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  • Author: Joelle M. Abi-Rached, Pascale Salameh
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As countries begin to roll out vaccination for COVID-19, the Lebanese caretaker government has yet to provide details about its vaccination strategy, raising concerns about its ability to provide vaccines due to the country’s economic and governance crisis. This paper, written by public health professionals, raises a number of questions about the vaccination strategy that the government should address and calls for an open, inclusive, and transparent process to placate the worries of citizens given the privatization and politicization of the country’s health sector.
  • Topic: Public Health, Vaccine, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Chiew-Ping Hoo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: It is clear that the NSP started off with the right messages and many Southeast Asian countries have been receptive to the initiatives. Despite the pandemic bringing a lot more challenges in implementing the policy initiatives, the NSP Plus has envisioned an innovation-oriented cooperation by transforming the traditional face-to-face operations to electronic and digitalized management. Public health cooperation is understandably the immediate focus, but such cooperation should be also seen as long-term fulfilment of the cooperation on the People pillar in the NSP. Infrastructure connectivity and South Korea’s cooperation in the building of an evolving East Asian regional architecture respectively enhance the Prosperity and Peace pillars. With patience, dedication, and commitment, the NSP Plus will be a long-lasting foreign policy legacy of Moon that brings benefits to Korea, ASEAN, and regional stability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Political stability, Public Health, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Raed Helles, Nevin Abdel Aal, Ahmed Al-Sammak
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pal-Think For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The economy of Palestine is led to a recession and has had serious ramifications–mostly in a time of COVID-19 as a result of the strict adherence and concrete actions instituted by the government to help avert the disease from spreading in the enclave. However, the consequences of COVID extend to correlate the future of Palestine, not by affecting its individuals and governments only, but also all its sectors due to the loss of income for thousands of citizens. According to World Bank studies, in comparing with 2019, which witnessed difficult economic conditions for several reasons, including the Palestinian fiscal revenue leakage and the suspension of American aid, the economy might get down this year by 7.6% if Palestine returns gradually to normal and by 11% if the tough restrictions continue to be imposed.
  • Topic: Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Tanner Corley, Marcus M. Witcher
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In Arkansas, the barber profession has been regulated and licensed for more than 80 years, and until recently, the issue was mostly absent from the political debate. During a regular session of Arkansas’s 92nd General Assembly in 2019, however, state Sen. John Cooper presented a bill to “repeal the [1937] Arkansas Barber Law” and to “abolish the State Board of Barber Examiners” (Briggs 2019). The average Arkansan probably was not aware of the bill, but occupational licensing reformers saw this as a great opportunity for Arkansas to pave the way for other states to reform their own license laws. If Cooper’s bill had passed, Arkansas’s economy would have likely benefited (Timmons and Thornton 2010, 2018). By removing restrictive requirements to becoming a barber, the bill would have allowed more Arkansans to enter the profession. This reform would have ­provided people with more economic opportunities, increased competition, and benefited consumers.
  • Topic: Regulation, Business , Public Health, Licensing
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Wendy Cutler, Anubhav Gupta, Nathan Levine, Richard Maude, Elina Noor, Jing Qian, Alistair Ritchie, Kevin Rudd, Daniel R. Russel, Thom Woodroofe
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Notes for the Biden Administration is designed to offer creative and practical ideas for how the United States might re-engage in the Asia Pacific, particularly in the critical first six months of the new administration. The administration will immediately face a range of challenges and opportunities in this important region, including on climate change, public health, and the global economy. President-elect Biden and his team have signaled the need for the United States to lean into and deepen its engagement with friends and allies. This will mean leveraging the Asia Pacific’s multilateral architecture as well as using global forums such as the G20 and international organizations. Trade policy will also figure importantly in any effort to renew and expand America’s engagement. Additionally, the U.S.-China relationship will loom large from the outset. Tensions with China will surely linger, whether in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait, complicating the task of establishing a new framework of “managed strategic competition” – a combination of each side's "red lines," continued competition, plus agreement on areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. ASPI Notes for the Biden Administration provides a diverse package of 20 actionable proposals to address specific risks or objectives in reconnecting with the Asia Pacific. These notes carefully reflect the views, perspectives, and expectations of the region itself – a hallmark of ASPI’s approach.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Economy, Trade, Public Health, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Amy Robinson, James Waldo
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In mid-October, thousands of English and Welsh citizens received phantom alerts that they had potentially been exposed to COVID-19. A quick Twitter tour reveals the spiraling fear, frustration, and confusion that ensued. Even though National Health Service (NHS) later updated the app, built using an Exposure Notification System (ENS) developed by Apple and Google, the incident still amplified mass hysteria and confusion.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Public Health, COVID-19, Contact Tracing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Kambala
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: This policy paper explores the situation of victims vis-à-vis transitional justice processes in selected African countries when COVID-19 appeared. It looks at the performance of these transitional justice processes and attempts to ascertain the prospects for the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) to improve remedies for victims. It also suggests ways to orient the AUTJP's scope to alleviate victims' plight, including through synchronisation with other regional processes, during and beyond COVID-19.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Public Health, Pandemic, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steven Rebello, Jesse Copelyn, Sinqobile Makhathini, Boikanyo Moloto
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: Militarisation refers to a process where societies (states, institutions, and citizens) prioritise, organise, prepare for and respond to threats or crises with military action or violence. This policy brief highlights how many countries across the world, including South Africa, adopted a militarised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, this militarised response has been noted by the deployment of the SANDF to assist with the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations as well as through the noticeable increase in the use of excessive force in response to protests.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Protests, Violence, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Ignacio Saiz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Of the many dimensions of inequality that the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified, inequality between countries is one of the most glaring, yet one of the least effectively addressed. While the pandemic’s immediate health impacts have been felt in countries across all income levels, its eco- nomic consequences have been particularly dev- astating in countries of the Global South. Fuelling these inequalities is the disparity of resources that countries count on to respond to the crisis. International cooperation has never been more essential to address this disparity and enable all countries to draw on the resources they need to tackle the pandemic and its economic fallout. Besides the provision of emergency financial support, wealthier countries and international financial institutions (IFIs) need to cooperate by lifting the barriers their debt and tax policies and practices impose on the fiscal space of low- and middle-income countries. As this article explores, such cooperation is not only a global public health imperative. It is also a binding human rights obli- gation. Framing it as such could play an impor- tant role in generating the accountability and political will that has so far been sorely lacking.
