The Covid-19 crisis, while it has affected all international affairs over the past 18 months, has provided opportunities and new technologies to expand the power of governments, of course, for both democratic and authoritarian governments.
At least 15 years ago, the process of liberal democracy and open societies were retreating, and the covid-19 crisis exacerbated this trend.
Some people, especially the youth, have a strong desire to have strong leaders to protect their rights. We are witnessing extremism and decreased trust in government institutions, especially political parties and parliaments.
Violators of democracy become powerful!!
In 2012, China, especially under the leadership of Xi- Jinping, has aced both domestically and globally to push back liberal democratic norms. Russia has also actively promoted its traditional socially conservative values.
Many less developed and underdeveloped countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan, have received billions of dollars in funding over the past few decades to strengthen democracy. Still, the results have not been satisfactory, and such efforts become unmotived and pessimistic.
As mentioned in the keypoint part of the article, Covid-19 has caused many issues and problems in developed and less developed societies.
In the continuation of this article, in addition to addressing the issue of Covid-19 and its role in exacerbating the international crisis, we want to take a deeper look at other factors and existing problems at the international level.
DEMOCRACY AND COVID-19
Since March 2020, virtually all countries globally have been confronted with the challenge of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. This implies taking measures to address a significant health emergency while delivering good democratic governance.
Given the similarities of the challenges encountered by Council of Europe member states, in April 2020, the Bureau of the CDDG took the initiative of circling a questionnaire on Covid-19 and democratic governance through the Rapid Response Service.
The committee’s mechanism to collect information and share experience in democracy and governance, the CDDG, was well-placed to facilitate sharing information, case studies, and practical solutions amongst member states to support their efforts in responding to the pandemic.
The questionnaire covered the following aspects:
- Multilevel governance
- The frontline role of local authorities
- Cross-boarder cooperation
- Civil participation
- Provision of essential services
- Other participant developments
A webpage on democratic governance and Covid-19 was created to share the information provided by member states and to reflect the relevant activities carried out by the centre of expertise for excellent management.
The first deadline for replying to the questionnaire was set at 5 May 2020, and countries were encouraged to submit any additional information or update at a later date.
COVID-19 AND GLOBAL DECLINE IN DEMOCRACY
The pandemic has exacerbated the 15-year decline in global democracy that Freedom House has documented in freedom in the world, its seminal evaluation of political rights and civil liberties of the 79 countries and territories that experienced a net decline in space in 2020, 35 of these declines or nearly 45 per cent were related to the pandemic. This year’s unequal and politicized spread of new variants threatens to prolong the health crisis while further damaging global democracy.
Governments worldwide enforced lockdown measures with violence, criminalized forms of free speech, and designed far-reaching states of emergency that sidestepped due process protections and increased executive powers.
DISCRIMINTION & COVID-19
The pandemic hit marginalized populations hard, with structural inequality causing disproportionate spread.
Covid-19 intensified the crisis of racism. It marginalized racial and religious groups such as blacks and Muslims.
Associating Covid-19 with any group of people or ethnicity is wrong and dangerous. Violence, bullying, and Extremists must stop the harassment.
During this public health emergency, discrimination has been exacerbated, especially against the Blacks and Muslims; even when vaccinated against Covid-19, there was blatant discrimination and inequality between Blacks and Whites and Muslim people.
STRUCTURED RACISM AND COVID-19
A century later, the tension between racist and antiracist explanations for racial disparities in health outcomes persists today. Covid-19 is a prime illustration. Covid-19 infection and death rates disproportionately affect communities of colour, resulting in a death rate at least double that of White and Asian-Americans.
Specifically, Black Americans have 1.4 times higher infection rates, 3.7 higher death rates from Covid-19 than White Americans.
FINANCIAL CRISIS AND COVID-19
The 2008 financial crisis was the worst economic disaster in the countries. The crisis led to the Great Recession, where housing prices dropped during the Great Depression.
The current global financial crisis in 2008 also had a significant impact on the Chinese economy as a second superior economy. This crisis also affected exports, foreign exchange reserves and structural adjustments.
But with the onset of Covid-19, the financial crisis in the countries intensified.
COVID-19 & FINANCIAL CRISIS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
The pandemic continued to hit global economies adversely.
Covid-19 has affected 220 territories, regions, and countries and resulted in more than 174,116 million infections and deaths in 2021; the pandemic has caused a severe crisis of healthcare facilities and economic challenges worldwide.
The economic consequences of Covid-19 have contributed to a sharp rise in defaults of corporate and household debt that is eroding the asset quality of banks across OECD countries.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 in late 2019, this situation worsened and even brought China’s economic crisis to its knees.
As the world’s second-largest economy and imposed high costs on the country. Due to the origin of the Corona outbreak in this country, many countries cut off their financial and trade exchanges with this country, and this country suffered from a dire economic situation.
COVID-19 AND DEMOCRACY IN UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Despite spending and receiving billions of dollars to strengthen democracy in less developed countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the results were unsatisfactory and increased public distrust of government leaders.
This situation was similar at the end of 2019, with the outbreak of Covid-19, and this factor of people’s distrust of their government caused the virus to lengthen and rise further.
The primary lesson learnt from this experience is that solid and effective multilevel governance is essential to prevent, identify and manage emergencies, including pandemics; resilience, flexibility, capacity, and coordination are instrumental to good management and creating democracy.
The response to Covid-19 is also a reminder that openness and transparency are essential components of democratic governance.
The success of the response dramatically depends on the active participation of all across society.
The long, fallacious history of attributing racial disparities in public health outcomes to biological or poor decision–making persist in contemporary conversations about the Covid-19 pandemic in the European countries and America.