and relief to the population, we believe that complementary forward-looking analyses such as the one that will be carried out between UNDP and DERASAT can better inform future policies, tailored to the needs of the population”.

Pettinato also emphasized the importance of this platform to provide a lens on those most affected by the pandemic, to learn from their experiences and views and ensure that additional solutions can be added to the menu of actions to respond to and recover from the pandemic from the social, economic, and environmental fronts, that will add to enhanced mechanisms of preparedness and prevention for similar challenges that may occur in the future.

The project will include diverse research activities, based on proper scientific foundations, among which are national surveys on various topics related to the pandemic; such as social distancing, telemedicine, distance learning, and remote work.

These surveys will be conducted by the Directorate of Surveys and Opinion Polls in Derasat, based on its considerable experience in this area.

Moreover, a committee representing a large section of stakeholders will be formed, among which are representatives of the government, parliament, United Nations system, private sector, civil society, and other groups affected by the crisis.

Committee members will take part in personal interviews and round-table meetings to provide the research team with scientific information on the implications of the crisis.

The DERASAT-UNDP project’s team will prepare a number of brief reports and lengthy studies to describe, summarise, and analyze the diverse data to be collected in the second half of 2020. The findings will be published on the Derasat and UNDP websites.

The project is funded by the UNDP global Rapid Response Facility program that was leveraged by the UNDP Bahrain office, and that aims to design and implement COVID-19 socio-economic impact assessments and analyses in over 100 countries around the planet.


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