Melinda Gates: COVID Has Set Back Global Development Goals

In a normal year, the United Nations would be celebrating progress toward its development goals in the realms of poverty, hunger, education, and gender equity. But there is no progress to show this year due to COVID-19. In response, Melinda Gates is sounding the alarm on what the Gates Foundation calls “mutually exacerbating catastrophes” that are unfolding before our eyes.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, every year your foundation puts out its report, the Goalkeepers report, and you measure and track some of the goals including those that are the U.N. sustainable goals. And for the first time, and let me read it because it’s quite stark, your report says, we have now to confront the current reality with candor. This progress we’d be making has now stopped. This year, on the vast majority, we have regressed. Wow. That is a really sobering conclusion. What are the main areas of regression, the most important areas, in your mind?

MELINDA GATES, CO-FOUNDER, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Yes. Well, we thought it was important to put out the realism of what’s happening in the world with COVID-19, and one of the biggest places that it’s noticeable is the drop in poverty. After 20 years of gains on extreme poverty, we now have another over 35 million people dropping backwards into extreme poverty, which means they live on less than $1.90 a day, that is unbelievable.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is. What does it mean going forward?

GATES: Well, it means that we’re going to have a lot of building back to do, a lot. Because whenever you get a pandemic like this, and we know it from Ebola, you get these shadow pandemics. So, for instance, women don’t go into clinic to deliver their baby because they’re afraid to. It may not be safe. And so, we have to look at what are other ways to reach people. So, for instance, Ethiopia said, okay, we know women aren’t going to come into clinic, even though they should, to deliver their babies. How do we get out clean health birth kits to traditional midwives for the women who are delivering in their homes? We have to think creatively and innovatively about every single category of health as we think about how do we invest and make the right investments on behalf of people.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with former National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton about current events. She also speaks with Brendan Byrne about the documentary “Gaza.” Melinda Gates sounds the alarm on what the Gates Foundation calls “mutually exacerbating catastrophes.” Eddie S. Glaude Jr. tells Walter Isaacson that the U.S. must confront the lies it tells itself about being a redeemer nation.