Beyond the pandemic: sustainable development, health and employment

Date 11.11.2021

During the Rimini Meeting 2021, AVSI had the chance to debate with several leading personalities in the field of cooperation and development. Different points of view, professional profiles and skills, in dialogue with each other, enriched the analysis of the events related to the Covid-19 pandemic and defined the inevitable challeges that await us.

Laura Frigenti, global head of International development practice at KPMG LLP (former director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation), stressed the need to rethink the role of the state, which must no longer act solely as a regulatory mechanism, but as a real active party, getting directly involved. States are called to reorganize themselves, creating partnerships with the private sector: as happened, for example, with pharmaceutical companies in the production of vaccines.

Her reflection also touched on the development of efficient systems of public health and social protection, as well as a new organization of the labor market - which must be understood not only as a source of income, but also as the participation of the individual to the society. Frigenti also highlighted the communication deficiencies that marked the time of the pandemic: the good reasons that led to the limitation of individual freedoms for the collective good should have been told with informative clarity and openness to dialogue.

A good understanding of the threat we are facing is the key point highlighted by Grammenos Mastrojeni, senior deputy secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean. The Covid-19 pandemic is the tangible result of a progressive degradation of health security, health and the entire balance of our planet. All this is due to an uncontrolled use of resources, together with the fact that production and consumption are disproportionately divided between two "opposite poles": between a few rich and many poor.

A threat that may therefore not end with Covid-19.
Covid brought to light how wrong was the belief that a "trickle-down" development would solve all problems: health, peace, justice and the environment.
Covid showed that it doesn't work that way and that, for recovery, a green economy is needed.

The pandemic has made it clear how fundamentally interconnected everything is. Nothing is only local, and it is precisely a global approach that is needed, according to Giampaolo Silvestri, AVSI secretary general. Therefore, a common response is also needed in the vaccination of the entire world population: "either we all come out of it together, or no one comes out at all".

Together: this is AVSI's model. Every project is designed through collaboration, through the involvement of all stakeholders: the private sector, the international, local and central institutions, the universities, different types of communities. Today, we need to create alliances by putting everyone on the same level and abandoning the old, rigid bureaucratic logic.

Ultimately, the ecological transition is also an educational issue. Development is sustainable only if it is a human development, that revolves around the person. When each person becomes aware and recognizes their own value and dignity, they become able to give a value also to what surrounds them.

Click here to watch the webinar.