Letter: The challenges after the pandemic

Published: 4/8/2020 12:01:23 AM

We – all humanity! – are collaborating to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Viewed by the United Nations as the greatest challenge to the world since World War II, most countries have declared a national emergency, while the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency.

WHO, a specialized organization in the U.N. family, with regional and country offices and staff to monitor health and provide leadership in confronting pandemics (as with the AIDS and Ebola pandemics), leads by sharing information and directing actions: It urges all countries to follow a common strategy, based initially on Chinese success in containing the virus through aggressive testing and isolating the infected from others.

Might the pandemic show the way to prepare for the time after?

What I mean is, before the pandemic we were faced with two global existential threats to life on our planet: environmental disaster – our increasing population gobbling up ever more territory is the driving force in the extinction of life on Earth, while global warming and human pollution are added dimensions of the looming environmental disaster; and nuclear war would seriously disrupt civilized life and is more likely than ever.

After the pandemic, these two existential threats to human life will remain, even as we recover from the pandemic.

The way forward is this: Just as WHO is leading the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we must focus globally – uniting in solidarity and collaborating under U.N. leadership to preserve human civilization.


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