Governments in the Middle East and in North Africa (MENA) are tackling the pandemic in different ways, many challenged by weak social systems and growing societal frustrations. In relatively prosperous (middle-income) countries – such as Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq – leaders have used the pandemic as an excuse to suppress justified protests at their lack of accountability and failure to provide basic services. For international cooperation, which supports the functioning of legitimate, accountable governments and resilient societies, this poses a critical challenge – as the case of Lebanon currently illuminates.
The ‘Team Europe’ approach should be a rallying point for the active engagement of EU member states and financial institutions, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. While keeping its priorities, notably towards a value-based approach, resilient health systems, a greening of the recovery and digitalisation, the EU should put greater emphasis on food security and sustainable food systems. Moreover, women should have a central place in the EU’s global response 2.0.
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.
The corona crisis has grave consequences for health, the economy and society. Pandemics such as COVID-19, Ebola and cholera will return repeatedly unless we understand what causes them. New infectious diseases in humans are often unleashed by viruses and bacteria in wild animals. The destruction of undisturbed ecosystems brings humans into closer contact with animal species that could transmit hitherto unknown pathogens. Consequently, the only way to successfully prevent localised epidemics and continental pandemics is to view human, animal and environmental health as one unit, as it is in the One Health concept.
The European project was built on the ashes of two world wars. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the most devastating pandemic afflicting humankind in the last century, may be its undoing. Or can it become the catalyst for building a stronger European Union for the future? The jury is still out.
For the second time over the last ten years, low-income economies are confronted with the challenge of overcoming a macro crisis they did not spark and for which they have disproportionally poor capacity to cope with compared to high-income countries. In this context, development finance institutions (DFIs) have an important role to play, both during the crisis and for the recovery.
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.
As the Coronavirus pandemic expands, and peak contagion remains uncertain, policy responses are gradually emerging, being implemented in a number of domains.
The crisis has several important implications, but two are currently dominating the headlines: individual health and the sustainability of national healthcare systems, and the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The crisis linked to the CoVid-19 epidemic now plunges all societies in the world into a state of exception and a strange war made of both a sanitary emergency and a suspended time, for an indefinite period. Each individual and each organisation is now making arrangements until further notice, with the shared feeling of a long period of uncertainty and deep questioning about the very foundations of our societies, our economies, and our ways of living together: our view of the world will necessarily be profoundly modified.
Scientists are particularly exposed in the current health crisis, where governments are using their advice to consolidate their decisions. Thus summoned as experts, also by the media, they find themselves both placed in collective responsibility, as is the case with the scientific council mobilised around the French government, and exposed individually. They also constitute a reference point, to which one can refer in order to gradually build up, as a citizen, an understanding of the situation. The role of science within society and in relation to the major political decisions that have to be made is thus extremely active, in various configurations, and subject to multiple pressures.