brown63_Peter MacdiarmidGetty Images_g20londonsummit2009 Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Now or Never for Global Leadership on COVID-19

During the global financial crisis of 2008, G20 leaders coordinated a global response, and in other emergencies – such as tsunamis, civil wars, or epidemics – coalitions of countries have convened donor conferences to generate the necessary resources. Today, we need both.

LONDON – This week, leaders from medicine, economics, politics, and civil society are uniting to demand immediate and coordinated international action – in the next few days – to mobilize the resources needed to address the COVID-19 crisis, prevent the current health catastrophe from becoming one of the worst in history, and avert a global depression. As a letter to the world’s leaders notes, because we are so far behind the COVID-19 curve, many lives are being lost needlessly, other health issues are being ignored, and societies and economies are being devastated.

During the global financial crisis of 2008, G20 leaders worked to coordinate a global response. And in other previous emergencies – such as tsunamis, civil wars, or epidemics – coalitions of countries have convened donor conferences to generate the necessary resources. Today, we need both: a G20 task force to coordinate international support and a donors’ conference to make that support effective.

A decade ago, the immediate economic crisis could be surmounted when the under-capitalization of the global banking system was addressed. This time, the economic crisis will not end until the health emergency is addressed, and the health emergency will not end by addressing the disease in one country alone. It can end only when all countries recover from COVID-19 and it is prevented from returning on a regular basis.

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