UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi discusses how to rejuvenate the global economy and trade in light of the COVID-19 crisis in an interview with Didem Eryar Unlu of the Turkish newspaper Dünya.
Q: Global shutdown have harmed economies and civilizations and we are now heading to slow reopenings. This will be a different world. What should be the lessons that we should take from COVID-19 crisis?
A: It’s too early to know exactly just how much the post COVID-19 world will be different, but some important lessons have already become clear. First, the pandemic has reminded us just how dearly we need to address persistent structural problems facing the entire world. The crisis has aggravated deep seated inequalities between and within countries.
The epidemic is affecting rich and poor differently. Faced with the impacts of the spread of COVID-19, people fare vary differently – both health-wise and economically – depending on the resources at their disposal, depending on the country that they live in, and even depending on the type of home they live in or the type of job that they have.
Peoples’ fates faced with the pandemic are also intricately tied to the political choices of their leaders. Amidst the current uncertainties around the pandemic and its impact, the use and misuse of information has exposed a serious flaw in our unequal yet interconnected world.
The crisis has also deepened people’s skepticism of elites and their displeasure at behind closed doors non-transparent decision making. Across the world, whether from Washington to Beijing, from New York to Geneva this has further exposed the fragility of national, regional and multilateral institutions. This calls on leadership across the world to address these problems.
Second, the crisis has shown that we must build back better. Had we been further advanced in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, for example, we could better face this challenge – with stronger health systems, fewer people living in extreme poverty, less gender inequality, a healthier natural environment, and more resilient societies! We must seize the opportunity of this crisis to strengthen our commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. By making progress on our global roadmap for a more inclusive and sustainable future, we can better respond to future crises.
Continue reading on UNCTAD News