The report builds on the result of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) and the Elcano Royal Institute cooperation, with the support of the Spanish State Secretariat for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation.
Pandemic prevention and containment is a global public good, and its provision requires increased global coordination as well as adaptive, temporary, and coordinated decoupling. Cooperation can tackle cross-border health threats more effectively if well-known difficulties in coordination mechanisms, global governance and financing are addressed.
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.
On 9-10 March, ETTG and UNDP Africa organised an Agenda setting workshop in Addis Ababa, aimed at discussing issues that would need further analysis and reflections in the run up to the African Union- European Union (AU-EU) Summit, slated for October 2020 in Brussels. This event coincided with the launch of the EU Communication towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa.
Is Africa defenceless in the face of the corona pandemic? This would appear to be self-evident, as even health care systems far better equipped than those of many African countries are currently on the verge of collapse. Nonetheless, such a conclusion is premature. In part, some African countries are even better prepared for pandemics than Europe and the United States. Nigeria’s success in fighting its 2014 Ebola outbreak illustrates why that is the case and what lessons wealthier countries and the development cooperation community can learn from it.
This is not to downplay the urgency of addressing the immediate impacts of the Corona crisis, but to turn towards a sustainable way forward that avoids the dead ends of apparent quick-fix solutions. Short-term economic impacts, as a result of Corona containment policies, are unavoidable. Yet, the very reason why climate action was not pushed forward hitherto was due to concerns on short-term economic impacts, notwithstanding the prospect of substantial gains in the long-run. Hence, the current disruptions should help rather than hinder policy adjustments and investments that pursue emissions reductions and a responsible use of natural resources while at the same time creating decent jobs and stimulating economic growth.
The novel coronavirus is keeping the world in suspense. Infection rates are rising exponentially in many countries. The isolated and lock-down measures taken by numerous states are having a massive impact on virtually all areas of economic and social life. They go hand in hand with a growing sense of uncertainty among the general public.
The crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed existing migration debates in Europe, yet is inextricably linked with mobility and movement and its governance within the EU and globally. The current situation reveals the complexities of migration debates, pushing aside current, unearthing old and raising new questions.
Rising case numbers are highlighting how the coronavirus crisis is escalating, both globally and in Germany. Some people have already begun to ask themselves a delicate question: besides the medical and societal challenges brought on by the pandemic, could we also find new forms of cooperation? Might we also take a different approach to other global problems afterwards?
The Spanish flu was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, claiming up to 50 million lives worldwide between 1918 and 1919. It has many parallels with the current coronavirus and the international community would do well to learn from such past pandemics. For every flu death back then, four people survived, but became impoverished. In order to prevent such a scenario, we need to act now to utilise and adapt social protection systems to provide rapid, non-bureaucratic assistance to people.