COVID SCARRING AMID A POLYCRISIS: THE ACID TEST OF DEMOCRATIC SOLIDARITY?
9 December 2022
The pandemic has created ripple effects that have seriously affected health and education systems, as well as the economy in general, when the world was already lagging in its efforts to attain the SDGs.These effects, that could have lasting consequences and that we call scarring, are now compounded by other crises, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine: food, fuel, fertilizer crises, as well as generalized inflation, high interest rates and disrupted supply chains. The international community, in the 3 years that have followed the onset of COVID-19, has shown creativity and commitment to address the COVID crises (front-end loading World Bank financing, setting up COVAX, making more special drawing rights available) but this has not been sufficient to bring back health systems to pre-pandemic levels or to offset learning gaps. With significant donor funding going to support Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees and higher interest rates already crippling highly indebted low-income countries (LICs), the combined effect of other crises can send many LICs down a spiral of dysfunctionality and social tensions that could lead to catastrophic unrest and disruptions.
Jean-François Tardif is an independent consultant on international development and an advisor on economic issues at Results Canada, a leading advocacy organization on international development. He is an active participant on the Global Leadership Collaborative To End Ultra-Poverty. Jean-François has dedicated much of his efforts to support the growth, development and empowerment of citizen advocacy groups in Africa and around the world.
Robert Greenhill has combined a career in international business with a commitment to public policy. Robert Greenhill is Executive Chairman, Global Canada Initiative, and Professor of Practice at the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University. Previous roles include Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of the World Economic Forum, Deputy Minister and President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and President and Chief Operating Officer of the International Group of Bombardier Inc.