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The ‘Leave No One Behind’ principle is far more important now during and beyond COVID-19 than ever before in the face of the colossal impact of the pandemic. When the government systems crumbled in providing basic health care, key social protection to feed its people and when the informal sector is forced to a standstill, the most marginalised groups suffer the most. These groups are: women, children, persons with disabilities, elderly people, single mothers, pregnant women, indigenous communities, people living in geographically inaccessible areas, orphans, LGBTQI, Dalits and other persons discriminated based on work and descent (DWD), sex workers, beggars, homeless, small and marginal farmers or daily wage worker in urban areas. These are the people whose faces and the inequalities they suffer from hardly come to the fore.

As the world is preparing for vaccination and COVID recovery strategy, the principles of Leave No One Behind and of human rights must be central to policy making and implementation. Recovery is just not about bringing back the usual social lives and economic activities but to build forward better so as to minimise any man-made disasters. Social cohesion is needed in order to surmount the widespread health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

In these endeavours the civil society ought to play a crucial role to protect the interest of the most marginalised groups.

Hunger and loss of livelihood are some concrete impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the poor people across Asia. In this side event we aim at discussing briefly on the COVID impact and deliberating the contours of recovery in relation to food security (SDG 2) and livelihood (SDG 1 and 8) of the people on the margins so as to address inequalities (SDG 10).