Report on the World Social Situation 2011

The Global Social Crisis

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This report explores the social impact of the great recession and warns of the possibility of continuing global social crisis in the face of increasing fiscal consolidation and austerity measures, which threaten the sustainability of a recovery. The effects of the financial and economic crisis on social progress have been sharp, widespread, and deep. Given the fragility of the economic recovery and uneven progress in major economies, social conditions are expected to recover slowly. Increased poverty, hunger and unemployment due to the crisis will continue to affect billions of people in many developed and developing countries for years to come. Austerity measures in response to high government debt in some advanced economies are not only threatening public sector employment and social expenditure, but are also making the recovery more uncertain and fragile.




Over the period 2008-2009, the world suffered the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The rapid global economic downturn severely disrupted economic growth worldwide and caused significant setbacks in the progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the other internationally agreed development goals. According to United Nations estimates, the annual growth rate in global output fell from about 4 per cent during the period 2006-2007 to 1.6 per cent in 2008; the rate of growth in output dropped even further in 2009, to -2 per cent, when ninety-five countries experienced declines in average per capita income.


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