  • Topic: Fiscal Policy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis, Wouter Zweers, Giulia Cretti, Srdja Popovic
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael series ‘The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’ provides an inside perspective on the EU climate ambitions for the Western Balkan Six (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the challenges ahead. In this third contribution, we analyse the state of affairs with regard to pollution. Across the Western Balkans, air, water and soil pollution levels are incredibly high. Public health is continuously jeopardised by air pollution arising from local heating sources and energy production plants. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans aims to assist the region in tackling pollution problems and aligning the countries’ environmental quality regulation with the European acquis. This paper analyses the state of affairs with regard to air, water and soil pollution in the WB6 and examines how it affects citizens’ health and socioeconomic prospects. The policy brief argues that countries in the Western Balkans need to address a coal phase-out while simultaneously tackling energy poverty. The EU could more actively support this, not only by providing a platform for dialogue, but through supporting programmes for renewable energy provisions and infrastructure, reskilling of workers and job creation. The Sofia Declaration, that sets out the Green Agenda, needs to be complemented with measures to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, preferably by involving civil society organisations in monitoring implementation and raising public awareness of the socioeconomic costs of pollution.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Pollution, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: In December 2020, one year after the COVID-19 virus had been reported in China, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization in back-to-back announcements for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna/NIAID vaccines. This was by far the fastest vaccine development in history. A typical vaccine took 10 years to develop, with the most rapid previous development being the four years it had taken for the mumps vaccine in 1967.1 And these two vaccines were of a new type, utilizing messenger RNA (mRNA). While mRNA had been studied for years, the unique spike protein of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 provided a first opportunity to respond with an mRNA vaccine.2 The ensuing technological and scientific success could not have been accomplished without the collaboration of the private and public sectors. The distribution of the vaccine nationally could not have been accomplished without the major delivery companies stepping up to meet the challenges of on-time distribution of the vaccines, which required very cold storage. The research, development, and nationwide distribution of the vaccines has evoked comparisons to the private-public sector collaboration during WWII that led to the Manhattan Project’s rapid and dramatic scientific breakthroughs.3 After death tolls climbed into the hundreds of thousands, the vaccine announcements provided hope that there may be light at the end of the very dark COVID-19 tunnel. By the end of May, the United States is expected to have sufficient vaccine supply for the entire adult American population. But the challenge to manufacture, distribute, and administer the vaccinations quickly, efficiently, and fairly, in a race against continued infection and the emergence of variants of the virus here and all around the world, requires continued collaboration between the public and private sectors. The US and the world must win that race between vaccination and mutation to achieve “herd immunity” and return to normality in daily life and the economy. The stakes are high for both the current crisis and the inevitable pandemics of the future. For this reason, the following analysis offers a diagnosis of the current episode, and recommendations for today and tomorrow.
  • Topic: Public Health, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the entire world with its worst public health threat in at least a century. The precise seriousness of the pandemic, of course, could not be known at the outset; and in fact, the pandemic is not yet vanquished as this statement is written. The extent of the damage the virus and its mutations will ultimately cause is not yet fully known. But the near-miraculous efforts to develop vaccines, contain the infection, and treat the infected provide much-needed hope that a return to “normal” is not out of reach. The pandemic had economic consequences as well. And like the public health impact, the shock to the economy was large but impossible to assess accurately at its outset. And like the damage to public health, the economic fallout is still impossible to assess today with complete accuracy. For the first time in 100 years, stay-at-home orders to protect the public health spurred an economic downturn and dramatic job losses—leaving a wide swath of businesses in hospitality, travel, leisure, dining, and retail nearly shut down, with entire occupations, such as personal service workers, facing extended layoffs or even permanent job loss. The fates of these businesses and workers are unpredictable, depending on the uncertain course of the pandemic itself. Another similarity between the public health and the economic threats is that prudent public policy required strong and immediate responses. With the ultimate extent of the damage unknown but potentially catastrophic, executive and congressional policymakers deemed it essential that government react swiftly and robustly. Policymakers and commentators repeated often that the nation should err on the side of action—that it would be better to do too much rather than too little.
  • Topic: Debt, Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jean Vilbert
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 has renovated the debate about global health governance. Many scholars have proposed that the World Health Organization (WHO) should assume the position of a central coordinator with hierarchical powers. This article presents four main objections to this project: the problems with ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies, the heterogeneous distribution of power within multilateral institutions, the risks of crowding out parallel initiatives, and the democratic principle. Testing the WHO’s ability as a provider of technical information, an OLS regression, analyzing the first year of the coronavirus health crisis, from January 2020 to January 2021, in 37 countries reported in the World Values Survey Wave 7, shows a negative relationship between the population trust in the WHO and the number of cases of COVID-19. This indicates that there is a valid case for countries to strengthen the WHO’s mandate, but not to create a hierarchical global health structure.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Social Order
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rajesh Das, Ipsita Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: The spread of the Covid-19 has presented an unparalleled challenge for media management as well as for the media content. The pattern of daily life changed due to the excessive use of media. India, as a nation has been in the third position worldwide, many deaths during a pandemic are concerned. Kolkata being one of the metro cities of the country has not been exempted. The regional media content perceived a knowledge gap with the highest circulated national daily of the country. The changed media content, and audience perception towards the change, and the need for media advocacy during any health crisis in general and Covid-19 in particular, is studied in this paper using a mixed approach of both quantitative and qualitative. The discourse analysis of the newspapers in a constructed week format, representing a six months study during the pandemic, and the primary data from the audience suggested the behavior change and attitude formation through media, in this unique study.
