‘Millions facing starvation’ – Global political and business leaders on the economic impact of COVID-19

starving child

Christopher Alessi Digital Editor, World Economic Forum Alice Hazelton Programme Lead, Science and Society, World Economic Forum

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Christopher Alessi, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum & Alice Hazelton, Programme Lead, Science and Society, World Economic Forum


“Unless we open up our economy, we have millions facing starvation.”

That was the straightforward assessment of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the impact of COVID-19 during a virtual meeting of the Forum’s COVID Action Platform on 20 May.

Khan explained: “In Pakistan, we have 25 million workers who are either [on] daily wages or get paid weekly or are self-employed. When we locked down, like the whole of the world, to stop the spread of the virus, all these people became unemployed. When we’re talking about 25 million workers, you’re talking about 25 million families and it has affected almost 120-150 million people…unless the men and women work, they cannot feed their families.”

Launched in March, the Forum’s platform aims to convene leaders from governments and the business community for collective action to protect people’s livelihoods, facilitate business continuity and mobilize support for a global response to COVID-19. To date, more than 1,500 people from more than 1,000 businesses and organizations have joined the platform.

To find the latest updates on the Platform, check out our recently-launched highlights blog.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

In addition to Khan, participants on this week’s webinar included: Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands; Werner Baumann, Chief Executive Officer, Bayer AG, Germany; and Meenakshi Gupta, Co-founder, Goonj, India.

Here are some key quotes from the session:

“Debt relief is the key issue…if the weakest link in the chain is not supported effectively, we will all be damaged.”

— Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands

“The response has to be global. There has to be a way of picking up countries that are struggling right now, especially in the developing world.”

—Imran Khan, Prime Minister, Pakistan

“When no vaccine is available, the name of the game is testing, testing, testing…[and] as we learn more about the virus, we are more and more concerned about how dangerous it really is.”

—Werner Baumann, CEO, Bayer

“In the past, India’s informal economy has been its strength – but in a lockdown situation where daily wages aren’t possible, it leaves many with no choice.”

—Meenakshi Gupta, Co-founder, Goonj

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

The rise of Generation Restoration and youth ecopreneurship

5 myths about face masks under the microscope

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

UN chief welcomes establishment of inclusive government in Central African Republic

EU plans to exploit the Mediterranean Sea and the wealth beneath it

This new programme could hold the key to solving global health challenges

Commission welcomes entry into force of EU4Health programme

Drought in Europe: Member States agree on support measures proposed by the Commission

Turkey remains numb while its economy is expected to shrink further due to a cocktail of EU and US sanctions

Protecting migratory species in a rapidly changing world

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

Why law enforcement and businesses need to join forces to fight global cybercrime

UK keeps its Brexit plan secret or there is no strategy at all whatsoever?

Electronics can trigger a more circular, sustainable world – here’s how

COVID-19 vaccines: Parliament supports speedy authorisation of safe vaccines

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

EU’s Mogherini visits Turkey “to step up engagement” and highlight interests

Greenery: the miracle cure for urban living

Six months after the Beirut port explosion: reflections from a first responder

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

A 10-step plan to save our seas

Stop wars disguised as peace missions

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

Ukraine: EU report notes continued implementation of the reform agenda though challenges remain

This cheap, 700-year old solution could change billions of lives

The new crisis is already creeping into the financial system

‘Rare but devastating’ tsunamis underscore need for better preparation, UN chief urges on World Day

How Gen Z and Millennials can learn to love manufacturing jobs for real

Connect 4 Impact – a virtual journey around the globe WSA Global Congress 2021 – March 22-24

Mandela, ‘true symbol of human greatness’, celebrated on centenary of his birth

EU Budgets: Europe hoping for Xmas gifts

Europeans show record support for the euro

Roma integration: fight social exclusion, poverty and anti-gypsyism, MEPs demand

Why collaboration will be key to creating the workforce of the future

How young people are turning the tide against corruption

Food safety: New rules to boost consumer trust approved by MEPs

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

These entrepreneurs are turning discarded fishing nets into surfboards and swimwear

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

Teenagers’ career expectations narrowing to limited range of jobs, OECD PISA report finds

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

OECD will follow Canadian proceedings addressing allegations of political interference in foreign bribery prosecution

Milk, fruits and vegetables distributed to schoolchildren thanks to EU programme

Laws must protect, ‘not reject’ says UNAIDS chief on Zero Discrimination Day

UN condemns deadly simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in Mali

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

More effort needed to improve equity in education

The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

Disillusioned young people – France thinks it has a solution

More Germans are swapping planes for trains because of climate worries

HIV in sexual and reproductive health and rights of the ageing population

Here’s how community lending could help refugees find their feet

MEPs react to breaches of human rights in Moldova, Burundi and Somalia

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s