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Key to the challenges of 2022 COVID

A year after people were anxious to return to “normal,” it is now clear that COVID-19 will not make this possible. Now in its third year, the pandemic has had a profound impact on individuals, communities, countries and international cooperation, creating four difficult challenges in 2022. Rebuilding trust is important to confront them all.

The first challenge is that people’s relationships with work have changed. In some countries, blockades, the death of loved ones, and the general uncertainties of pandemics are driving and accelerating reconsideration. From July to October 2021, more than 4 million turnovers occur each month in the United States.

Many young Chinese opt out of long working hours, make the least effort, and participate in the “liar” movement, aiming only for what is absolutely essential to survive. Pandemics are deepening the gap between those who can and cannot work from home.

By 2022, people need to trust that returning to work really improves their lives. Reaching that point requires action by both governments and businesses. Investing to improve the educational turmoil caused by COVID-19 is very important. As a result of the pandemic, about 1.6 billion students in 180 countries have been out of school. Establishing programs to help students catch up and acquiring the skills and training needed for the economy of the 21st century will help them get a better job.

The government cannot do this alone, but at least it can set standards for education and training. You can also create or enhance incentives for companies to invest in the workforce by demanding appropriate wages and working conditions. On their part, employers need to reassess their workplaces, show confidence in their employees, invest in professional development and adapt to new work patterns.

The second challenge in 2022 is to stop the global trend towards authoritarianism. According to Freedom House, pandemics are weakening checks and balances on government power in at least 80 countries, both rich and poor. Government surveillance, police atrocities, and detention have increased, threatening or reducing free media and wording in many countries. Vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and immigrants suffer from disproportion.

Political corruption is also active. In Mauritania, Freedom House reports that the ruling minister has abused COVID-19 funds. In 2020, the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet resigned. In the United Kingdom, Conservative members and supporters have been given special “fast track” access to bid on contracts to supply personal protective equipment.

Elections have been postponed or canceled, and the results of accreditation have been questioned in dozens of countries around the world. In 2022, citizens will need to hold leaders accountable and find ways to rebuild institutions and public confidence. In some countries this is already happening and reflects how well the government is doing five things. Predict change and protect citizens. Use power and public resources ethically. Talk to their citizens and explain their decisions to them. And improve the living conditions of everyone.

The third challenge the world faces in 2022 is another pandemic. It’s easy to think that COVID-19 outperforms all other public health emergencies in our lifetime, but our current focus is on other threats from infectious diseases. Don’t be blind. Earlier this month, for example, the UK’s Supreme Veterinary Officer warned that the “amazing level” of bird flu “has a tremendous impact on humans, animals, and trade.”

In 2021, the world was unable to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and treatments fairly or efficiently. The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility was created to ensure immunity for all. This includes mutations in the virus and its spread. But instead, wealthy governments first competed to secure access to vaccines for their citizens.

Trust and cooperation between governments is not an impossible ideal. The key is to design the implementation of rules, institutions and policies in a way that guarantees the state that everyone is (almost) compliant. A serious flaw at the heart of COVID-19’s response was the lack of transparency about how much the government is paying for vaccine doses and who they are paying for. In 2022, the world needs to urgently redesign and improve its global arrangements for vaccine research, distribution and financing to ensure the minimum confidence needed to enable international cooperation. ..

Finally, COVID-19 is transforming the 2022 Economic Rulebook. Economic nationalism is accelerating and rising due to the experience of countries seeking equipment, treatments and vaccines. In addition to this, there is a desire to achieve the net zero emission target, resulting in a surge in industrial policy, strengthening of protected trade measures, and skepticism against foreign investors against the backdrop of tightening monetary policy and rising government debt. May occur.

These trends are heightened by geopolitical alliances and competition and are spilling over into economic transactions. India and Russia have recently strengthened their cooperation by signing 28 agreements in areas ranging from military cooperation to trade. And now, the European Union has voluntarily adopted the term “open strategic autonomy” in defense and military planning to formulate a new approach to trade. Taiwan is a good example of how security concerns are obscured by economic goals. Its sovereignty is tied to the competition to manage the highly sought after high quality semiconductors it produces.

The challenge for the global economy in 2022 is calm. However, even during the height of the Cold War, basic international agreements and mutual restraint systems were possible, thanks to the negotiations and arrangements of patients who gave guarantees to both sides. Trust is not a panacea for growing international tensions, but a small amount of trust, supported by a widely trusted institution, is essential to curbing that tension.

The pandemic has changed so much that it will not return to the status quo after COVID-19. Next year’s challenge is to move forward by redesigning and rethinking rules and institutions with the goal of reestablishing confidence in the areas of work, politics, public health and economic policy.


Nuger Woods
Dean of the Bravatnik School of Government at Oxford University.


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