  • Topic: Media, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Aram Terzyan
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: This paper explores Russia’s response to Covid-19, with a focus on its implications for political freedoms and human rights across the country. It investigates the relationship between the pandemic and reinforcing authoritarianism in Russia. This paper is an in-depth case analysis that uses policy analysis and process tracing to examine Russia’s response to Covid-19 and its effects on Russian domestic politics. The study concludes that the Russian authorities have considerably abused Covid-19-related restrictive measures, not least through curtailing the freedom of assembly and expression. In doing so the Russian authorities have conveniently shielded themselves from mass protests amid constitutional amendments and upcoming legislative elections. Nevertheless, while the authoritarian practices that the Kremlin resorted to during the pandemic are not much different from those of other authoritarian regimes, they proved insufficient in curbing anti-regime dissent. This study inquires into the political repercussions of crisis management in authoritarian regimes and concludes that their authoritarian reactions lead to further crackdowns on civil liberties and political freedoms.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Leadership, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Michael Bayerlein, Vanessa A. Boese, Scott Gates, Katrin Kamin, S. Mansoob Murshed
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Populist parties and actors now govern various countries around the world. Often elected by the public in times of crises and over the perceived failure of ‘the elites’, the question stands as to how populist governments actually perform once elected, especially in times of crisis. Using the pandemic shock in the form of the COVID-19 crises, our paper answers the question of how populist governments handle the pandemic. We answer this question by introducing a theoretical framework according to which populist governments (1) enact less far-reaching policy measures to counter the pandemic and (2) lower the effort of citizens to counter the pandemic, so that populist governed countries are (3) hit worse by the pandemic. We test these propositions in a sample of 42 countries with weekly data from 2020. Employing econometric models, we find empirical support for our propositions and ultimately conclude that excess mortality in populist governed countries exceeds the excess mortality of conventional countries by 10 percentage points (i.e., 100%). Our findings have important implications for the assessment of populist government performance in general, as well as counter-pandemic measures in particular, by providing evidence that opportunistic and inadequate policy responses, spreading misinformation and downplaying the pandemic are strongly related to increases in COVID-19 mortality.
  • Topic: Governance, Populism, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Based on comparative empirical evidence for 22 major OECD countries, I argue that country differences in cumulative mortality impacts of SARS-CoV-2 are largely caused by: (1) weaknesses in public health competence by country; (2) pre-existing country-wise variations in structural socio-economic and public health vulnerabilities; and (3) the presence of fiscal constraints. The paper argues that these pre-existing conditions, all favorable to the coronavirus, have been created, and amplified, by four decades of neoliberal macroeconomic policies – in particular by (a) the deadly emphasis on fiscal austerity (which diminished public health capacities, damaged public health and deepened inequalities and vulnerabilities); (b) the obsessive belief of macroeconomists in a trade-off between ‘efficiency’ and ‘equity’, which is mostly used to erroneously justify rampant inequality; (c) the complicit endorsement by mainstream macro of the unchecked power over monetary and fiscal policy-making of global finance and the rentier class; and (d) the unhealthy aversion of mainstream macro (and MMT) to raising taxes, which deceives the public about the necessity to raise taxes to counter the excessive liquidity preference of the rentiers and to realign the interests of finance and of the real economy. The paper concludes by outlining a few lessons for a saner macroeconomics.
  • Topic: Global Recession, Economic Inequality, Macroeconomics, Austerity, Public Health, COVID-19, Health Crisis, Public Spending
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Mora Deitch
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In spring 2020, observers and practitioners warned that COVID-19 would increase violence in sub-Saharan Africa by creating an economic shock that would lead to distributional conflicts and government repression. Compared to before the pandemic, violence did increase in 2020, rising by 40 and 60 per cent in terms of fatalities and events, respectively. Controlling for important confounders, COVID-19 proves significant to the increase in violence in many models; however, a robust effect can be found only for “COVID-19 unrest,” which forms a fraction of the violence and stems from the stringency of government reactions rather than the pandemic itself. Pre-pandemic fragility accounts best for the region’s rise in violence. Expert assessments confirm these findings but also yield evidence warning against prematurely announcing an all-clear. The fallout of the pandemic on conflict is likely to have a longer period of incubation, and there are initial indications that conditions will worsen.
  • Topic: Violence, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Natalie Schwehr, Giovann Alarcon, Lacey Hartman
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: We examined the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on healthcare coverage, access, health status, and affordability, as well as disparities in these outcomes by race/ethnicity among low-income Californians. We used nationally representative survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey 2011-2019 and a difference-in-differences approach that compared California with nonexpansion states. We examined the impact of Medicaid expansion on health insurance coverage, having a usual source of care, self-reported health status, frequent (≥14) unhealthy days in the past month (physical, mental, and both), and foregone care due to cost. The sample population included low-income Californians (<100% of the federal poverty guidelines) aged 19-64 and low-income childless adults. Low-income adults, childless adults, and white childless adults in California saw post-ACA gains in six of seven outcomes, including a 7.7 percentage point increase in having a usual source of care for all low-income adults (CI: 0.051 to 0.104). Childless adult people of color (POC) reported significant improvements in three measures, with a 6.6 percentage point increase in having a usual source of care (CI: 0.013 to 0.120). All of the groups we examined had coverage gains, ranging from 3.9 percentage points for all low-income adults (CI: 0.013 0.066) to 8.4 percentage points for white childless adults (CI: 0.025 to 0.143). Additionally, all groups reported improved mental health, including an 8.2 percentage point decrease in frequent mental distress for childless adults (CI: -0.120 to -0.044). These findings indicate that the ACA coverage expansion benefitted the targeted population of low-income Californians. Additionally, the disparity between white and non-white Californians decreased for the unadjusted mean rate of having a usual source of care. However, unadjusted means showed that white low-income adults remained more likely to have health insurance coverage and a usual source of care compared with POC in both California and nonexpansion states.
