Most of us are used to socializing. We like to hang out with our friends, go to some events, and travel to different cities. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it wasn’t the case for 2020. With lockdowns and travel restrictions, not only has movement been difficult but countries have also encountered economic hardships. Even if we could somehow adapt to “the new normal”, many governments will still struggle to keep the economy stable. Every country has different needs, but it is evident that there has to be cooperation between countries to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19.
Yet, when Pew Research Centre investigated people’s desire for international cooperation globally, the percentage of people who think their countries should cooperate with other countries has dropped by 24% in 2020 because of Covid-19.
When it comes to health issues,
people don’t generally compromise
Ilgın Özdemir, Delegate of South Korea, Political Committee
To understand why, we interviewed Ilgın Özdemir, the delegate of South Korea in the Political Committee, about this topic. She thinks that “When it comes to health issues, people don’t generally compromise,” explaining that the “notion of running out of health supplies is frightening as it might determine the outcomes that a nation might suffer from.” As a result, most countries have prioritized their own citizens. Özdemir suggested that an example would be member states in the European Union that provided little assistance to Italy “in terms of [supplying] respiratory devices” because they wanted to save these devices for their own citizens.
International cooperation during the pandemic is important, and resource-sharing is one of the most apparent reasons. For instance, while a nation has a comparative advantage (producing a good more efficiently) at producing masks, another nation may produce respiratory devices more efficiently. If both countries are willing to trade the excess medical supplies with each other, both will benefit from this exchange. On both the giving and receiving ends, countries reap the economic and humanitarian benefits of this cooperation, helping the economy while ensuring that their citizens have access to the necessary medical supplies.
Every country has its own challenges to overcome, but not all can manage to independently cope with them. Keeping the cooperation among countries can help remediate the adverse effects of global issues on individual nations. Of course, ensuring its own citizens’ wellbeing is reasonably a country’s top priority, but cooperation among countries is critical, especially in times of crisis.
Source of both graphs: Bell, James, et al. “Views on International Cooperation in 14 Countries.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, Pew Research Center, 21 Sept. 2020, www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/09/21/views-on-international-cooperation/.
Reporter: Ege Özemek
Text Editor: Ping Tsai
Artwork: Vittoria Ginevri
Layout: Selim Alp Maltepe