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Let's Leverage COVID Cooperation for Peace

If we make peace one of the by-products of the fight against the novel coronavirus, it will have been more than worth it.
 
Friends, as difficult as the coronavirus pandemic has been, it has also been an amazing time of solidarity in the one global family. Just months ago, who could have imagined the speed and extent of the drastic changes we have made to prioritize global health? Health has taken precedence over commerce, international travel and "business as usual," for there is nothing usual about these times at all.

If, in addition to the lives we've protected from COVID-19, we can achieve these longer-term goals, it will all have be well worth it:

  1. Accelerate the Health and WASH Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, humanitarian organisations like the one I was working for, World Vision, were constantly frustrated by the short term funding provided and the longterm healthcare and water and sanitation needs that we could have been addressing through our investments. However, it was impossible to make headway on these SDGs because our funding was too limited. We even lost ground when gaps between grants meant that we had to let trained local staff go, then rehire people (often different people) to restart our community healthcare interventions. It was so disheartening because although the money often ran out, the needs never did. If we can avoid these mistakes while fighting COVID-19 in developing countries, we will be able to make longterm headway towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Health and Water and Sanitation (WASH).
     
  2. Invest in SDG 16: Peace. Let's not stop there. Let's continue our beautiful, concerted, aligned and accelerated global efforts on the Sustainable Development Goal that is closest to my heart: Peace. Peace (and justice and strong institutions - the holistic focus of SDG 16) is foundational to global progress, for it frees up finances and stabilizing fragile contexts for longterm development to occur. If we make peace one of the by-products of the COVID-19 crisis, it will pave the way for the other 15 SDGs, like education and equality. Peace reduces military spending, increases agricultural outputs, enables investments in education and infrastructure, increases business and trade, and most importantly, it also saves lives - like our fight against COVID-19.
 
Friends, we can do this. We have the political will. We have the ability to work together at a global scale at a remarkable pace. We've just proven it, because we've already done it.

 

 

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