With the entire humanity faced with a common mortal enemy, the covid-19 pandemic, the expectation was that the world would fight it as one. It turns out that things have not happened exactly that way. In the absence of a unified global platform to confront the virus, every nation seems to be fighting its own war. In consequence, the anti-Covid-19 campaign is only getting prolonged. That some countries have reached deals with research groups and drug companies developing the vaccine to have their products exclusively for their own populations is unfortunate. Terming it 'vaccinationalism,' the UN secretary-General Antonio Guterres has even warned against such trends. At the same time, he cautioned the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) that the world was facing its '1945 moment'. The recent surge in populism, hate-mongering and various other forms of divisive political narratives on the global arena does not bode well for human progress. It is seriously weakening the world community's common struggle against issues that affect all the peoples equally. Success in the fight against the pandemic, climate change ascribable to global warming and poverty and such other issues depends crucially on forging a common global platform for the purpose.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina at a recent virtual exchange with world leaders has pointed exactly to these negative trends that are destroying the spirit of multilateralism. Also, these are proving to be a threat to international peace, security and global development. In this situation, the world leaders who have not yet taken leave of their senses need to put their heads together and find ways to arrest these degenerative tendencies globally. Such an effort on the part of the world leaders had never been so critical as it is now. For it is not possible for a divided world to meet the challenge posed by the pandemic and return to normalcy. First and foremost, they need to make a common cause against the Covid-19. Unless that is done, a coordinated strategy to fight the pandemic would not be possible. The recent report that some global research establishments and pharmaceutical companies working to produce vaccines against the pandemic have made significant breakthroughs is heartening for all humanity. But once the vaccines pass the final test of their efficacy, the world community will be put to the real test of making those available to all pandemic-stricken people at every corner of the globe. For what is the use of developing an effective vaccine, if it cannot benefit those in need everywhere regardless of their colour, creed and economic conditions? Understandably, a big issue will be the cost of the anti-covid-19 jabs and make those affordable to the entire humanity.
As such, the rich nations have a big responsibility in this regard. They will have to overcome the nationalistic outlooks as demonstrated by some on vaccines. At this point, it would be important to realise that no nation and its people will be immune from the virus until and unless the entire world population is immune from it. On this score, they would be required to strengthen the already weakened multilateral agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be up to their tasks. They should be generously funded to procure adequate quantities of vaccines to supply those free of cost everywhere. Against this backdrop, the rich and the powerful nations have a huge stake in ensuring that vaccines know no borders.