  • Topic: Health, Minorities, Health Care Policy, Public Health, Medicaid, Medicine
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sue Burrell, Shannan Wilber
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and ongoing calamity, laying bare the vulnerabilities of California’s public health and emergency response systems. Although youth confined in juvenile detention facilities are among those at highest risk of suffering from the effects of the virus, the plight of these young people has been largely invisible to the public and overlooked by the state. This article describes the unique dangers posed by the coronavirus to youth incarcerated in county-run detention facilities in California. It summarizes the policies and procedures necessary to protect the health and well-being of detained youth based on the recommendations of public health officials and youth justice stakeholders nationally. It then describes the county and state agencies whose coordinated action is essential to respond to COVID-19, the efforts of the authors and other California advocates to urge these government stakeholders to implement essential health and safety protocols, and the obstacles and challenges encountered. Those efforts met with a range of responses ranging from lack of certainty about authority to act to non-responsiveness. As a result, California failed to provide systematic guidelines for releasing youth from custody, proactively oversee conditions in detention facilities, report data in meaningful ways, or respond to concerns and complaints from youth and families. The article, finally, draws on the experiences of the past year and a half to offer recommendations for the systemic changes necessary to prepare for the next pandemic or similar public health emergency.
  • Topic: Governance, Youth, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mika Aaltola, Johanna Ketola, Aada Peltonen, Karoliina Vaakanainen
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although their timing and nature is unexpected and disrupts normality, pandemics are not black swans, but rather an expected feature of a feverishly con- nected and globalizing world. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been several serious cases of and close calls with pandemics, including SARS in 2003, H1N1 infuenza (“swine fu”) in 2009 and Ebola in 2014. By now, we know the usual features of pandemics, how they emerge and the shape of their temporal context: rapid onset leading to a politically compelling impact followed by decreasing attention and lessening restric- tive policies resulting, in some cases, in the return of the disease. Te most serious pandemics, like the 1918 infuenza pandemic (“Spanish fu”), come in waves. Te less restrictive policies are followed by subsequent waves, partially propelled by diminishing attention and wishful policies until a cure or vaccination is found, or immunity achieved. Despite the growing awareness, pandemic diseases nevertheless often catch us of guard and bring about human misery. Te latest form of Severe Acute Res- piratory Syndrome caused by a novel coronavirus, Covid-19, which spread like wildfre around the globe in 2020, came as a surprise even though the point of origin and secrecy surrounding its emergence were similar to that of its predecessor, SARS, in 2003. In other words, pandemics continue to include “un- known” aspects, which have to do with their specifc characteristics, perhaps most notably their timing, but also other features such as infection and fatality rates, patterns of spread, and the outbreak location zone(s). Our starting point in this Working Paper is that se- rious contagious diseases are political as their cascad- ing and nonlinear efects impact people’s livelihoods and disrupt normality. Tis applies to the most recent coronavirus pandemic, as highlighted in this paper. Te key research question concerns how the European Union (EU) and its member states, illustrated through the case of Finland, became aware of the prevailing health crisis, and the kind of political ramifications that the response had, and could have had. Te focus of this paper is on the frst two and a half months of the coronavirus pandemic, from January to mid-March 2020, by which time the pandemic had replaced the prevailing agendas in the EU and in its member states and saturated the public debate, reach- ing a tipping point. Te onset entails a build-up to a clear situational policy necessity, a sentiment that drastic, exceptional actions need to be taken to con- tain or at least to slow down the pandemic outbreak, as well as a remorseful debate and fnger-pointing at actions that should have been taken sooner. Te paper studies this build-up phase while recognizing that the next phase of political reaction to a pandemic tends to include the sentiment that enough has been done or even that the actions that were taken earlier were somewhat excessive and overblown.1 Tis phase may be followed by – and is an important constituent of – yet another phase, the second wave of the pandemic. The timeframe for the Working Paper extends to mid-March 2020 when Covid-19 became the prevail- ing topic of public concern in Europe. We refer to this prevalence as the tipping point. Te term tipping point is used to identify the critical juncture, both nation- ally as well as in the EU, when sudden changes to be- haviour took place at the public and political levels. At such moments, public attention becomes heightened, single-issue focused, and rushed. Te pressure for po- litical action becomes paramount. Te mobilization of resources as well as the introduction of diferent states of emergency suddenly seem possible. Te emergent, situational requirements become the context for pol- icymaking, instead of the requirements of the then prevailing normality; namely, exceptional political acts can prevail when urgency seems to necessitate them. Te situated characteristics of a pandemic include a heightened sense of exceptionality, particularly if there is a sense that prior preparations at national, regional, and global levels were inadequate and the contingency planning insufcient. Any delays and hesitations are easily seen as weaknesses although, in normal times, they are often the keys to stable and rational political deliberation. Tis was the scenario that actualized with Covid-19, as the preparedness planning for pandem- ic security was largely perceived as defcient and the global as well as the European regional coordination in short supply.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Mika Aaltola, Johanna Ketola, Karoliina Vaakanainen, Aada Peltonen
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Solidarity has become a global and regional buzzword in the fght against Covid-19. As a result of the unequal and shifting disease burden and resource scarcity among countries, solidarity has manifested itself in various forms depending on the national and regional contexts and disease situations. Politicians worldwide have called for solidarity, which has taken many shapes and forms. At the nation- al and sub-national level, Covid-19 has prompted calls for communal solidarity. Solidarity, at the EU level, has often been used as a synonym for intra-EU coordination and assistance between member states as well as safe- guarding the welfare of EU citizens. In the global arena, UN and WHO leadership has been pushing for global sol- idarity to highlight the global nature and scope of the crisis, simultaneously alluding to the uneven distribu- tion of vaccines and the embedded systemic injustices in global health governance. Tis mosaic of solidarities difers from the normative ideal. In this Briefng Paper, we explore the diferent types of pandemic solidarities to understand the political dis- course during the frst year of the Covid-19 pandemic. We analyze the solidarity rhetoric of the high political leadership as well as key solidarity initiatives at three diferent governance levels: global (UN), regional (EU), and national (case Finland) to see how solidarity has been defned, in which context, and to what ends. Compared to other types of emergencies, pandemics are in a league of their own. One key characteristic of a pandemic emergency is the anxiety connected to the processes of contagion, infection, and spread. As the term ‘pandemic’ signifes, the frst line of defence at the local level has failed, as happened in the initial stage of Covid-19. Whereas natural catastrophes are usually lo- cally contained without additional concerns stemming from the fear of spread, pandemics are, to a degree, an- ti-humanitarian by their very nature. Tey usually lead to a knee-jerk reaction to step back and bufer oneself to prevent the harm from spreading.1 From this per- spective, pandemic solidarity is far more limited and qualitatively diferent. Instead of compassion for distant. others, a nearest-and-dearest approach can ensue. Tis Briefng Paper argues that lower levels of soli- darity should act as enablers for better pandemic gov- ernance at the global level. Until now, the impact of na- tional and regional solidarity has been relatively bleak. Calls for solidarity can act as empty signifers or merely as political rhetoric that is not tied to any concrete efort or action. To shed light on the meanings of solidarity, it is important to identify and distinguish the operative nature of solidarity, or lack thereof, in various contexts.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emma Hakala
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Conflict-related damage to the environment has become widespread and causes sustained harm to public health, ecosystems, and peacebuilding. The International Law Commission (ILC) will finalize its work on new principles for the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict (the PERAC principles) in 2022. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published an updated iteration of its Guidelines on the Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict in 2020. International momentum is gathering for states to implement these frameworks. However, independent mechanisms to monitor the implementation are currently lacking. The international community and civil society actors need to ensure transparent monitoring mechanisms that enable stakeholders to pressure states into compliance.
