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WAAS COVID-19 Pandemic Project



ARTICLE | | BY Thomas Reuter

Author(s)

Thomas Reuter

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The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an acute global challenge at present, touching nearly all aspects of our lives. At its 60th anniversary conference, WAAS thus held a 2½ hours session on this issue, featuring an interdisciplinary line up of nine speakers and five respondents, and entitled: The COVID Pandemic as a Systemic Crisis: What can we learn from a diversity of impacts, responses and failures for future crises?,* convened and moderated by Prof. Thomas Reuter.

"Even if the pandemic is contained eventually, the lessons need to be extracted for the sake of ensuring better preparedness and greater resilience for facing future crises."

Meanwhile, the WAAS Centre of Excellence ISACCL in Romania, under the leadership of President Emil Constantinescu, has initiated a project on COVID-19 also. The proposal is to hold the first event at the new WAAS Centre of Excellence, which has not yet happened due to the pandemic. The event should be in late 2021 or early 2022, to be decided with an eye to the development of the pandemic in the meantime. Vaccinations should allow travel to resume by then.

Why is this important? WAAS is a global thought leader and cannot afford to be silent on an issue that has preoccupied everyone on the planet for the last year and likely for another year to come. Economic consequences will last a decade, at least in the developing countries that were hardest hit. Indeed, economic consequences have killed more people than the virus itself. And similar crises will happen again.

Even if the pandemic is contained eventually, the lessons need to be extracted for the sake of ensuring better preparedness and greater resilience for facing future crises.

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an external shock with a systemic and global impact. Similar shocks are in store for us this century, and indeed already, we see how climate change and COVID-19 negatively reinforced each other’s impact, notably in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Factors such as social injustice and economic inequality cut across different crises, acting as accelerator fuels in a crisis. The compound effect of crises could lead to civilizational collapse, at least in parts of the world, and hence to migration and further conflict. The lessons of the COVID-19 crisis, properly understood and acted upon, could help prevent such a worst-case scenario. The aim of the project would be to prepare a list of key insights and an associated plan for action to be presented to the UN, EU and other global, regional and national political actors.


About the Author(s)

Thomas Reuter
Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia; Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science