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Global public health security calls for stronger cooperation

Author  :  LING SHENGLI     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-07-15

As COVID-19 continues to spread, serious challenges have been posed for global public health security. While chairing the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 on June 17 in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that “China will work with Africa to uphold the UN-centered global governance system and support the World Health Organization in making a greater contribution to the global COVID-19 response.” For infectious diseases like COVID-19, it is necessary to strengthen governance of global public health security. The pandemic has no borders, and faced with this severe common crisis of human society, countries need to work together in battling against it.

In dealing with the pandemic, the WHO played a good role in organizing and coordinating related affairs, which has been widely accepted by the international community. As the pandemic spreads, other international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization should also play an active role. The Universal Postal Union and the International Air Transport Association have called on the governments of every country to provide fast-track permits to allow freight companies to take over passenger services transferred from major hub areas and to ensure the normal operation of the supply chain of related medical materials and the smooth transportation of goods. 

In order to strengthen the governance of global public health security, communication, and cooperation in political, economic, science and technology, information, and other sectors need to be strengthened. In addition, various governance mechanisms need to be improved.

First, a political consensus is the basis for conducting international cooperation. Under the guidance of the UN, the UN and its relevant organizations have adopted a common resolution about battling COVID-19, which calls for stronger cooperation in such fields as medicine, information and economics among all countries. Compared with other fields, cooperation in global public health security is not a zero-sum game, rather profoundly serving the common interest. No country should detach itself from it. 

The second approach to improving international cooperation is to emphasize global macroeconomic coordination. While dealing well with the pandemic, the possibility of economic development capability hit hard by serious economic damages should be avoided, and living difficulties and social crises should be reduced. Considering the impact of the public health security problem on the economy, countries should coordinate macro policies in response to prevent the world economy from falling into recession and to reduce the harm incurred by trade protectionism. In addition, effective fiscal and monetary policies should be implemented to maintain the stability of the global financial market. It is also necessary to maintain the stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain and to ensure the timely supply of medical materials.

The third is to strengthen public health cooperation in a systematic way. The advantages of the internet can serve information and experience sharing as well as scientific research concerning the virus. Public health issues should be detected as early as possible and early prevention and control measures should be adopted. Information about the virus should be reported to other countries and such international organizations as the WHO. To overcome the virus as soon as possible, countries should speed up cooperation on drug and vaccine research and development. 

Last, to effectively block the spread of infectious diseases, it is necessary to carry out cross-border joint prevention and control to lower the risk of spreading the virus through the cross-border movement of people. In this regard, countries should strengthen cooperation in port management, medical material production and disease risk control.


This article was edited and translated from Guangming Daily. Ling Shengli is director of the International Security Study Centre at China Foreign Affairs University.


(Edited and translated by BAI LE)

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