  • Topic: Environment, International Cooperation, Conflict, Peace, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katariina Mustasilta
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Armed conflicts around the world have continued largely unabated, irrespective of the global pandemic. Despite influencing conflict-affected contexts, the pandemic has not (thus far) been a gamechanger regarding conflicts. Both non-state and state actors have tried to seize opportunities stemming from the pandemic measures for their own benefit. This, along with changes in the footprint of peacebuilding efforts, has threatened human security. In the long term, socioeconomic repercussions of the pandemic pose the gravest threats to peace. The socioeconomic fallout can induce conflict by undermining the social contract and social cohesion, particularly in contexts with conflict legacies, deep inequalities, and high external economic dependencies. The EU has multiple tools that it can deploy in its external action to mitigate the conflict-inducing repercussions of the pandemic. Taking preventive action requires a long-term perspective, even amidst the unfolding crisis.
  • Topic: Inequality, Conflict, Peace, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Russian science, technology and innovation (STI) system is geared towards global geoeconomic competitiveness and is based on three S’s: state control, sovereignty and self-sufficiency. State-sponsored biotechnological innovation is a component in Russia’s geoeconomic strategy: in the case of Sputnik V, Russia’s commercial and strategic objectives are intertwined. The Russian state’s close involvement in development, marketing and propagating Sputnik V – as well as its readiness to skip standard practices in order to make headway with the product – create well-founded distrust towards it in Western markets. In the emerging and developing markets, Sputnik V suffers from insufficient manufacturing capacity. In many countries, only a fraction of promised doses have been delivered, and setting up local manufacturing capacity outside the EAEU takes time. The European states should pay more attention to linkages between Russian innovation policies and its foreign, security and military policies. For Russia, these are not separate silos but build upon and support each other.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Public Health, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Malik Adnan, Muhammad Bilal Nawaz, Rao Shahid Mahood Khan
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Spread of fake news has been rapidly increased in recent months and the determinants that lead the sharing of misleading information is not well studied. Henceforth, this study analyzes the result of a Pakistani sample (n=385) regarding proliferation of fake news regarding COVID-19. This phenomenon was studied by using uses and gratification framework it was extended by the altruistic motivation. An explanatory research design was followed, data was collected through questionnaire based on prior studies and respondents were approached through different social media websites and answers were collected through Google forms by following convenient sampling technique. Acquired responses were analyzed through regression model to investigate the magnitude of effects among the six categories of study on the result of fake news sharing. Findings showed that altruistic motivation was the main predictor of fake news sharing of COVID-19. Furthermore, other predictors i.e. motivation for information sharing, socialization gratification, motivation for seeking information and passing time were contributing in sharing fake news about COVID-19, while no relationship was found between entertainment motivation. This research suggested some theoretical and practical implications.
  • Topic: Media, Social Media, News Analysis, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Fake News
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East
  • Author: Milan Urbaník
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Milan Urbaník in his policy paper addresses public health communication in the era of widespread conspiracy theories. He focuses on the vaccination against COVID-19 and presents the most important attributes of a communication campaign that would challenge disinformation surrounding the vaccination. The Czech government is under increased pressure to persuade citizens to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19. The strong presence of anti-vaccination movements, as well as general scepticism of Czech public against vaccination represents a serious challenge for public communication. To communicate effectively in the context of conspiracy theories, the Czech Ministry of Education should follow simple best practices to persuade citizens to vaccinate. The messages communicated should be clear and simple, delivered by reliable and familiar messengers. Furthermore, the right channels should be considered, and various governmental institutions should be consistent in their messages. In addition to the short-term adjustments, the Ministry of Health should consider employing or training health communication experts that would design, pre-test and evaluate health campaigns to realise the full persuasive potential of health communication.
