Editorial August 3, 2020

COVID 19 and its impact on the Forum

The pandemic caused by COVID 19 has shown that vulnerability can encompass humanity as a whole, whether due to natural or social causes. The fourfold crisis that this pandemic has caused (health, social, economic, political) also shows the need to place greater value on the culture of the commons, coexistence, policies of care, the circular economy, sustainability, and balance with nature.

The impact of the pandemic and the response to it shows that the poorest and most vulnerable people are the most affected. With the pandemic, fear and xenophobia have spread, borders have been closed and the lives of migrants and refugees have become even more fragile. Solidarity, as a value that is reinforced in the face of crises, competes strongly with stories of hatred. Children face the serious problem of disruption in education due to the effects of confinement. Violence against women increases in the face of the need for forced coexistence.

The increase in the use of social networks also brings an increase in harassment, in the same vein as the growth of fake news is growing. Extremists, now confined, threaten to return to the streets with greater aggression. The social and economic impact of the crisis doubles the number of people in a position of extreme hunger and acute food insecurity (together, more than a billion), and significant pockets of the population in poverty are growing. The same can also lead to disenchantment and despair, if there are no coherent protection policies, generating new waves of social violence.

In the policy sphere, the pandemic, still alive, generates uncertainty about the future role of states, finances, investment priorities, public services. The strengthening of representative and participatory democracies or, on the contrary, of authoritarianisms.

The concept of ‘national security’ must be brought closer to that of ‘human security’. Investment in armaments and security technology must leave space, and the pandemic shows this, to investments in innovation for science and health. The coexistence between global governance and local governance becomes more important.

In short, this global crisis, generated by a new virus, means a global change in many spheres of life. It represents a danger for coexistence and peace, as well as an opportunity to build a better, healthier, fairer way of living. For this reason, and for much more, the Forum takes on greater importance in this context.