We need to invest 1% of our Covid-19 response to fight the global pandemic and #EndCovidEverywhere
In May, the Prime Minister was clear. The world needed to collaborate and work together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“None of us is immune to the effects of COVID-19, and none of us can beat the virus alone. Only by protecting each other can we protect ourselves. Canada is ready to help lead a coordinated global response which will contribute to overcoming the pandemic.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 4th, 2020.
Fast forward four months later. Let’s take a look at what is happening on the global pandemic front. Spoiler alert: things did not go so well.
- More than 1 million cases of Covid in Africa;
- Because of Covid, between 71-100 million more people may be pushed into extreme poverty;
- Because of Covid: the number of people at risk of hunger could double;
- Because of Covid: 117 million children are at risk of missing vaccinations for preventable diseases;
- Because of Covid: 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence;
- Because of Covid: education in Africa plummeted. 80% of African students don’t have access to the internet, so when schools closed because of Covid-19, education stopped; and
- And to top it all off, despite promising to work on a coordinated global response: Rich countries (including Canada) rushed to buy up supplies of possible vaccines, putting poorer countries at risk of not getting any vaccines.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe, but it is devastating countries that were already struggling with poverty, food insecurity, and weak health systems. The fact is: we are at risk of losing decades of progress in the fight against extreme poverty.
Prime Minister Trudeau and other world leaders talked a good game in the spring. But despite talking the talk about a global response to the pandemic, action did not follow. They promised a global response plan, but that plan is still missing in action.
In Canada, we have spent 99.75% of our response to Covid within our borders. But this disease does not follow borders. Without investing in a global solution, the pandemic will keep threatening our economy and our health. COVID-19 anywhere is a threat to us all, everywhere.
Time is running out. Our Government needs to act now.
If we fail to bring an early end to the pandemic, the economy will continue to suffer and lives will be needlessly lost. The IMF estimates that around $500 billion is lost every month due to the pandemic. This is more than15 times more than the WHO estimates is needed to provide tests, treatments, and vaccines in lower income countries for the next year. It makes sense to invest in the global response, not just to save lives, but to rebuild economies and recover stronger.
Today, we join the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and many others to ask the Government of Canada to commit at least 1% of its total COVID response to a global response that tackles the spread of the virus and its secondary impacts in the poorest countries.
The world needs Canadian leadership right now. We cannot wait around to see if other countries start acting. Canada promised to help lead in May. The time to lead is now. The health and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable and Canadians at home, depend on it.
Words are nice, but actions speak louder.