The 2019 global Covid-19 pandemic has put foward a series of pressing challenges that few of us anticipated. It is likely that there will be many consequences after a period of self-reflection. Most of us will reflect directly on our personal behaviours and lives, while world leaders, businesses, and civil society at large will be rethinking the way our societies are functioning. Our society must grapple with climate change, urban planning and development, workforce organization, the benefits and downturns of a digital society, and many more issues.
But before we challenge ourselves in this intellectual exercise, the world needs to solve the pandemic issue and the pressing challenge of getting vaccination equally in the hands of the world’s 7.8 billion human beings. “If poor countries go unvaccinated, rich ones will pay” writes Peter S. Goodman, in the New York Times, in an interesting piece that draws our attention to the disastrous future if there is a failure to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine amongst poor nations.
Some argue that it is a question of political and financial goodwill, others say that it is a moral duty. Mainly, it is a question of good sense. “The financial investment required to fully fund the initiative is miniscule compared to the potential losses from further lockdowns, social distancing policies and fiscal stimulus measures that a prolonged pandemic would require” appeals the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Citizen in an open letter to state governments to scale-up their political and financial commitment to the The ACT-Accelerator (Access to COVID Tools Accelerator), a platform that aims at mobilizing USD38 billion to end the pandemic for everyone around the world.
The assumption is simple: if people in developing countries remain in lockdowns and out of work, they will consume less, reducing imports from North America, Europe and East Asia. Multinational companies will in return struggle to secure required parts, components and commodities. It’s what international trade is made of by nature, not finished goods but parts that are shipped from one country for the final product. We are told that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that out of the USD18 trillion worth of goods that were traded last year, the intermediate goods represented USD11 trillion.
It’s the time of “the great reset” as Davos 2021 puts it. At a time when we never heard so much of separation, both social (race, cultures) and physical (walls, borders, lockdowns), we now clearly understand, with the help of a little virus that travelled the world regardless of physical borders or social consideration, what “global” means.
If anything, 2021 must be the year of the “RE”: re-organize, re-think, re-write, re-unite, re-concile. A year about rethinking the ways we organized our societies, our labour force, our social welfare… a year about reuniting and reconciliating East and West, North and South. 2021 is a year to recommit, in the very essence of investing for impact in its most philanthropical assumption: to commit for the common good.
*President, Associação Internacional
de Filantropia (Macau)
Macau Daily Times is the official media partner of the Associação Internacional de Filantropia (Macau).