Debt, Tech and Tension: Addressing COVID-19's Global Fault Lines   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Document: "We would expect a pandemic crisis to be a catalyst for global change. Yet the specific cascading effects that flow from COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] remain largely undefined. It's not for lack of opportunity. In a flurry of recent diplomatic meetings, leaders of Western nations have set out their plans for dealing with the immediate pandemic crisis and, in their words, 'building back a better world'. If words were deeds, we would be well on the way to that better world. In May 2021, G7 [Group of Seven] foreign and development ministers delivered an 87-paragraph, 12,000+ word statement pronouncing on an exceptionally wide waterfront of issues. Finance ministers and central bank governors followed shortly thereafter with a relatively more restrained 20-paragraph statement. But G7 leaders ramped up the output again with a 25-page, 70-paragraph communiqué following their summit in June. Days later, the same leaders joined with NATO partners and issued another 79- paragraph, 14,000+ word declaration. A good deal of the focus has been on what we have long known: viruses and climate change constitute serious threats to humankind. Sadly, both are now irreversible and will require adaptation. Failure to take mitigating actions on these years ago provide an object lesson in both our national and international institutional shortcomings and the damage that can result. [...] Divided into three sections, this paper suggests that three other cascading risks from the pandemic merit collective actions: rising global debt, growing technological vulnerability and increased great-power tensions."

2021 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
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