There has been a wave of insightful commentary over the last month on the potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to upend fragile peace process (e.g., Afghanistan) or to exacerbate risks for conflict (for an updated list, see Political Settlements Research Program). As the world deals with COVID-19, at CIC we are also interested in thinking through the potential risks created by how governments and communities respond to the virus—and how a conflict prevention lens can be applied in a practical way to response efforts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, one urgent issue that CIC is watching is the price of food around the world. In this short talking points memo, Sarah Cliffe and Nendirmwa Noel highlight specific country situations, emerging risks, and practical recommendations.
Last week, the UN released two plans to address the COVID-19 pandemic: one on global humanitarian response, and another report from the secretary-general outlining a plan of action for combatting the economic and social dimensions of the virus. In this commentary, CIC makes 5 key observations about what the plans get right and how they might do more.
While confined to my home in New Jersey, I have winced at each new report of the coronavirus spreading back in Nigeria. Like many Africans, I have vivid memories of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and the palpable fear that permeated that season is hard to forget. On Friday, my family's WhatsApp group received a mass message that scared us: my aunt’s coworker in a government building in Nigeria had been exposed to the virus, but still came in to work. Panic and confusion set in—it took us three days to verify this information was in fact false.
Discussions of COVID-19 often cast the Global South as the tragic victim of an imminent surge in cases. Doctors and public health experts have lamented the weak health systems in the Global South—there are fewer than 130 ICU beds in Haiti and perhaps only 500 ventilators for 190 million people in Nigeria. However, this focus on tertiary care, while justified, neglects the lessons that places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has battled many epidemics before, could teach the United States about how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.