Opinion

Dangers and Lessons of Present Multiple Crises

The Covid-19 pandemic, erupting in the background of lethargic global economy, could turn out to be the singular biggest crisis in a century. First reported in Wuhan, China, the corona virus has reached almost all countries. It has infected close to 1 million persons and caused over 40,000 deaths at time of writing; and the figures keep climbing. It is a health catastrophe which if not checked in its track would be the most serious since the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed over 50 million people.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Developing Countries

What is likely to be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing economies? It is difficult to make predictions, because much will depend on the spread of the disease, especially in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, and the measures various Governments will take in the coming weeks and months. 

The Need for Empathy in the Time of Coronavirus

The experience and interpretation of the Coronavirus pandemic oscillates between the personal and the general spheres. The official discourse and measures taken by authorities have a direct impact on our lives, change our daily existence and foster worries for the future. A dark cloud of uncertainty hovers above us. What do decision makers know? What can they do? What can we do? Many of us are secluded in our own homes, others in wards or hospitals, or even alone and far away from the ones they love:

Walking the Talk on Climate Change after the Pandemic: Reorienting State-Owned Enterprises towards Sustainability

This year started with the news of the appearance of a new virus, COVID-19. The impact and severity of its effects in public health, mortality and the world economy are overwhelming. No public health system was prepared for this crisis, and yet governments are reacting deploying different policies to mitigate the crisis, and recover as fast as possible.

Life in the Time of COVID-19: Quo Vadis Homo Sapiens?

The writing is on the wall for all to see from far and wide – there is nowhere to hide from this invisible enemy, a new coronavirus, maybe with the exception of self-isolation, quarantined at home and even then, we are not 100% safe.

West First Policies Expose Myths

As the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic shifts from China to the developed West, all too many rich countries are acting selfishly, invoking the ‘national interest’, by banning exports of vital medical supplies.

Life in the Times of Corona: Lockdown & Livelihood in the Lurch

The worldwide spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is severely affecting the global economy and as per the recent updates almost one-third to half of the global population are now under some form of a lockdown.

Neglected Diseases Kill More People than COVID-19 – It’s Time to Address Them

As COVID-19 surges globally and leaves fear and panic in its wake, global efforts are underway to find a cure. Yet, the same level of response is lacking for several other infectious diseases that kill millions annually. These kinds of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a broad group of communicable diseases which affect more than two billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.

A Story of Triumphs and Tribulations: Implementing Services for Autism in Bangladesh

A few days ago, a friend said to me that my focus on autism, although rather successful, had “sucked out all energy from other critical areas of social need in Bangladesh.” My friend wanted to know if I would be interested in expanding my visibility and successful approach to autism, to other issues that have apparently been left by the wayside due to everyone’s eagerness to work on an issue popular with the Prime Minister’s daughter!

Supporting Informal Workers During the COVID-19 Crisis

Farmers, agricultural labourers, and informal sector workers are the worst hit by COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns. Here are some steps that the government and banks can take to help them cope financially.

Coronavirus & Early Lessons from China

The impact of the coronavirus is having a profound and serious impact on the global economy and has sent policymakers looking for ways to respond. China’s experience so far shows that the right policies make a difference in fighting the disease and mitigating its impact—but some of these policies come with difficult economic tradeoffs.

Chinese vs. Western Governance: The case of COVID-19

During January the onslaught in the Western media, notably the US and the UK, against the Chinese government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, was merciless. The Chinese government stood accused of an inhumane attitude towards its people, secrecy, a cover-up, and an overwhelming concern for its own survival above all other considerations.

Coronavirus Worsens Yemen’s Long Tale of Woe

In every room in Yemen’s Al-Saba’een hospital, patients in critical condition waited on chairs, and still others laid on the bare ground. I saw women and girls sharing beds in pairs, and children laying close together being treated.

East Asian Lessons for Controlling Covid-19

By the third week of March 2020, the number of Covid-19 deaths in Italy had overtaken the number of deaths in China. Authorities all over the world are restricting the movements of their populations as part of efforts to control the spread of Covid-19.

COVID-19 in the Time of Insecurity

Humankind has outlived multiple pandemics in the course of world history. The kingdoms and states of Central and Western Europe abolished the institution of serfdom once it had become clear that medieval rule in the aftermath of devastating pestilence would founder without ending the dependency and servitude that characterized the Dark Ages. The vulnerability of entire nations to the risk of total collapse in the absence of widespread access to the most basic healthcare in the Spanish Flu spurred governments to build the public health systems that have made the progress and development of the last hundred years possible. If the past is prologue, then continuity and survival command that we change.

Is It Time to Postpone the 2020 Climate Summit?

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet and the governments of both wealthy and poorer nations overwhelmed by the demands of managing a response, the scheduling of this year’s critical UN Climate Summit is suddenly in doubt.

TB, HIV and COVID-19: Urgent Questions as Three Epidemics Collide

Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV pose a significant burden on South Africa’s health system. There’s a close relationship between the two. About 60% of TB patients are also HIV-positive. The novel coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) is likely to be of particular concern for communities with high rates of TB and HIV.

“In the Beginning was the Word”: Why Covid-19 Renders Words even more Powerful

I was able to take office as the secretary general to the largest global interfaith organization – Religions for Peace - with interreligious councils (IRCs) composed of senior-most religious leaders representing their religious institutions, in 90 countries, and 6 regional IRCs, a week before we had to ask all employees to work from home, in compliance with New York State law.

Improving Development Impact

Most developing countries have good policies, programmes and projects in place. Many of these have been prepared with assistance from development partners or international financing institutions such as the World Bank, the regional development banks, the UN agencies or bilateral aid agencies. Most of these are of high quality and have gone through intensive review and quality control.  The major challenge is to effectively implement these policies, programmes and projects. Unfortunately this does not often happen and leads to huge lost opportunities. This is particularly the case in the poorest countries, many of which are conflict affected. 

Health Workers Are the Frontline Soldiers Against Covid-19. Let’s Protect Them

Many soldiers have seen first-hand the horrors of war and, terrifying though it often was, they knew who they were fighting, and could recognise their enemy.

Stronger UN Leadership Needed to Cope with Coronavirus Threat

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict as events are still unfolding, and estimates vary dramatically. UNCTAD estimates lost output in the order of US$1 trillion, just over a third of Bloomberg’s expectation of US$2.7 trillion in losses. The OECD expects global economic growth to halve from already anaemic levels.

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