Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2007.
US President Biden’s earlier support for a vaccine patent waiver raised hopes for his summit more than a week ago. However, it proved disappointing, not only for efforts to end the pandemic, but also for US leadership in these challenging times.
As developing countries struggle to cope with the pandemic, they risk being set back further by restrictive fiscal policies. These were imposed by rich countries who no longer practice them, if they ever did. Instead, the global South urgently needs bold policies to ensure adequate relief, recovery and reform.
Vaccine costs have pushed many developing countries to the end of the Covid-19 inoculation queue, with most low-income nations not even lining up. What’s worse, less vaccinated poor nations cannot afford fiscal efforts to provide relief or stimulate recovery—let alone achieve Agenda 2030.
Instead of a health system striving to provide universal healthcare, a fragmented, profit-driven market “non-system” has emerged in recent decades. The 1980s’ neo-liberal counter-revolution against the historic 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration is responsible for this.
Hopes for an inclusive global economic recovery are fast fading. As rich countries have done little to ensure poor countries’ access to vaccines and fiscal resources, North-South “fault lines” will certainly widen.
Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism.
At least 85 poor countries will not have significant access to coronavirus vaccines before 2023. Unfortunately, a year’s delay will cause an estimated 2.5 million avoidable deaths in low and lower-middle income countries.
Refusal to temporarily suspend several World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property (IP) provisions to enable much faster and broader progress in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic should be grounds for International Criminal Court prosecution for genocide.
Goodbye 2020, but unfortunately, not good riddance, as we all have to live with its legacy. It has been a disastrous year for much of the world for various reasons, Elizabeth II’s annus horribilis. The crisis has exposed previously unacknowledged realities, including frailties and vulnerabilities.