Global Perspectives on COVID Pandemic: Solidarity, Community and Cooperation
Published on 25th March, in a fast changing international situation.
As the COVID Pandemic of 2020 has reached ‘lockdown’ for the UK and many other nations, the need for our communities – and community of nations – to work together has never been greater. Wales and the World are inextricably linked through global health: pandemics know no borders – and information is international. In an age of social media we are intertwined, and interdependent; we are Humankind.
Kindness, compassion and clarity will help us to face this world crisis, and support the most vulnerable, through cooperation and humanity – from the local to the global. Over coming weeks, WCIA will be sharing (via WCIA’s website, Twitter and Facebook feeds) ‘stories of solidarity’, links to reliable information / updates, and examples of inspiring civil society, individuals and community leadership from around the world.
Wales amidst a Global Health Crisis
Wales and Welsh communities must do all we can within a crisis of global proportions – and requiring global solutions. Summarised below are quick links to key sources of information and updates from around the world; ways that people can take action in local to global solidarity; learning from our heritage; and stories of solidarity from individuals around the world.
Quick References and Information Sources
UK & Welsh Government, NHS and Voluntary Sector
- Welsh Government Coronavirus Homepage; COVID latest updates & devolved policy (see First Minister Mark Drakeford’s address to the nation at bottom of article)
- Volunteering in Wales – How Can you Help with Coronavirus? Volunteer Registration, Finding Projects, Seeking Volunteer Help; WCVA COVID Updates and Guidance for
- UK Government & Statutory Guidance – Coronavirus Homepage; Foreign Office Travel Advice; Key Worker Guidance; Universities UK Guidance
- Volunteering across the UK – Guardian Article ‘Coronavirus and Volunteering: How can I help in the UK?’; NCVO guidance and resources to charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the covid-19 pandemic.
- NHS Public Information (National Health Service): UK COVID Homepage; NHS Wales Direct; Public Health Wales updates; UK COVID Symptom Tracker App (contributing to research data collection);
Global Health Bodies & Cooperation
- WHO Africa COVID Home; Updates; Africa Dashboard
- United Nations Homepage; Coronavirus Pandemic Global Overview; COVID19 UN FAQs; UN Women Gender Equality & COVID; UNESCO Global Schools Updates; UNESCO Coronavirus Education Blog
- European Union: European Commission Coronavirus Response; ECDC Updates (European Centre for Disease Control); ECDC Dashboard
- United States John Hopkins University (Baltimore) COVID Dashboard (global and US) and Coronavirus Resource Centre; Federal Govt Response ; CDC (Centre for Disease Control).
Reference Resources and Useful Articles
- Wikipedia – Coronavirus Pandemic homepage (updated daily)
- Chatham House updates – UK Thinktank on International Affairs
- ‘The World After Coronavirus’ – Yuval Noah Harari thought piece, Financial Times 20 March 2020.
- ‘Beyond Coronavirus – What’s keeping aid workers up at night’ – New Humanitarian, 24 March 2020
- ‘If Covid-19 is not beaten in Africa it will return to haunt us all’ – thought piece by Prime Minister of Ethiopia & Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy Ahmed, FT, 25 March 2020
- ‘Global perspective needed to act on root causes of Covid-19‘ – Middle East Moinitor, 30 March 2020 (though piece connects lessons from history, climate crisis and COVID cooperation)
- ‘How COVID-19 might help us win the fight against Climate Change‘ – thought piece, World Economic Forum, 31 March 2020
- Worldometer COVID Tracker (cases / deaths / recovered)
- Our World in Data – Comparison of Data Sources on COVID, March 19 2020
As with all venues and workplaces, the Temple of Peace is closed throughout the shutdown period and WCIA staff have been working from home since Monday 16th March (though as with many in this challenging time, our capacity is limited).
- Venue bookings, and all WCIA events, have been postponed until the COVID situation becomes safer.
- WCIA are sharing Stories of Solidarity (see below) from around the world; and useful resources (such as home learning and means to take action) via WCIA’s Twitter and Facebook social media feeds.
