Zlatko Lagumdzija : World must unite to overcome crisis


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Zlatko Lagumdzija : World must unite to overcome crisis


By: Zlatko Lagumdzija        Source: China Daily      Published: 2020-09-04

Today we are not under attack by coronavirus because of our state, ethnic, racial or religious identity, but our status as human beings.

That is why we should ask ourselves if we want to put an end to the human race by dividing along ideological, national, religious or racial lines, or united as humanity in search of a shared future and society through more dialogue, tolerance, learning and understanding.

Many of our problems are generated by decision makers who are neglecting science and universal human values while being driven by ignorance and selfishness. Additional problems are hitting us because science is developing faster than societal wisdom.

Laureates and Leaders for Children estimated that as of June 2020 policy makers released more than $5 trillion in emergency support for companies and people in the richest countries. That funding is necessary, but leaving behind other countries and marginalized groups all over the world deepens inequalities and creates social and political conflicts.

If 20 percent of that response would be directed to developing countries and marginalized groups, then we could see transformative results. That would be enough to fund all outstanding UN and charity COVID-19 appeals, cancel two years of all debt repayments from low-income countries and fund two years of the global gap in meet the Sustainable Development Goals on health, water, sanitation and education.

For more than a decade, the World Leadership Alliance has been promoting a "hared Societies" perspective, which emphasizes those most peripheral or marginalized in a given place. This is a critical success factor for stable, flourishing societies.

This is reflected in the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 16, which sets parameters to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Fulfilling this goal is the best way for us to transcend ideological differences and carry forward a vision for Shared Societies for the future.

The root causes and consequences of COVID-19 — the biggest transnational challenge of our generation — must be tackled together.

It can not be disentangled from other existential risks, such as climate change, poverty and inequality, nuclear threats, alienation, undemocratic practices and discrimination, demagoguery, chauvinism and nationalistic hatred, rasism and violence.

In order to resolve the biggest crisis of our generation, we have to start moving beyond ideological differences and nation-state power struggles, toward a shared future instead of a shared ending.

An initial list of urgent shared principles and actions can be seen as a quick test of our readiness.

First, global cooperation and norms are needed to ensure people are treated fairly wherever they live. In that context, a future COVID-19 vaccine should be considered a global public good. In May ,more than 140 world leaders and experts signed an unprecendented call, known as “The People's Vaccine”, for governments and international partners to unite around a global guarantee that COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments will be provided free of charge to everyone, everywhere.

Second, best practices have to be shared unconditionally, because reliable information and sharing data is the only way we can learn collectively.

Third, we must acknowledge that though the pandemic affects every aspect of our lives, it is even harder on groups that are marginalized or discriminated against based on their identities or gender, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, religion or belief. They have to be treated equally, with the same care and respect.

Fourth, it is vital that legal and legitimate decisions of multilateral institutions are being executed accordingly. International leaders and donors should follow up the call of the UN for a truce in conflict zones, in order to pursue a comprehensive strategic response to prevent further deterioration. This may be the right time for the UN to try to mediate political solutions, leading to an end of current conflicts as well as opening the peacemaking processes wherever possible.

Fifth, we must organize around these principles to create some kind of global alliance of like-minded entities, or a “movement of movements”.

As a reflection of growing complexity and challenges, we should try to find a mechanism for inclusion of as many stakeholders as possible.

Our intention should not be to rebuild the pre-corona era, which we wanted to change anyway. Ideological differences were being used as a cover for conflict, with exclusivity, inequality and segregation on one side and inclusive, equitable and shared societies on the other.

This is the reason why the current crisis should be treated as our shared chance for rejuvenating multilateralism as a starting point for our new post-corona normal.

We have to strive for a time when doctrines of international cooperation of all stakeholders will flourish around the world. It requires shared leadership, vision, values and responsibility based on trust, transparency, justice and knowledge.

After this chapter of our history we will all be either winners, if we act together as humanity, or losers, if we act divided as individuals and nations.

The author is a former prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina.