General

Great recession in the offing amidst Covid-19: Experts

Islamabad, April 12, 2020 (PPI-OT): As a consequent of COVID-19 crisis, the whole world, both developed and developing countries alike, is most likely to face recession period which will be more severe than 2008 great recession. In order to tackle post Covid-19 recessionary period, the multilateral institutions need to strengthen the cooperation and must help the developing countries for effective preparedness to help prevent the spread of pandemic. Experts said this during an online COVID-19 policy response dialogue titled “Role and Future of Multilateral Institutes” organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here at Islamabad.

Executive Director, SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that irrespective of their development status, no country can afford a permanent or indefinite lockdown. This is the time when multilateralism has become extremely important. He said that this new normal is closing our borders, and unless we have a solution to this problem, we need to bring back the spirit of multilateralism to overcome this Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Suleri said that multilateral institutions including G20, IMF, and World Bank etc., have to support other countries for themselves, as far as this disease is prevalent in any part of the world other parts of the world can also be affected.

Assistant Secretary General, Commonwealth Secretariat, Nabeel Goheer said that this pandemic is our common challenge which is hitting us hard without discrimination. To overcome this common challenge, the multilateral institutions need to come forward and fight this pandemic with collective and collaborative response. He said that after announcement of $5 trillion package by G-20 countries and $160 billion from World Bank, the multilateral institutions’ response is now gaining momentum. In this time of crisis, the governments and multilateral institutions should ensure the comprehensive cooperation, he added.

Goheer said that apart from providing support to WHO in data sharing and providing advise and technical assistance to commonwealth nations, the secretariat working on innovative solutions, such as low-cost ventilators, for greater social impact. He said that developing countries are experiencing social and economic crisis, whereas global stock and supply chains have wreaked havoc and have the potential to turn into a humanitarian disaster.

Additional Secretary, Director General UN, Foreign Office, Farrukh Iqbal Khan said that the world has no option but to enhance the multilateral cooperation to combat the Covid-19 challenge. He said though there is anxiety, trust deficit and division amongst the international community, but the world needs to understand the rules of the game which are changing. He said that there are new actors and new institutions are coming into play, such as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) led by China, and the system is in transition. Pakistan is also contributing to this new institutional framework and the world should realize the potential of this emerging international cooperation in the larger context of multilateralism, he added.

Director of Centre for South Asia and Indian Ocean Studies, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Guo Xuetang while urging the world to show solidarity amidst Covid-19 crisis said that the world need to find new ways to achieve international cooperation to help developing countries like Pakistan, which has little capacity to tackle this mega challenge. He said that though China is still a strong supporter of globalization and multilateralism, but negative sentiments and accusation made by international community against China on spread of Covid-19 is high regrettable.

These false accusations and propaganda against China will not help the world and certainly will negatively impact the international cooperation and multilateralism. He proposed the need for first strengthening and enhancing cooperation at regional level than further extending at global level. Shakeel Ahmed Ramay, Head China Study Center, SDPI moderated the session.

For more information, contact:
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road, G-6/3 Islamabad, Pakistan
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