  • Topic: Public Health, Vaccine, COVID-19, Disinformation, Conspiracy Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Asher, Miles M. Yu, David Feith, Matthew Zweig, Thomas DiNanno
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Nearly 18 months after word of a deadly new virus began leaking out of Wuhan, China, the Chinese government’s response remains fundamentally hostile to international cooperation and transparency. Despite hundreds of offers of assistance, polite diplomatic entreaties, and demands for access to data by governments and health authorities across the globe, the world still knows far too little about COVID-19’s origin. As in a Dali painting, the clocks have melted but time has not stood still. China’s initial silencing and censoring of its doctors and scientists, followed by misinformation about COVID-19’s dangers—especially denials concerning the virus’s ability to be spread human-to-human, invisibly and asymptomatically—helped cost the world trillions of dollars and millions of lives. Whether one believes COVID-19 originated in a zoonotic host, a bat cave, a frozen food shipment, or a Wuhan lab’s dangerous “dual-use” research supporting undeclared bioweapons programs, the world needs answers from the Chinese Communist Party. These are answers Beijing won’t provide unless it faces a high price for refusing. For the good of public health and international security, the Biden administration and the Congress can unite in a coordinated, long-term response.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Research, Transparency, Public Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Dr. Asahngwa Constantine, Denis Foretia, Gobina Ronald, Wilfred Ngwa, Charlotte Bongfen, Odette Kibu, Nkengafac Fobellah
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nkafu Policy Institute
  • Abstract: In Cameroon the battle against COVID-19 is far from over as the disease still continue to claim many lives and aggravates the deepening poverty situation of Cameroonians. According to reports from the Ministry of Health (as from 8th of December, 2020), Cameroon has recorded 24,752 infected cases, 23,344 recoveries and 433 deaths. [1] The economic consequences of the disease remain preoccupying as many people have experienced a decline in their businesses. The government of Cameroon through the Prime Minister published a national response plan which aimed at combating the disease, highlighting preventive measures and effective management of confirmed positive cases. Some of these measures include the prohibition of mass gatherings above 50 persons, maintaining physical distancing, wearing of face mask in public places, frequent handwashing with soap or using hand sanitizers and isolation of infected persons. [2] These measures and others are currently being implemented since March, 2020. Although the government has been doing its best to bring this pandemic to an end, this has not been without challenges. One of the challenges is the decline of public trust in government’s policy decisions and institutions, which if not given sufficient attention may compromise all the efforts and resources already galvanize for this battle against COVID-19.[3] Drawing from published literature, we discuss the factors responsible for the decline of public trust, how the lack of trust can hamper interventions and control efforts and some suggestions how this challenge can be tackled to enhance effective interventions to combat COVID-19 in Cameroon.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Institutions, Public Sector, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Global Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Wilfred Ngwa, Nkengafac Fobellah, Dr. Asahngwa Constantine, Mbuwir Charlotte, Kibu Odette, Gobina Ronald, Denis Foretia
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nkafu Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (widely referred to as COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first reported in Wuhan (Hubei province) China in December 2019. By January 30, 2020, WHO Director General declared that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) [1]. The virus has since December 2019, spread to all the 7 continents of the world. The highest concentration of infected persons has shifted several times since mid-February 2020 from China to Iran, and then to Italy and Spain and is presently in the United States of America, India and Latin America and [3]. According to The Lancet, it is inevitable that Africa will be experiencing the next wave of infections [4]. Africa as of November 2nd, 2020, had registered more than 1.8 million cases and over 43 thousand deaths, thus contributing to about 3.9% of the global caseload and to about 3.6% of the global death roll [5].
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis, Global Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Ayako Obashi
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: In the East Asian context, previous studies showed that trade occurring through production networks remained relatively steady amidst an economic shock and recovered faster and stronger once the shock was over. Using finely disaggregated product-level monthly bilateral trade data, we examine whether network trade in the East Asian region has been robust and resilient in face of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as in normal times, by conducting a series of survival analyses. We find a new set of empirical evidence suggesting the robustness of East Asian network trade in normal times and its resilience even amidst the COVID-19 shock.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Production
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stathis Polyzos, Anestis Fotiadis, Aristedidis Samitas
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to produce forecasts for tourism flows and tourism revenue for ASEAN and East Asian countries after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. By implementing two different machine-learning methodologies (the Long Short Term Memory neural network and the Generalised Additive Model) and using different training data sets, we aim to forecast the recovery patterns for these data series for the first 12 months after the end of crisis. We thus produce a baseline forecast, based on the averages of our different models, as well as a worst- and best-case scenario. We show that recovery is asymmetric across the group of countries in the ASEAN and East Asian region and that recovery in tourism revenue is generally slower than in tourist arrivals. We show significant losses of approximately 48%, persistent after 12 months, for some countries, while others display increases of approximately 40% when compared to pre-crisis levels. Our work aims to quantify the projected drop in tourist arrivals and tourism revenue for ASEAN and East Asian countries over the coming months. The results of the proposed research can be used by policymakers as they determine recovery plans, where tourism will undoubtedly play a very important role.
  • Topic: Tourism, Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Donny Pasaribu, Deasy Pane, Yudi Suwarna
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: As people’s mobility determines the spread of COVID-19 virus, this paper scrutinises factors that drive their mobility responses during the pandemic. Utilising Google mobility data, labour force statistics and daily COVID-19 data, this study finds that mobility changes are induced by various heterogeneous behavioural responses across provinces in Indonesia. Variations in the pre-pandemic labour structure, people’s perception of health risks and local policy settings define the mobility changes. In addition, behavioural responses are larger in the early pandemic phase, indicating the importance of arrangements to manage the situation in the early period.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Mobility, Public Health, Pandemic, Job Creation, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jennifer Chan
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This research aims to explore the potential of domestic tourism as a means to revitalise the tourism industry from the perspectives of local residents and tourism players. A quantitative online survey focused on domestic travel behaviour, motivation, places of interest, travel preferences, and willingness to travel within Malaysia; it was answered by 219 Malaysians. Interview data were collected using structured, open-ended interview questions through emails to eight respondents from tourism associations, five from the hotel sector, and two from the travel and tour sector. Data collection was carried out from 10 January to 15 February 2021. The findings reveal that domestic tourism has the potential to revive the tourism industry. A high percentage of respondents indicated the desire to travel domestically and being motivated by attractive tour packages at discounted prices. COVID-19 has impacted tourist behaviour and attitudes towards travelling, and people prefer to travel domestically rather than overseas. Furthermore, tourism players acknowledged the potential to revive the tourism industry and business via domestic tourism. Despite this, declarations of health, safety issues, flight availability, travel restrictions, and quarantine durations are key barriers to stimulating domestic tourism and rebuilding the tourism industry.
  • Topic: Tourism, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: Wasim Ahmad, Rishman Jot Kaur Chahal, Shirin Rais
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on economic integration in the ASEAN-6 region. The study finds that the pandemic’s impact can be easily traced using stringency, bilateral exports, and tourist arrivals, indicating significant implications for the economic integration process. The firm-level analysis suggests that although the coronavirus outbreak’s uniformly impacted firms, the extent of the effect varies across ASEAN-6 nations. Large firms are strongly impacted by the pandemic. Overall, the findings of this study are relevant for policymakers and academia.
