Covid-19 has given a clarion call for all the states to come together and seek solutions to global challenges.
The global havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has once again made the world leaders come together in containing this menacing virus. The proponents of ultra-nationalism have extended their hands for both helping and getting help even from their inimical states. The virus has impacted the world to the extent of igniting a debate on rechristening the era after this pandemic as After Corona (AC). This is a great call, after World War-II that formed the United Nations, to work together in addressing global challenges collectively.
Not only the pandemic the world is under constant fear of many other catastrophes that human activities have led to—from glacier retreat and desertification due to global warming to violence, terrorism and looming threats of nuclear explosions. It has thus become urgent to find solutions to these global problems. I believe such problems can be dealt with only with a multi-pronged approach that addresses the complex questions of development, environment and health.
Scientists have told us that the maximum carrying capacity of our earth is 40 billion people but our world population is projected to reach 40 billion by 2150 and one trillion by 2330 with the current growth rate. How do we control such exponential growth of the global population? What will become of the earth if we don’t? We don’t have the luxury to let go of these burning questions.
The rise of the population is inversely proportional to the availability of resources. If we cannot develop a wise and sustainable way of using our resources, our posterity will be pushed towards cannibalism, by all odds. It is because hunger, disease and war will also increase with the increase in population. Life-threatening illnesses that cause multimorbidity will be common as we are all susceptible to these kinds of communicable and non-communicable fatal diseases regardless of our country’s financial wellbeing as has been witnessed during this pandemic. This will soon be an overarching concern of the world.
In the race to amass wealth and global power, we have risked human existence and have been so inconsiderate to other beings forgetting that they too are the part and parcel of the same ecosystem that we are of. Such attitudes have led to the depletion of flora, fauna and the quality of natural resources. If we do not change our excessive encroachments, nature will keep finding its hard ways to equilibrate, possibly confirming Malthusian Trap Theory.
There is enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed. The greed of wealth and power has triggered corruption, crony capitalism and bad governance throughout the world. As a consequence, economic, social and political inequalities and injustices have burgeoned unprecedentedly leading to conflicts, violence and extremisms.
Countries grab resources but use the same amount of resources to come to terms with the repercussions caused due to resource grabbing. Plus and minus equals to zero. If global pro-existence is considered, what is the net profit of waging wars to grab resources then as has been seen? This vicious cycle of transition from amassing to losing resources will not only afflict societies but also can wipe out humans from the face of the earth.
Perhaps the UN will firmly acknowledge the fact that a pandemic can be a threat to global peace and security. The globalization and reinforcement of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2177 of 2014 adopted to combat Ebola in Africa is immensely pertinent to this catastrophic situation too. Whilst preparedness lies at the heart of such an effort, even a large investment seems imperative towards preventions. Therefore, no human should be the enemy of another human but should collectively fight against menacing microbes and mutants going more and more resistant to highly advanced drugs.
Current situation warrants a great upheaval with the potential financial recession in powerful states and its ripple effects across the globe. Probably, the superpowers will lose interest in meddling in other countries due, perhaps, to an unprecedented realization of the need to make their own societies resilient first. In that case, the global cost of war amounting to 14 trillion USD a year will decline by far, leveraging the dividend to be consumed by the public health systems.
On the other hand, inspired by the undefeatable display of the coronavirus, unfortunately, many states could manifold their research on future biological weapons and their antidotes. The UN needs to proactively monitor such an apocalyptic innovation. This dire circumstance should rather open windows of opportunities to reform policies to end wars.
In a fashion how Japan denounced the war through its constitution appalled by the brunt of World War-II. The UN Secretary-General called for a global ceasefire in the wake of this pandemic. Since then, the per capita war killing has largely reduced. It is a high time that the world leaders join hands with the UN in harnessing collective action to sustain this brief and unfettered peace.
In fact, Covid-19 has given a clarion call for all the states to come together and seek solutions to global challenges. It is a time to invest collectively against global challenges. This can be a call to teach us virtuous behaviors of fraternity, pro-existence and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (world brotherhood). Who knows, this can be the last call from nature and we get no second chance!
Rajendra Senchurey is a Peace Pracademic from Nepal and the recipient of “Books for Peace” Special Award 2020