- WCIA are supporting international volunteers on placements through UNA Exchange to self-isolate if in UK, and to find passages to their home countries where possible / appropriate.
- Hub Cymru Africa and the Wales Africa Health Links Network are offering guidance to local linking organisations and charities supporting or whose work is affected by COVID.
Internationalism in Action: Taking a Global Stand
How are internationally-minded individuals in Wales able to contribute to understanding and combating the COVID crisis in any way… on top of looking after themselves and their loved ones in a lockdown? WCIA will be gathering and sharing actions and ideas of people Wales and world-wide via our social media channels, and here:
- Mutual Aid UK – Local organising to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
- Sign up to the Symptom Tracker App to help scientists slow the outbreak.
- Join ‘Clap for our Carers’ at 8pm 26th March to thank our NHS staff.
- Join Côr-Ona, the Facebook choir for singers and musicians in isolation.
- Home learning ideas are being shared via Twitter
- Fair Trade Activities for Home Learning
- ‘Size of Wales’ fun home learning resources
- ‘A Country a Day – Sudan‘ – home learning
- UNESCO Distance Learning Tools; and How to talk to your child about Coronavirus
- UN – ideas for Solidarity in Time of Coronavirus
- Contribute to UN / WHO COVID19 Solitary Response Fund
- Find out about Wales Africa Health Links near your community and on Facebook
- Although international volunteering placements are mostly suspended during the COVIUD crisis, search how you could volunteer through UNA Exchange for community projects worldwide including in health.
- Learn about the Global Happiness Report, which ranks worldwide wellbeing to guide future development.
Global Perspectives: Stories of Solidarity
At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. In uncertain times like these, it is heartwarming to see communities uniting in solidarity, and even song in some cases. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share the positive stories emerging from the situation as a source of inspiration for people in these challenging times.
Personal ‘Stories of Solidarity’ from across the world, mapped.
Learning from the Past: Heritage of Cooperation
Not since the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918-1920, has the world experienced something of the scale the world is facing today in COVID19. Affecting as many lives globally as World War 1 itself, “Spanish flu” (so called, ironically, as Spain was the only WW1 nation that allowed uncensored reporting on it to save lives), ended up infecting 500 million – of whom 17-100 million died, making it the world’s worst epidemic since the ‘Black Death’ Plague of 1331-1353. In Wales, between 8,700 and 11,400 people are thought to have died.
- How the Spanish Flu epidemic devastated Wales in 1918 (BBC Article, 12 Oct 2018)
- What the 1918 Flu teaches us about Coronavirus (Guardian, 11 March 2020)
- The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 (Historic UK,
- A Historian’s View: Coronavirus and the Epidemic of 1918 (New Yorker, 25 March 2020)
- Spanish Flu and Pandemic Propaganda (Prospect Magazine, 19 March 2020)
Alongside Tuberculosis, the combined impact of World War One and Spanish Flu inspired the creation of Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health – home to WCIA today, and opened in 1938 as a beacon for the nation’s efforts to end the scourge of tuberculosis, and secure sustainable peace through global cooperation – initally through the work of the WNMA (Wales National Memorial Association for Eradication of Tuberculosis) and WLNU (Welsh League of Nations Union).
After World War 2, these movements evolved to support creation of the NHS (National Health Service) and the United Nations – two of humanity’s greatest achievements in facilitating cooperation for the common good. In the words of the Temple’s founder, David Davies:
“A ‘Temple of Peace’ is not of bricks and mortar: It is the spirit of man. It is the compact between every man, woman and child, to build a better world.”
Has a generation taken our grandparents’ inheritance for granted? Over recent decades, support for and resourcing of these ‘institutions of humankind’ has fallen, health services and social care have suffered strident Austerity cuts, and many nations – the UK and US in particular – have turned inwards and away from the very bodies that enable international cooperation in times of crisis.
The COVID Pandemic will seriously test – and potentially reverse – many of these policy approaches. Working in global cooperation and solidarity with others, we will owe it to a generation who lose their lives, to come through this crisis to build a better world.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford addresses the nation on 23 March.