In 2020, the way we define “insecurity” has drastically changed. Insecurity can now also be invisible and all around us, in the shape of a virus that disrupts people’s lives, upends the economy, subverts the core functions of national governments and jeopardises the foundations of international cooperation. At the same time, the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic has not made traditional security challenges disappear, especially in and around Asia.
Having been on the increase in most parts of the world for some time, economic and social inequality have now become more acute across the European Union as well, in the wake of two severe crises: the global economic and financial crisis of 2008 and the Covid-19 pandemic, both of which struck the region within the course of little more than a decade. Will rising inequality trigger a new wave of protests, social radicalisation and political instability? It is likely to do so, but unlikely to be accompanied by traumatic effects and political regime changes.
We enter 2021 with stark reminders of how a pandemic can wreck a global economy and destabilize nations. After almost twenty years of steady poverty reduction through the Global Goals, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) sent more than 100 million people back to extreme poverty, and simultaneously collapsed oil markets, the airlines, and other industries.
The MED Report 2020, Navigating the Pandemic, provides analyses, policy recommendations and a vast array of data and infographics to stimulate discussion and inspire innovative ideas during the 6th edition of Rome MED Dialogues.
The Mediterranean region has faced a significant number of challenges that have stemmed from turbulent events taking place on its Southern shores: conflicts and instability, the migration crisis, disruptions of regional value chains, souring regional relations, and foreign power interferences that have severely affected the region. The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the Southern Mediterranean, but the health crisis had ambiguous effects on the underlying economic, social, and political trends of the region.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not only a health challenge. In the MENA region, against the backdrop of protracted conflicts, instability, and an overall deterioration in socio-economic conditions, the coronavirus crisis adds another layer of vulnerability and has already had long-lasting repercussions on human security across the region.
The Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as many countries in the MENA region remain engulfed in vicious internal conflicts or must cope with structural socio-economic distress and popular dissent. In many respects, such a context and many of its problems resemble those that formed the backdrop for the Arab Spring in 2011.
Multilateral cooperation was being put to the test by growing divisions and confrontation well before the Covid-19 crisis. With the pandemic taking a heavy toll on human life, triggering a deep world recession and accelerating global trends, redoubling multilateral efforts is even more crucial today, in many fields: from global health to climate change, from SDGs to digital transformation. The G20 is the most important multilateral forum and its action needs to be given new life to provide effective responses.
Rome MED – Mediterranean Dialogues’s aim is to be an intermediary for intraregional dialogue, ensuring a high interaction and exchange of views among its participants. In this context, this by-invitation-only Forum, organized by ISPI, with the knowledge partnership of McKinsey & Company, aims to bring together a restricted group of top business and institutional representatives, from all over the Mediterranean region, in order to analyze and discuss specific themes and challenges related to infrastructure.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire world to adjust to a “new” China. Not only did Beijing rely on more aggressive tools to conduct diplomacy, but the post-electoral U.S. strategy towards the Dragon has also promised to match this level of assertiveness in the years to come, thus sanctioning the continuation of the bilateral competition.