Opinion: Multilateralism the panacea for COVID-19 pandemic

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-26 21:45:20|Editor: huaxia

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (on the screens) speaks at a virtual press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 25, 2020. (Xinhua)

As global COVID-19 cases are expected to hit 10 million in the next few days, the world has learned the hard way that it needs more, rather than less, multilateral cooperation and global solidarity.

by Xinhua writers Lu Jiafei, Ye Shuhong

BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- When delegates from 50 nations signed the UN Charter at the San Francisco Conference on June 26, 1945, the international community was well aware of the necessity and significance of safeguarding world peace and stability through multilateralism, a key principle enshrined in the UN Charter.

Since the end of World War II, multilateralism has been the bedrock of the post-war international order, while global cooperation within the UN framework has become increasingly instrumental in delivering disaster relief supplies, responding to infectious outbreaks, reducing poverty, meditating regional conflicts, and promoting sustainable development around the world.

Today, 75 years on from the signing of the UN charter, the spirit of multilateralism and global cooperation are more relevant than ever, as the world battles a deadly pathogen.

A patient wearing a face mask is wheeled out from an ambulance to a hospital in Toronto, Canada, on June 18, 2020. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)

Unfortunately, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, multilateralism has been under vicious assault, while protectionism and isolationism have been on the rise in recent years.

It has been widely acknowledged that the victory over the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic depends on how well countries around the world can work together.

Yet, it is sad to see that some U.S. politicians, instead of joining the rest of the world in forming a united front to beat the virus, have been busy smearing others, fanning xenophobic sentiments and taking advantage of the pandemic for personal political interests.

Washington has also undermined the leading role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in fighting COVID-19 by deciding to depart from the UN agency.

Those acts are threatening to derail the very much needed global cooperation on containing the outbreak.

People wearing face masks walk on a street in Ankara, Turkey, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

As global COVID-19 cases are expected to hit 10 million in the next few days, the world has learned the hard way that it needs more, rather than less, multilateral cooperation and global solidarity.

The virus knows no borders or ethnicities, and stronger global coordination holds the key to ultimately prevailing over the coronavirus. In the coming months, countries around the world should jointly coordinate their prevention and control measures, speed up the research and development of vaccines, and offer help to nations with fragile medical systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also taking an economic toll. The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday predicted that the global economy will shrink by 4.9 percent this year.

A citizen walks with a pushchair past stores on Oxford Street in London, Britain on June 3, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

Though many countries have carried out monetary and fiscal interventions, given the colossal hit on real economies and the highly interrelated global financial system, saving a globalized economy will entail even stronger global collaboration.

Even when the human race finally emerges on the other side of the pandemic, multilateralism will still remain imperative as the international community has to cope with such daunting non-traditional security challenges as climate change and terrorism, which no country can handle alone.

"We the peoples ..." the three words with which the UN Charter begins, should serve as a reminder amid the unprecedented health crisis that multilateralism and global solidarity are the best and last line of defense for humanity.