  • Topic: Tourism, Global Markets, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary, Han Phoumin, Ehsan Rasoulinezhad
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: One of the significant challenges small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face is their difficulty in accessing finance. One way to reduce the risk of lending to SMEs is through the credit guarantee scheme (CGS). In this paper, we assess the determining factors of the optimal credit guarantee ratio for the banking industry in four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, namely Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, by employing statistical techniques and econometric models. The empirical findings prove that the loan default ratio (nonperforming loan/loan, or NPL/L) is the optimal credit guarantee ratio’s main determining factor. Our empirical findings confirm that in the ASEAN region, to help SMEs survive in the emergency stage of COVID-19, the credit guarantee ratio needs to be increased. Gradually, when moving to the new normal stage, the ratio needs to be lessened. Our results show that the credit guarantee ratio should vary for different countries based on the macroeconomic climate and also for each bank or, in other words, for banks with similar financial soundness. Governments should give a higher guarantee ratio to sound banks, whilst less healthy banks should receive a lower guarantee ratio. The study also provides policy recommendations for establishing a regional credit guarantee scheme in ASEAN to promote regional economic cooperation at the SME level for greater economic integration.
  • Topic: Finance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Credit
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Xiaowen Fu, David A. Hensher, Nicole T. T. Chen, Junbiao Su
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study quantifies the effects introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic on air connectivity and passenger travel behaviour. Our analysis suggests that the pandemic has led to significant connectivity loss at all airports, especially at large hubs and tourism destinations. Low-cost carriers’ operations at these airports, whose main targets are price-sensitive, non-business travellers, have been significantly reduced, too. There is preliminary evidence that network carriers at hub airports played more important roles amid the pandemic, likely due to the benefits associated with their hub-and-spoke networks. Connectivity losses at the smallest airports tended to be temporary and limited. These airports had limited aviation services to start with and, thus, it was not too costly to maintain the minimum connectivity. Empirical results obtained from a passenger preference study indicate that traveller subgroups are impacted in different ways. When there is no online meeting option, nearly 80% of the respondents prefer, and are willing to pay for, pandemic control measures. These ‘pro-control’ passengers perceive such measures and the associated high costs/fares as valuable and necessary to lower the health-related risks during air travel. When there is an online meeting option, the share of such passengers decreases to 44.5%, with the remaining 55.5% exhibiting disutility for the increased price and time associated with pandemic control measures. The average willingness-to-pay for pandemic control measures decreases significantly, whereas the value of time saved at health checkpoints increases significantly. The aviation industry thus faces a ‘double-hit’ problem: operation costs will increase due to pandemic control measures, and the resultant inconvenience and extra time and costs further reduce travel demand. Unlike previous short pandemics, business travel is likely to suffer with an extended decline until the pandemic is fully controlled. These results call for financial and operational support for aviation services, especially at major airports and tourism destinations. Because these large airports are expected to be profitable post the pandemic, they may resort to low-cost finance from the capital market in the short term. Because the value of time saved at checkpoints is very high, it is more important for government agencies to make the pandemic control and health measures efficient and smooth. For operations such as vaccination records, stakeholders in different countries should cooperate to facilitate seamless control and pleasant air travel experiences.
  • Topic: Development, Financial Markets, Business , Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Travel
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Gyeong Lyeob Cho, Minsuk Kim, Yun Kyung Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the macroeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Computable General Equilibrium model. Due to a second wave and a subsequent delay in economic recovery, the pandemic could lead to a permanent shock in capital accumulation and productivity. This implies that the shock may not merely affect the short-term growth rate but also negatively impact the future economic growth path from its pre-pandemic trend. Through simulations, in the mild scenario, countries lose 0.10% to 0.31% of their future economic growth rates; in the severe scenario, they lose 0.21% to 0.69%.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Irlan Adiyatma Rum
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The travel and tourism sectors have become the most vulnerable sectors to the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that most tourist-destination countries will experience economic shocks due to the pandemic. This study analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shock and the implications of policies taken by the government to strengthen the travel and tourism sectors. As the largest travel and tourism economy in ASEAN, this study uses Indonesia as a case study. It uses a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model using a detailed national input–output table for the creative sectors. The study develops baseline scenarios (low and lower-middle recovery), general policy scenarios (moderate and highly effective support) and specific policy scenarios for the travel and tourism sectors. Through changes in export demand, the impact of the pandemic depends on the existing conditions and policy interventions. The pandemic causes the nominal gross domestic product at the national level to decline by an interval of [–1.99%, –2.97%] and for tourism and travel sectors by [–6.81%, –10.38%] depending on the recovery period. If the recovery is low (all annual inbound tourism expenditure is removed), the Indonesian macroeconomy will be worse than under the lower-middle recovery, given the same government intervention. Thus, effectiveness becomes an important factor for creating a better impact. Adding capital stimulus into the tourism sector helps to further reduce output decline in the travel and tourism sectors, but it is not enough to help the economy recover from the pandemic. The best policy strategy is to make sure that the mitigation plan will be implemented effectively.
