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IPDAL Brief: COVID Policy Implications

The latest IPDAL content analyzes the possible global political implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world was taken by storm.

This time, there were no signs or warnings that pointed to the emergence of the current crisis.

As Dominiqui Moïsi mentioned to El País, in the last days of 2019 and the first days of 2020, we were all looking in another direction. There were countless and legitimate concerns, such as the fires in Australia, the tension between the United States of America (USA) and Iran or China, BREXIT, the climate emergency, the North American elections or the wave of protests in various regions of the Planet.

But the crisis that made us rethink the future of humanity itself came from another side. The current crisis did not appear under the threat of an armed conflict, nor an institutional breakdown, nor an economic recession. A global crisis caused by COVID-19 challenged all public and private actors, inevitably marking the 21st century. The hypotheses of the consequences it will inflict are open. At an economic level, there are already many suggestions that this crisis will be accompanied by a long-lasting recession. But what damage will this crisis inflict on the political, domestic and international fields?

Appeared in the People’s Republic of China at the end of 2019, the new coronavirus has spread rapidly worldwide, infecting more than a million people and killing thousands. The speed and ease of contagion led the World Health Organization (WHO) to decree, on March 11, 2020, the definition of a global pandemic that will affect, with greater or lesser intensity, and at different moments of time, all regions of the world. world.

With many countries remaining in debt due to the 2008 global financial crisis, and with others showing the first signs of recovery, the health crisis will have devastating consequences for the economy, which was already in slowdown, leading to an exponential increase in unemployment. and, consequently, triggering or intensifying protests and social confrontations. Alongside the economic consequences as a motivation for popular protest, health services are being put to the test which, in the event of collapse, will inevitably contaminate an atmosphere of growing political instability.

It appears, therefore, that the impacts of COVID-19 on power relations will be as worrying as its economic consequences. Since the virus gained global proportions, different States have been trying to minimize economic disadvantages, satisfying the most immediate needs of populations and companies, safeguarding themselves politically. However, this is a particularly complex exercise in balancing interests.

Therefore, it is equally difficult to identify precisely what the main political consequences of this pandemic will be, especially because these will also depend on the nature and effectiveness of the governments’ response, as well as the greater or lesser capacity to cooperate internationally in combating the virus.
IPDAL thus sought to bring together those that appear to be the most likely impacts in the medium and long term:

  1. The economic recession produced by the pandemic could cause civil unrest and political instability in some countries or fuel existing conflicts.
  2. US-China tensions will tend to increase in the run-up to the US elections due to the expansion of the pandemic.
  3. Emergence of new forms of international power: Health Diplomacy and its instrumentalization as a tool for acquiring diplomatic influence.
  4. There is a high probability that the pandemic will weaken European cohesion, interfere with citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees and fuel populist movements. However, multilateralism can be strengthened if countries successfully coordinate a response to the pandemic and invest in dialogue with a view to strengthening international institutions and reducing geopolitical tensions.
  5. The economic crisis resulting from the pandemic will bring several political challenges to oil exporting countries, due to the devaluation of the price of this resource on world markets.

You can download the report, free of charge and in full, by following the link below:
Political Implications of COVID-19_Final

Photo credits:
https://images.app.goo.gl/LZVoiUVK2jT5HuvW6
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/what-covid-19-and-climate-change-have-in-common