Greetings and salutations,
by | Rushdi Abdul Rahim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, I am writing this from home, adhering to the restrictive movement control – though relaxed – that has been enforced since March 2020. The COVID19 has been a major disruptive force, disrupting businesses, science and engineering research and education. At present, international travel is curtailed and in-person physical collaborations are being put on pause and is uncertain in the near future. International collaborations are now faced with new challenges and opportunities.
No country can do it alone. More than ever, governments must cooperate to revitalise economies, expand public investment, boost trade, and ensureAntónio Guterres
targeted support for the people and communities most affected by the disease or more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts…
Secretary General, United Nations
Many of these collaborations have been hard hit by health and safety concerns, shutdowns, and unreliable internet infrastructure. However, there are others that have achieved new levels of productivity, taking advantage of technology, moving forward the collaborations through data sharing and dissemination of results.
As we imagine details of what a post-COVID19 world will look like, we know that quality international collaborations will be fundamental for dealing with existing and emerging global challenges, as well as addressing the needs of respective countries. The test will be the balancing act of meeting global challenges while still aligning with national interests and needs.
However, in uncertain times such as these, how can we plan for an effective international collaboration in a post pandemic world? This will depend on the goals, objectives and strategies as well as the value we define out of these collaborations. Many attempts have been made to measure
both the quantitative and qualitative impacts of such endeavour.
As mentioned in the previous edition of this magazine, organisations – both public or private – need to take stock of the impact of the pandemic on their operation and steps to strengthen partnerships in the post-pandemic world. As organisations go through the disruption, travel restrictions and lockdowns – they are forced into making operational changes. In many cases, parts of this shift will become the ‘new normal’ in the post-pandemic world. The disruptions will also heighten gaps in organisation’s international partnerships function.
At MIGHT, we are a firm believer of benefits and advantages of international collaboration and that the pandemic offers opportunities to strengthen some of the cooperation even though we are still evaluating the impacts of COVID19 on these partnerships, especially in research and education. We continue to advocate and encourage efforts to enable more robust, resilient, and sustainable collaborations. The documenting and sharing of lessons learned will from these initiatives will strengthen future efforts. Some of the fruits of these collaborations are presented in the following pages of this edition.
It goes without saying that the future of development cooperation will be significantly impacted by the current pandemic crisis. There will be a new narrative for international collaboration, particularly with budgets coming under increasing pressure due to the economic stress. Under these circumstances, will international collaboration be increasingly multi-directional and universal? Will these developments herald a new form of cooperation or do they further reinforce of existing models and practices? Will
countries be more insular and withdraw themselves from international collaboration or multi-lateral organisations? We are already seeing this with United States of America’s decision on contributions to World Health Organisations (WHO) as well as its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Is this a blip or part of a larger trend? In one of the scenarios sessions I was involved in, we discussed about a multi-track world.
António Guterres aptly titled his address in March this year. “COVID19: We will come through this together.” In it, he mentioned that “No country can do it alone. More than ever, governments must cooperate to revitalise economies, expand public investment, boost trade, and ensure targeted support for the people and communities most affected by the disease or more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts.”
As we are faced with the challenges brought about by the
pandemic, only by working together we will get through this continue to practice #physicaldistancing and adhere to the necessary standard operating procedures (SOP) being outlined by the Health Authorities. #StaySafe.