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April 19, 2020

German envoy stresses local communities’ involvement in combating covid-19

Islamabad

April 19, 2020

Islamabad : Bernhard Schlagheck, German Ambassador, has said that taking local communities and people on board in decision-making in crises like Covid-19 is highly important to maintain transparency despite federalism which in some countries posed the challenge of effective decision-making.

Schlagheck was speaking at an online policy dialogue on ‘Lessons from Germany to deal with Covis-19’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here Friday.

Mr Schlagheck said that it is absolutely important for the developing countries including Pakistan to pay immediate attention on improving their healthcare systems for overall wellbeing of the society. He said that the greater international cooperation and solidarity is critically important to deal with the global crisis emanating from Coronavirus pandemic. He said that the rescheduling of the debts of the developing countries by the international financial institution is a vital development in this regard that would allow the countries stressed by the debt servicing to pay more attention on improving their healthcare systems in the face of current crisis. He said that the telephonic conversation between Imran Khan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel indeed played a role in mobilising this development.

He said that the crisis is yet to be over in Germany though his country was dealing with it through intensive testing and screening. Till April 15, he said, Germany had conducted the highest number of Coronavirus tests, 17,28,357, in Europe. He said that the testing along with effective quarantine and social distancing helped Germany to contain the number of deaths. Besides, he said, Germany tested healthcare system and in the face of Covid-19 challenge, a response strategy was rapidly developed enabling us targeted and smart lockdown and now a gradual reopening of the business is being worked out.

Schlagheck said that the world cannot afford big powers’ competition anymore and it is time to increase international cooperation, especially by sharing the scientific research and expertise with the developing countries by the developed world. He said the rescheduling of debts of the developing countries is an important signal in this regard which would provide these countries much needed spaces to pay attention on healthcare sector.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, said that it is in the own interest of global North to support developing countries in these testing times. Basic fact must be comprehended at every level that no one in the world could be considered safe if a single individual is left vulnerable to coronavirus, he stressed adding that recession and insecurity warnings from multilateral organisations remind us that while observing self-isolation and self-distancing through closing their international borders, airports, and seaports, the countries should keep their hearts and minds open for cooperation against food insecurity and poverty. An effort to make the world safer from pandemic, famine, and poverty which cannot take place without bilateral and multilateral cooperation, is also “Globalisation,” Dr Suleri concluded.

In the question hour, Mr Schlagheck said that Germany values its partnership with Pakistan and is among the larger contributors to the World Bank and IMF who in turn are helping countries like Pakistan. He vowed that Germany would continue to provide a number of research and learning opportunities for the Pakistani students and research institutes. Some of such facilities are already being availed by Pakistani students in the form of various scholarships. He said Germany would explore more areas to work in Pakistan and forge cooperation in different fields after the Coronavirus crisis is over.