With the ongoing uncertainty caused by the corona crisis, development organisations remain active in order to contribute to the international fight against the virus. Partos and its members believe that in the international fight against the corona virus, the focus should be on the most vulnerable.
Corona makes inequality mercilessly visible and reinforces it. International solidarity is therefore needed and in the interest of the entire world population: Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia rightly warned "If Covid-19 is not beaten in Africa it will return to haunt us all". The fight against HIV/Aids and malaria have shown that a global approach pays off. Not only is corona a crisis on top of existing crises for many low-income countries, it also threatens as a result, economic and credit crises for them.
Moreover, measures in some countries risk working against people and widening existing inequalities. We see countries where parliaments are suspended and space for free press, opposition and human rights defenders is limited. Discrimination is intensifying and women's and girls' rights are under pressure. Consider also, for example, marginalised and persecuted communities, communities, such as the LGBT community, denied access to proper healthcare.
Support to developing countries is needed precisely in this time of crisis and should be part of the emergency measures taken by this administration. Finally, António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, called on countries this week to contribute to an international emergency fund to deal with the corona crisis for good reason.
And especially in these times, a strong civil society is indispensable. They know how to reach the most vulnerable groups and keep governments on their toes. Dutch efforts to strengthen civil society organisations in developing countries are therefore to be commended.
The joint call for international solidarity coordinated by Hivos was released at the end of March (also available on this website). This call, co-signed by FMS, was supported by many organisations and initiatives. The joint commitment is clear: strengthen development cooperation, promote international solidarity and do not cut back on existing healthcare. To complement and support these messages, we call for:
- Be flexible in existing OS spending. Where existing activities cannot go ahead due to the corona crisis, adaptation of these programmes so that they contribute to addressing the corona crisis should be possible.
- Release 1% of announced emergency measures for international response to the corona crisis, helping developing countries cope with the corona crisis. Both from short-term support in developing countries, and in support of long-term consequences.
- Leave the current and planned OS budget untouched. Especially in these times of crisis, much-needed and scarce resources should not be cut. Therefore, exclude the development cooperation (ODA) budget from a downward revision as a result of the announced negative economic development.