The COVID-19 pandemic has created an additional layer of difficulty for refugees and asylum seekers, with frontline states like Greece facing unprecedented pressure in dealing simultaneously with a humanitarian crisis and the health crisis. The situation calls for EU states to speed up the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) since the current impasse is exacerbating the life conditions of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers.
The One Health approach is particularly relevant to tackle threats like COVID-19 because it links the health of humans, animals, plants and their shared environments. The current health emergency highlights the importance of these links, and offers an opportunity to place food systems at the centre of One Health actions.
Because of COVID-19, many European companies are understandably focusing on their financial figures and the safety and wellbeing of their direct employees. Given the gravity of the crisis, the larger supply chain and the human rights and environmental due diligence therein risks falling off their agenda. But do these difficult times absolve companies from their due diligence responsibilities?
This note summarises and reflects on the different roles played by the African Union and a sample of the continent’s regional organisations in shaping collective, coordinated regional responses. It finds that the AU has played an effective role in communicating about and shaping African responses, with technical legitimacy provided through the Africa CDC. The AU has also been able to inspire collective action in a unified call for international solidarity.
As the coronavirus pandemic puts an accent on the geopolitical dynamics among powerful states, China has stepped up its support to Africa’s fight against the virus – arguably not only out of magnanimity. Although China’s assistance is very welcome on the continent at the moment, more is on its way to test China-Africa relations, such as negotiations on debt relief.
This paper stresses the importance of filling the development financing gaps that have been widened by shrinking remittances and suggests adaptations and increases in official development assistance (ODA) as an immediate solution to cushion some of the short-run effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the paper highlights the short- and medium-term measures that policymakers and development partners in both sending and receiving countries should take to lessen the decline in remittance flows.
COVID-19 can be a turning point towards building more resilient and sustainable societies. At this moment, global and national economies have come to an abrupt standstill. Suddenly, economic growth is not sacred anymore. To protect the weakest members of our societies, we are willing to make enormous sacrifices. Reconciling other values with economic growth is also needed if we want to meet the sustainable development goals on achieving zero hunger and greater environmental sustainability.
Over the past few weeks, the EU has been mobilising its full firepower – including health coordination, economic measures and market regulation – to address the COVID-19 crisis within its borders. Yet, in facing a global pandemic that knows no borders, it is in Europe’s interest to mount an effective global response at scale.
With the global economy going into a steep recession, developing countries are facing considerable financing shortfalls. Confronted with its most severe crisis since WWII, Europe needs to adopt a global perspective, as it cannot successfully address it in isolation. There is a moral imperative to help vulnerable people in distress and foster global solidarity to prevent catastrophic outcomes.
Twenty-twenty should have been the year of a fundamentally new Africa-Europe partnership, culminating in the sixth EU-AU summit in October in Brussels. Ursula von der Leyen, with a delegation of some 20 European commissioners in her wake, recently traveled to Addis Ababa for meetings with their African Union counterparts.