Executive Summary

  • The United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a global cessation of hostilities between warring parties to allow vital assistance to be provided for vulnerable people trapped in conflict zones, has had limited impact, leaving many thousands of people desperately vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Secretary-General’s call requires more active political engagement, and complementary action from the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • The space for essential civil society and NGO operations in response to COVID-19 is under threat in many countries affected by conflict, with the pandemic being used as a means for governments to try to assert control. In providing its immediate response package to Covid-19, DFID needs to support a conducive operating environment for NGOs and civil society.
  • While the response to COVID-19 is understandably focused on the short-term, the UK government should also begin to consider ways to support social protection (safety nets) and economic and social recovery. The UK should use its partnership with the World Bank and other relevant financial institutions to initiate substantive efforts to support social protection, economic and social recovery, and ensure that civil society and NGOs are fully involved and supported in these recovery programmes.
  • The Government should strengthen calls for a collective multilateral response to the crisis and regularly publicise its support for the essential roles played by the WHO and other entities of the UN system.