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Multiple Covid-19 Storylines and Solutions Shared at UN General Assembly

September 23, 2020, 06.17 PM

Thousands of Palestinian workers were able to remain in Israel for longer periods so as to slow the spread of the virus.

“Unfortunately this unprecedented practical cooperation broke down, in part because of political tensions associated with the Trump (Middle East) peace plan and Israel’s moves towards annexation” of Palestinian territories, Caplan said.

Read also: Israel and UAE Peace Deal Delight World Leaders and Angers Palestinians

There is also the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, a grouping of more than 150 countries pooling resources around combating the disease and distribution of a future vaccine.

The US is not participating in the effort, led by the World Health Organization.

Trump says WHO is influenced heavily by China and that joining the effort could constrain US efforts to develop a vaccine.

Some leaders identified other virus-related problems that needed tackling.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed concern about possible second and third waves of the coronavirus. Like many others, he also noted the damage to economies worldwide.

“Like a tsunami that follows an earthquake, economic aftershocks are sweeping us,” he said.

On the question of reviving the world economy, few concrete suggestions surfaced. Most leaders seemed to argue that a vaccine was the only viable long-term solution, though many did cite concern for local economies as a way to defend their handling of the pandemic at home.

Read also: Indonesia Expects Covid-19 Vaccine From Gavi Covax Facility By 2021

At a time when heads of state can't meet in person, and several don't appear interested in deepening ties, it is unclear how much progress the UN may make during this year's assembly, which continues through September 29.

Just one thing is certain: Dozens more leaders will be talking about the pandemic and their own experiences, and together they will create a global leadership snapshot of the human struggle that's unfolding at this strange moment in history.

When it comes to a vaccine, however, it probably doesn't matter in the long run how much progress is made toward multilateralism at the assembly, said Naim Salem, Professor of International Relations at Notre Dame University in Beirut, Lebanon.

“Multilateral cooperation is optimal," Salem said. “But if a vaccine proves to be effective in one country, it will spread or taken up by other countries.” 

(Writer: Peter Prengaman) 


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