We are facing a worldwide pandemic of unprecedented magnitude and virulence. We have seen governments within Europe react very differently to the crisis. The implemented measures and their timeframes vary considerably, as do their effects on health systems, infection rates, death tolls, and medical advances regarding a cure. These effects are commonly weighed against the economic fallout of the crisis and their impact on citizens’ rights and liberties, which often determine the corresponding strategies in dealing with the crisis.
Large parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East are being very seriously affected by the disease, and the states of the global south are also showing a wide variation in their reactions. With its expertise on global developments and multilateralism as well as its deep knowledge of the regions of the global south, the GIGA is uniquely positioned to analyse the pandemic’s repercussions and to contribute to policy solutions to the resulting problems.
The coronavirus pandemic raises a multitude of social, political, and economic questions that form a part of the GIGA’s research mandate. In which ways will the pandemic impact upon the functioning of democracy versus authoritarianism? How will it influence growth and development prospects? What will be its repercussions for human rights and human security, for inequality within and across societies? The pandemic may necessitate a fundamental rethink on globalisation. Certain aspects of globalisation, such as the movement of people, may face unprecedented controls; other aspects, such as digitalisation, may flourish as never before. State and non-state actors may already be learning some tough lessons on the weaponisation of interdependence, which will likely affect future production patterns, trade flows, and security alliances. Multilateralism, already under challenge in recent years, may face its most serious challenge. This crisis may trigger the long-needed reform of multilateral institutions as it demands meaningful multilateral action.
As a Leibniz institute dedicated to policy-relevant research, the GIGA is fully committed to studying the new swathe of problems that the pandemic has generated. We will be contributing to academic debate on this urgent issue, deepening our conversations with practitioners, and sharing our research findings with the media and the interested public. In this spotlight we are providing an overview of the institute’s academic analyses, policy publications, and media contributions on the coronavirus and the global south.