  • Topic: Tourism, Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Travel
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Joshua Pollack, Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: The effective closure of North Korea’s borders to travel and commerce since the early 2020s in response to the COVID-19 pandemic makes it almost impossible for North Koreans to interact and exchange perspectives with the outside world. This situation is contrary to the interests of North Koreans and the international community alike. A new program of humanitarian aid will be needed to permit a safe reopening, and potentially also to address the human consequences of the protracted closure. Aid should not be made conditional upon other policy goals, such as nuclear and missile nonproliferation. Implicit linkages between these issues during the 1990s and 2000s increased Pyongyang’s suspicions about the purposes of aid without providing sufficient leverage to compel disarmament. Reopening the country will require a judgment by the North Korean leadership that it is safe to do so. First, Pyongyang must be confident that a vaccination campaign against COVID-19 would do more to prevent the spread of illness than to enable it. Toward this end, aid organizations should be prepared to demonstrate to North Korean officials how seriously they take the COVID-19 threat. The present closure is the third time since 2002 that North Korea has closed its borders in response to an epidemic threat. This approach reflects awareness of the vulnerability of the public in the aftermath of the crisis of the 1990s and the weakness of the country’s health system, which has facilities and trained personnel, but is persistently lacking in medicines and equipment. The replenishment of these goods will be needed to avoid future closures. To facilitate these efforts, policymakers should find ways to streamline the humanitarian exemptions processes included in sanctions regimes and create a stable banking mechanism to support the activities of aid organizations working inside the country.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Luka Glusac, Ajla Kuduzovic
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on societies and their institutions has led to a series of extraordinary responses by governments around the world. COVID-19 has affected all dimensions of the security sector, including armed forces, which have been deployed to assist civilian authorities in fighting the pandemic in a vast majority of countries. The objective of this briefing note is to map the substantive impact of COVID-19 on armed forces from two perspectives
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nele Achten
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This report outlines cyber incidents and response of national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in Western Balkan economies in Spring 2020, during the first months of COVID-19. Through surveys and feedback gained from national Western Balkan CERT teams, this report analyses specific challenges faced and provides insights on how transnational and private sector cooperation could further improve cyber incident response in the region. In a COVID-19 world, where many services have moved online at accelerated speed, there are exponentially more cyber threats to not only individuals and businesses, but also healthcare facilities, educational institutions, critical infrastructure and state organs. This report outlines how in the Western Balkan region, the largest vector of cyber threats during the early months of COVID-19 came from traditional phishing campaigns targeting and exploiting public health and safety concerns during the pandemic. Following survey conducted with Western Balkan national CERTs, the report categorizes activities and joint efforts of the CERTs during the outbreak of COVID-19 into two main categories: 1. Public awareness raising efforts and public security warnings; 2. Extended trainings and educational activities. The report concludes by emphasizing the need and interest for more regional and international cybersecurity co-operation in the Western Balkan region, which was confirmed by several national CERTs during a regional meeting held in preparation for the drafting of this report.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Luka Glusac, Ajla Kuduzovic
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: New technologies simply cannot generate the insight and trust gained through personal interactions with a complainant or a witness, which allows for richer and more nuanced information gathering.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as their lack of transparency worsens the public health crisis, the Supreme Leader and other officials have systematically gutted any civil society elements capable of organizing substantial opposition to such policies. Iran’s ongoing coronavirus epidemic has left the people with less reason than ever to trust the information and directives issued by their leaders. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch discussed the clergy’s role in aggravating this problem, but the state’s mistakes and deceptions have been legion as well. They include scandalous discrepancies between official reports after a period of denial that the virus had entered the country; a health system that was unprepared to deal with such a disease promptly and properly; and official resistance to implementing internationally recommended precautionary measures, such as canceling flights from China and quarantining the center of the outbreak. These decisions have sown widespread confusion about facts and fictions related to the virus, the most effective medically proven ways to control it, and the degree to which it is spreading throughout the country. As a result, an already restive population has become increasingly panicked about the future and angry at the state. Yet can the coronavirus actually bring down the regime? The harsh reality is that the state has left little space for opposition to organize around health issues, or any issues for that matter. Instead, it has sought to confuse the people and redirect their anger toward external enemies, even as its own policies contribute to the crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Health, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Nicole Froio
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
  • Abstract: As numbers of COVID-19 cases in Brazil steadily rise into the thousands, favela community leaders in vulnerable communities have raised concerns about the difficulties of complying with preventative measures in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas because of the lack of consistent water services. President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-science response to the global pandemic, which has included calling the virus a “little flu” and urging businesses to re-open despite World Health Organization advice, has worsened the situation for vulnerable communities in Brazil.
  • Topic: Health, Inequality, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Jorge E. Cuéllar
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
  • Abstract: In the age of COVID-19, anything other than ending deportations is a high-risk, potentially disastrous move.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Public Health, Asylum, Pandemic, Deportation
  • Political Geography: Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Sophie Harman
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London
  • Abstract: This video is the first in a series on global health security and pandemics, presented by Professor Sophie Harman (QMUL). In this episode, she will explore whether we should have seen the current global health crisis coming.
  • Topic: Infectious Diseases, Global Security, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sophie Harman
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London
  • Abstract: The second episode in the series on global health security and pandemics will focus on community involvement and responses to coronavirus. The episode is introduced by Professor Tim Bale and presented by Professor Sophie Harman.
  • Topic: Infectious Diseases, Global Security, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bilal Siddiqi, Maarten Voors, Johannes Haushofer, Oeindrila Dube, Darin Christensen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Developing countries are characterized by high rates of mortality and morbidity. A potential contributing factor is the low utilization of health systems, stemming from the low perceived quality of care delivered by health personnel. This factor may be especially critical during crises, when individuals choose whether to cooperate with response efforts and frontline health personnel. We experimentally examine efforts aimed at improving health worker performance in the context of the 2014–15 West African Ebola crisis. Roughly two years before the outbreak in Sierra Leone, we randomly assigned two accountability interventions to government-run health clinics — one focused on community monitoring and the other gave status awards to clinic staff. We find that over the medium run, prior to the Ebola crisis, both interventions led to improvements in utilization of clinics and patient satisfaction with the health system. In addition, child health outcomes improved substantially in the catchment areas of community monitoring clinics. During the crisis, the interventions also led to higher reported Ebola cases, as well as lower mortality from Ebola—particularly in areas with community monitoring clinics. We explore three potential mechanisms: the interventions (1) increased the likelihood that patients reported Ebola symptoms and sought care; (2) unintentionally increased Ebola incidence; or (3) improved surveillance efforts. We find evidence consistent with the first: by building trust and confidence in health workers, and improving the perceived quality of care provided by clinics prior to the outbreak, the interventions encouraged patients to report and receive treatment. Our results suggest that accountability interventions not only have the power to improve health systems during normal times, but can additionally make health systems resilient to crises that may emerge over the longer run.
  • Topic: Health, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy, Mortality, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: David Steven, Alex Evans
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to. The articles collected here look at what governments, other global actors and individuals must do to survive the crisis and navigate the new world beyond it.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Global Focus