The international system is facing one of the most difficult and decisive years of the last decade.
The Woman Post | Bryan Andres Murcia Molina
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Economic, political, and social changes represent a challenge for the international community and its intention to preserve the world order, which cries out for efficient, effective, and timely global action.
2021 will be remembered as the year of answers after an era of uncertainty and confusion. The way in which it is decided to handle the main global problems will determine the global balance in all its aspects. For this reason, experts have highlighted the importance of boosting cooperation as the main reaction tool, which has led to the establishment of a global agenda that aims to be the roadmap for global recovery.
The global agenda is a summary of the international situation since it identifies the main topics of global conversation. It is made up of economic, social, political, and health issues, which can be summarized in the following 9 topics.
1. Pandemic Management
The coronavirus is the main point of global disruption. With more than two million deaths, the pandemic has had incalculable consequences on all sectors of society. However, one of the biggest problems involves the distribution of vaccines. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, expressed his concern about inequality, which prevents immunization in poor or developing countries.
Nearly 80% of COVID-19 vaccines around the world have gone to just ten countries. Many countries have not had access to any vaccines at all This inequality in vaccine distribution threatens our ability to end the pandemic❗#OnlyTogether can we end this pandemic pic.twitter.com/e6ltyp1jRj— DMU SDG 16 Hub (@DMUSDG16) March 22, 2021
Furthermore, outbreaks in different places and new variants of the virus threaten with new restrictions, affecting mobility and economic recovery. Therefore, the constant threat requires better measures by governments and the international system to reduce the damage caused in the first months of the pandemic.
2. Joe Biden in the White House
The change of administration in the hegemonic country generates administrative uncertainties on many issues. The Democrat's victory comes at a difficult time, whose change of approach generates all kinds of feelings ranging from optimism to negativism.
I ran for president for three reasons: to restore the soul of the nation, rebuild the middle class, and unite the country. pic.twitter.com/LibS0bX1R6— President Biden (@POTUS) March 26, 2021
Likewise, issues such as domestic polarization or Biden's position regarding the trade war with China are relevant aspects, because there are many international and national actors who suffer the consequences of the phenomena mentioned above. The position of the United States will always be important and its reorientation or restoration will always play an important role on the planet.
3. Trade War
The dynamics that the world has experienced in its economic order due to the trade conflict between China and the United States have not lost importance and this year one of the main topics in international trade policy is the discussion about the consequences that this economic conflict has generated in the world's emerging economies.
Likewise, the figure of China as the main trade challenger to the United States has redrawn the trade map. Therefore, understanding the consequences of China's rise and the trade conflict will guide other countries in the decisions they must make.
4. Female Empowerment
One of the areas most affected by the restrictions caused by the pandemic was female empowerment. The internal economic crises, especially in developing nations, witnessed how the female gender was the most affected, causing a setback on what had been achieved in this area.
This is in part because the unemployment rate doesn't include people who aren't looking for work.— Inequality.org (@inequalityorg) March 24, 2021
As women bear more caregiving responsibilities, they're more likely to stop working than men.
Data shows women with children drop out of the workforce at a higher rate than men: pic.twitter.com/HItr9elcFQ
For this reason, one of the most important points for economic recovery is the restoration of this factor and the implementation of projects with this connotation. The empowerment of women will help to improve the economic indexes and will restart the fight that hundreds of collectives had started before the pandemic.
5. Fight Against Climate Change
This issue is not new and has been part of international agendas since the beginning of the century. However, this year it is expected that more progress will be made on the objectives that each State must meet to preserve the planet.
"Innovation has helped humanity overcome incredible challenges. But we've never addressed a challenge as big as #ClimateChange."— UN Climate Change (@UNFCCC) March 27, 2021
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary @PEspinosaC at yesterday's Global Festival of Action. pic.twitter.com/irw6K2QOxI
The return of the United States to global environmental initiatives is good news. The global commitment is growing and it is expected that the political determination will be transformed into actions that will improve the planet's environmental conditions. Likewise, what happened in 2020 is an emergency call, since it was evidenced how a biological emergency affected humanity; therefore, if the States do not take the climate fight seriously, in a few years we will see how the environmental damage will collapse the world order again.
The pandemic worsened living conditions that had already been affected by political, war, social and economic factors in many parts of the world, causing migrations in many regions.
Les migrations à l'épreuve de la Covid-19 https://t.co/MXTb5WZ8J8— RFI – Mag (@RFImag) March 27, 2021
The health crisis reflected that there is a society outside the legality, without medical coverage that requires state attention for proper vaccination. Therefore, in addition to the challenges already identified on the subject, it is important to include illegal migrant communities in vaccination plans in order to achieve the long-awaited immunity.
Cyber attacks did not stop in 2020. Many sectors reported that they were victims of digital hackers. For this reason, cybersecurity is one of the issues to be developed, since the new normality requires that governments are linked to efforts to ensure the success of economic sectors digitization.
3 months into 2021 and there have been many cyber-attacks on AU’s critical infrastructure, incl. unis & hospitals (e.g. #EasternHealth). Share these with your teams as reminders that cybercrime can strike anytime, impacting critical systems that we rely on https://t.co/ZmHVwalGO5— MailGuard (@MailGuard) March 26, 2021
Quarantines, restrictions on mobility, business closures, the new way of consuming, among other aspects, caused thousands of people to go bankrupt and thousands of others to deteriorate their living conditions, which has led to an increase in nonconformity in recent months, causing situations of disorder and insecurity in many nations.
The pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean hard, exposing pre-existing social issues in the region including record levels of inequality and endemic informality. Sponsored By @BIDCambioClima— Climate Home News (@ClimateHome) March 31, 2021
Governments have tried to stimulate the economy through different mechanisms. However, the recovery is limping along, exacerbating social problems in already unequal regions such as Latin America. Thus, as inequality becomes an obstacle to growth and a latent threat of social unrest, the international system is making an emergency call to governments to narrow the gaps and prevent the emergence of other problems.
9. Global Recovery
This last point is correlated with the other eight. Recovery is a term that embraces many disciplines; and this 2021 being the year of reaction, it is expected that the word recovery will be on the agendas of the main meetings.
"The international community has a responsibility to come together and cooperate to support a sustainable global recovery."— United Nations (@UN) April 5, 2021
-- @antonioguterres on the need for reducing debt burden & increasing liquidity to rebuild better from #COVID19. https://t.co/AEAgoABoai pic.twitter.com/mPEolQok9u
However, although we know that some indicators will improve, experts talk about the fact that this recovery will be relative, because a resurgence of the pandemic may cause many sectors to lose their efforts. For this reason, global recovery will be at the top of the world agenda for some years to come, since, unfortunately, some sectors will not have a strong recovery, as it depends on the solution of other relevant issues such as the management of the pandemic or inequality.
On reflection, we can see that the synergies created to combat and confront regional and global challenges are well-intentioned and seem to be the most efficient tools to combat the issues in question. The year 2021 is a year of challenges and opportunities, which, if well managed, could bring order to a battered and disrupted international system.