Lockdowns have been the main measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 infections. But lockdowns typically incur huge economic costs, distributed unevenly in economies and societies. In fact, some governments
acknowledged that they were choosing ‘life over economy’.
‘Life vs. Economy’: A false dichotomy
As lockdowns have been repeatedly extended arguing that economy can be revived but not the dead
, it has become increasingly clear that ‘lives and livelihoods’ are intrinsically intertwined. The longer the lockdowns, higher is the risk of hunger and hence death.
Landless farmers who produce rice for the landlords of big “haciendas” can’t get more than a little pocket money from their harsh work—not enough to provide diverse and healthy food for their families. Seasonal workers on sugar-cane plantations know that they can count on only six months of earnings. When summer arrives, those whose irrigation facilities have been destroyed by typhoons, or those who never had any, struggle while waiting for the rain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inherent fragility of food systems, Marta Antonelli told an international video conference organised by the Barilla Center for Food Nutrition (BCFN).
The world economic contraction so far this year is largely due to measures, especially at the national or local level, to contain or prevent Covid-19 contagion, particularly those restricting business operations, thus reducing economic activity, output, incomes and spending.
The COVID-19 pandemic is crippling the economies of rich and poor countries alike. Yet for many low-income and fragile states, the economic shock will be magnified by the loss of remittances—money sent home by migrant and guest workers employed in foreign countries.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, the disease has spread to more than 200 countries and territories. In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, governments worldwide have responded by implementing unprecedented containment and mitigation measures—the Great Lockdown
. This in turn has resulted in large short-term economic losses, and a decline in global economic activity not seen since the Great Depression. Did it work?
Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso
, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.
Looking back to the start of 2020, the world has changed almost beyond recognition. To protect public health, the global economy was put into stasis. Shops closed, factories were mothballed, and people’s freedom of movement was severely curtailed.
No country has escaped the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Tragically, more than 260,000 people have died and millions have been infected. The IMF is projecting global economic activity to decline on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. It is truly a crisis like no other.
The tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated challenges have thrown our world into chaos, with the virus destroying lives and livelihoods in its path.
By now, the impact of COVID19 on our daily lives has been well documented, especially in advanced economies. Anxiety about the future continues to grow everywhere. Much of the corporate news coverage we consume has focused on the toll this pandemic will take on mainland countries. Often neglected, however, is the unique position Pacific Island States find themselves in.
The African Continental Free Trade Area was launched two years ago at an African Union (AU) summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020
. But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.
Hunger and food insecurity continue to rise. The official 2019 statistics refer to 821 million people suffering from hunger all over the world. According the recently launched Global Report on Food Crises
, there are further 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. WFP
estimates that due to the impacts of COVID19, additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. This means a total increase of 265 million people. If there will be no appropriate and urgent actions, “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months
”, said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, addressing the UN Security Council on 21st April.
With well over five million Covid-19 infections worldwide, and deaths exceeding 340,000, the race for an effective vaccine has accelerated since the SARS-Cov-2 virus was first identified as the culprit.
The UK and Switzerland are calling for greater global collaboration to ensure access to digital remittance services to support people during the coronavirus outbreak.
While it attempts to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Latin American and Caribbean region also faces concerns about the future of the energy transition and state-owned oil companies.
Restoring damaged ecosystems is vital to avoid the collapse of nature’s most valuable contributions to people, but International Day for Biological Diversity 2020 should also
be a wake-up call about the importance of addressing our social, economic and systemic values, because it is these that are driving the destruction of nature.
As of 11 AM (AEST) on 20th May 2020 the incidence of COVID-19 virus (henceforth virus) on the Pacific Islands was limited. Active cases (deaths) in some of the Pacific Islands were Australia 7,072 (100), New Zealand 1,503 (21), PNG 8(0), Guam 154 (5), Fiji 18 (0), Timor-Leste 24 (0), French Polynesia 60(0), and New Caledonia 18(0).1
Standards of comparison are not uniform across the region since testing capacities of the various countries differ widely. The low number of cases in the smaller Pacific Islands compared to their larger neighbours, i.e., Australia and New Zealand, reflect both variations in testing standards as well as their smaller population size. The smaller Pacific Islands were also not subject to some of the aberrations experienced by the larger countries, e.g., large number of arrivals from foreign countries in planes and cruise ships.
Since 2012, Teresa Castellanos has fought the construction of a gas-fired power plant in Huexca, in the central Mexican state of Morelos, adjacent to the country's capital.
In 2011, when Rwanda committed to restoring 2 million hectares of land in a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested areas by 2020 — it seemed like a big ask.
What is happening now
In the early months of 2020, much of the globe was put on pause as governments fought to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. For many, work came to a grinding halt as factories and shops were forced to close their doors, transforming a global health catastrophe into a labour market and economic crisis.
When the COVID-19 virus travelled from Wuhan, China halfway across the world through Europe, the Americas and beyond in the space of a few weeks, it gave us proof, if one was ever needed, of how tightly interconnected we all are. Not only are our globalized economies interdepended, but also we ourselves are one with the environment around us, and with one another. We are one humankind sharing one planet. And yet, all too often we seem to forget it, as we carelessly revert to misguiding differences between “us” and “them.” Take, for example, the distinction between rich and poor countries, or as economists put it, between advanced economies and least developed countries. In the face of COVID-19, the only difference that matters is if we are sick or healthy. Other than that, we are all the same, regardless of economic status or geographic location.