A strengthened multilateral system could protect us from threats like coronavirus, states Club de Madrid President

The President of Club de Madrid and former President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, wrote an op-ed piece at CGTN on China’s response to the coronavirus and expressed his view that a strengthened multilateral system could help avert other epidemics. 

“At the global level, the international community has to revisit the task of improving the system of protection against infectious diseases”, writes the President of Club de Madrid in the article. 

Danilo Türk considers the measures undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) “responsible” and celebrates the international scientific cooperation to research the virus and curb the outbreak. 

Türk recalls a report by the UN High Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, which called attention to “the overall deterioration of the global health system” and considered that back then the system was “ill-equipped to protect the world against existing and emerging infectious diseases”.

In the report then Secretary-General Kofi Anan, who was also a Club de Madrid Member, wrote: “We need to pay much closer attention to biological security”, and considered the global community’s role in handling HIV/AIDS had been “shockingly late and shamefully ill-resourced”. 

In consequence, Danilo Türk calls on avoiding past mistakes by strengthening multilateralism in ways that could help us fight viral threats in a more coordinated manner.

 “Now is a good time to remind the world leaders of the half-finished debates of the past two decades and of the need to strengthen the international cooperation for adequate protection against the global spreading of infectious diseases”, he writes. 

Kevin Rudd asks the world to refrain from racist reactions

The former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, wrote a piece at Project Syndicate on the Chinese government’s response to the crisis sparked by the coronavirus. 

Rudd asks for the worldwide world to “express solidarity with the long-suffering Chinese people” and observes racism “implicit (and sometimes explicit)” in the many responses to Chinese people coming from all over the world. This leads him to question “how far we have really come as a human family”, asking people to restrain from falling into xenophobic comments.

In a video address, the former Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, states that the WHO and the global community will continue to bring forth humanitarian assistance and thus support the “huge efforts” undertaken by China. “Working together we can write a new chapter in history”, says Ban.

Zlatko Lagumdzija, the former Prime Minister of Bosnia, wrote in an op-ed piece at CGTN that China is “ the first line of global defense of humanity under the grim shadow of the novel pandemic” 

“This is not the first but it can be one of the last viruses threatening us if we do not act together. A fight against viruses like this is our common threat but it is also an opportunity to collectively come together”, Lagumdzija adds. 

The former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, lauded the WHO’s decision to declare the coronavirus an international public health emergency, thus supporting “enhanced international coordination & evidence-based action to curb the spread of the virus”.