As the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary this year, it faces an unprecedented global crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating communities and economies around the world, while support for global cooperation continues to diminish.
The COVID-19 crisis underlines the need for strong institutions, multilateralism and global partnerships. The world must come together around the shared goal of beating this pandemic, and we need bold leadership at both the national and global level to urgently combat the crisis and work towards a more just and sustainable future.
This UN Global Compact Academy session provides insights from leaders from business, Government and the United Nations on how global cooperation and coordination across countries and sectors can strengthen relief and response efforts.
Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President, African Development Bank Group
David Nabarro, Director-General's Special Envoy on COVID-19, World Health Organization
Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund
Paul Polman, SDG Advocate and Vice Chair of the UN Global Compact Board
What did we learn?
According to the African Union, Africa’s economy is projected to shrink 0.8% and up to 15% of foreign direct investment could disappear. Nearly 20 million jobs on the continent are threatened. The African Development Bank Group has launched a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility, including a $3 billion COVID-19 bond, the largest dollar social bond transaction to date in capital markets.
Our current reality is that we need to learn to live with COVID-19 and the threat of the virus. Transmissions double in size every 30 days and getting on top of outbreaks is key. Businesses can play a role by trusting employees when they say they are not well and recognizing that protecting individual is good for teams, and good for business.
A strong fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic is required as the cost of not acting is often higher than the cost of acting. The current crisis highlights the need to design economies for the right type of growth.
COVID-19 is not just a health crisis. It amplifies the inequalities in our current socio-economic system and highlights our vulnerabilities to other crises, such as climate. Philanthropy can play an important role in addressing the social and economic crisis sparked by COVID-19 while continuing to advance systemic change. The Wallace Global Fund is spending 20% of its endowment this year through a COVID-19 emergency response fund.
We need to redesign our social contract with society to make it more equitable and inclusive, and the Sustainable Development Goal are more valid now than ever, providing a guiding framework for companies, communities, and countries. The challenges we face cannot be solved individually. This highlights the importance of SDG 17, the Goal on partnerships. We need partnerships for multi-generations and partnerships for the common good.
Cooperation amongst individuals, within and across countries is key. Containing the pandemic is a complex process that requires constant dialogue. Connecting is the only way to manage response and recovery. If we don’t connect, people will be left behind.