Five world leaders: No time for geopolitical turf battles

Apr 03, 2020

On the 31st of March 2020 the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, alongside presidents Lenín Moreno Garcés of Ecuador, Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, Halimah Yacob of Singapore and King Abdullah II of Jordan wrote an article calling for enhanced cooperation and solidarity between nations to combat the global dimension of the COVID-19 crisis. The article can also be accessed via the link HERE.

Five world leaders: No time for geopolitical turf battles

We need a global alliance to fight the pandemic



The writer is the president of Germany. King Abdullah II of Jordan 

and presidents Halimah Yacob of Singapore, Sahle-Work Zewde of

Ethiopia and Lenín Moreno Garcés of Ecuador co-wrote this



Our nations, societies, and economies are slowing down, almost

grinding to a halt in the face of a global, external threat that

transcends borders, ethnicities, and creeds. Public life has come to a

virtual standstill. But these unprecedented measures of social

distancing will be hard to sustain over a long period of time.

Nations are turning inward as they try to cope with the coronavirus

pandemic, closing borders and imposing drastic executive measures

in a retreat that risks leaving every country fending for itself.

However, we can contain and counter Covid-19 more effectively by

knocking down the barriers that hinder knowledge exchange and



Crises like these tend to bring out both the best and the worst in

people. It is our responsibility as leaders to encourage the former

and contain the latter. Our countries are at varying stages of the

crisis but we all see and admire the strong spirit of solidarity and

the many people who are passionately trying to save lives or keep

indispensable services up and running. They give us hope and offer

inspiration that our societies may not only weather this crisis but

also grow stronger and more connected.


Similarly, the most convincing way to address the global dimension

of this crisis is through enhanced co-operation and solidarity. There

is a central lesson to be learnt from human experience: nearly all

plagues that took their toll on humankind — tuberculosis, smallpox,

Ebola, Aids — have been defeated by modern medicine providing

therapies and vaccines. Shared knowledge and accelerated research

driven by a global network of scientists will also provide the

ultimate answer to our current predicament.

This is a global crisis. Delay in action means death. We all face the

same enemy and we stand to gain by bringing the full force of

humanity together to fight it. There cannot be victory over the virus

in one, or some, countries alone. We all have something to

contribute regardless of the size of our economies or populations. A

global solution is in everybody’s self-interest.


We welcome the commitment of the G20 leaders to do whatever it

takes to address the crisis. We fully support the UN Secretary

General’s global humanitarian appeal. But no single global entity

covers the medical, economic, and political elements required to

produce a vaccine for all who need it. It is our firm conviction that

we must assemble a truly global alliance to mobilise human

ingenuity and solidarity.


Building on the work of the World Health Organization, we call

upon the World Bank Group, the IMF, International Red Cross and

Red Crescent Movement, the international vaccine alliances,

philanthropic foundations, scientists and private-sector

pharmaceutical companies to join forces.


This new global alliance should commit to four key objectives. First,

we must accelerate research and development of treatments and

vaccines through open and transparent science and boosted

funding. Second, we should assure rapid production, procurement

and fair and equitable distribution of testing kits and critical

medical equipment for all. Third, let’s rapidly scale-up production

and assure the fair and equitable distribution of future therapies

and vaccines to all corners of the world, including vulnerable

populations such as refugees. Fourth, we must articulate the

immense benefits of a co-ordinated, co-operative global response to

the crisis, focusing on the provision of an eventual treatment and a

vaccine as an exemplary “global public good”.


We recognise that such a multi-stakeholder alliance will not be easy

to construct or manage. But we believe that it is worth the effort. It

would tap into the huge reservoir of people’s hopes and better

instincts. This is not the time for geopolitical turf battles.


We realise that our societies will not be the same after the crisis and

the world we live in will also be different. But we defy all those who

pretend to know already today that it will be a poorer, colder world

with people and nations keeping their distance from each other.

Our decisions over the course of the coming weeks and months will

determine what the world will look like tomorrow.


\Internationalising the development, manufacture and distribution

of treatments and vaccines will not only deliver the antidote to the

virus itself, but also to the deepening of political faultlines that has

taken place since its outbreak. This pandemic will not spare any

country, no matter how advanced its economy, capabilities, or

technology. Before this virus, we are all equal and must work

together to beat it. We are confident that if we pool our knowledge

and our efforts we can and will be saved by human ingenuity. Let’s

accomplish this in a spirit of solidarity, caring for everyone, be they

poor or rich, old or young, woman or man. It will save lives. It will

bring out the best in all of us. And it will make tomorrow’s world a

better place.

The post about “Five world leaders: No time for geopolitical turf battles" first appeared on the Financial Times website.



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