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COVID-19 makes Global, Sustainable Development more important than ever

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A member blog post by

Lewis Ryder-Jones, Deputy Chief Executive

Scotland's International Development Alliance

As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, the sheer scale of the unfolding crisis is becoming increasingly clear. Staggering global inequality is only likely to grow, but the most marginalised and vulnerable across the world will be impacted at new levels not yet fully understood. Our sector therefore has a responsibility more than ever before to remind the world about those that are left behind.

To date, the pandemic has most severely hit high-income countries, and most governments where the virus has hit hardest have rightly focused on what is needed to slow down the outbreak and its devastating impacts within their own borders. But the scale of this crisis is truly global, and as many commentators have pointed out in recent weeks, our response must also be global to ensure this crisis can be managed. There is no time for ‘us and them’; we are safe, only if others are also safe.

For the most marginalised and vulnerable across the globe, it is almost unfathomable to think how much impact this crisis could have. As we witness healthcare systems reaching breaking point in high-income countries that have health spending more than 70 times greater per person than in low-income countries, we might start to imagine how unable to cope low-income countries like Malawi will be in the coming weeks and months.

It is therefore more important than ever before for wealthy governments across the world to do their part to protect and assist low income countries by scaling up public health programmes, supporting multilateral responses and helping free up financial resources through debt relief. At the start of April, more than 200 UK Parliamentarians wrote to the Prime Minister urging just that.

But in the medium and long-term, this global pandemic is not only likely to cause a global recession on an unprecedented scale, but also threatens to exacerbate many of the problems the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to solve, reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty and reducing global commitments to climate action at time when the climate crisis demands the opposite.

So it is imperative that we keep our long term vision for a sustainable, prosperous future for all; and as a sector of committed internationalists, we must fight against narratives which seek to protect and isolate our country from the global community.

Ultimately, our collective response must continue to focus on the most marginalised across the world, doubling down on our efforts to support those in need, and helping others to see why it is so important. In this sense, COVID-19 must be seen as an accelerator for dealing with the many issues we all care so strongly about.

How is COVID-19 affecting your organisation and your partners?

At the Alliance, we are seeking to support our members as much as we can in these unprecedented times. But to do so we need information.

Let us know how COVID-19 is affecting your programmes and plans by:

  1. Attending our webinar on 14th April to share your experiences with members and let us know the best ways we can support you at this difficult time.
  2. Booking a short phone conversation with a member of the team to go into more detail and discuss examples of how the current pandemic is affecting your projects and programmes.
  3. Filling out the annual member survey to tell us how COVID-19 is currently affecting your organisation or business, and what support you would like in the future from the Alliance.
  4. Comment on the Alliance Community and connect with other members to share resources and answers to commonly asked questions
  5. Get involved in the policy discussions about what this crisis means for you and your partners.

For the latest information, head to our resources page about coronavirus covid-19

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