The appeal of a few world leaders in favour of a global treaty to handle the challenge of future pandemics makes a lot of sense. These leaders have agreed that the world was almost caught unawares when the current Coronavirus pandemic struck first tentatively and later terribly.
These leaders — including British Prime Minister Mr. Boris Johnson, French leader Mr. Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Mrs. Angela Merkel — have felt that the world will have to be ready to offer an organised response in case another pandemic arrives and upsets the system beyond recognition.
Hence their appeal for a collective global response “not if but when” a pandemic strikes next.
Let us hope that other world leaders pay appropriate attention to this appeal and that it does not remain locked in a diplomatic word-play, as has happened in many issues such as dealing with climate-change or handling the challenge of hunger or oppression in a good number of countries around the globe or tackling terrorism. It is unfortunate that many such sensible appeals have fallen on deaf ears – obviously due to political or diplomatic exigencies.
Of course, there has always been this or that mechanism to address most issues. Yet, all those arrangements have been misused and abused more often than used appropriately for larger good. That is actually the tragedy of a confused world order.
One of the points to be genuinely worried about is the failure of the United Nations to fashion a collective and comprehensive global response to the challenges that confront the world from time to time. Even though it is brandished as a global organisation to further common interest and protect those from excesses of the powerful or brazen countries, the UN has only proved to be a pale shadow of its stated persona. That was the reason why world governments often sought to create parallel mechanisms to handle various issues — from climate to hunger to terror, and now pandemics.
Just as the appeal for a coordinated response to future pandemics came, another fervent appeal was made at the United Nations by India, urging the all-powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC) not to stay “unmoved” by the sufferings of Syrian people for well over a decade.
Making this point, Mr.T.S.Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative at the UN, said, in effect, that the the Syrian people, children and youth in particular, have not been seeing anything but violence and conflict for the past one decade. The UNSC can only ill-afford to stay unmoved by this plight of a section of global human population.
In fact, in a fairly large spread of global landscape, violence and conflict have been messing up with peace and harmony and basic human rights. despite a clear knowledge of all these realities, the United Nations has often failed to lead the process of fashioning of a collective and comprehensive response to situations of violence and conflict stretching over long periods.
At many places, violence and conflict have been imposed on the humanity by various outfits that believe in terrorism as a potent tool to achieve their respective — mostly evil — agendas. At least so far, the world body has not been able to fashion an appropriate collective response to the evil of terrorism.
The reason mainly is differing perception of various countries on most issues. Most such perceptions are guided and goaded by very narrowly defined interests of individual nations. On issues such as climate change regulations, for example, there should never have been any differences in perceptions of different countries. But pushed by their hidden political considerations, many nations have refused to join the global efforts, Paris Climate Accord being the latest example.
A similar fate must not confront the appeal of a few world leaders for a comprehensive and collective response to the challenge of future pandemics. It would be only unfortunate if such a fate befalls a truly good cause.