Mar 31, 2020

Coronavirus: Unrepresented & Alone

Excluded from participation in international governance mechanisms, states with limited recognition are responding bravely, but alone, to COVID-19. Marginalized at home, unrepresented peoples are struggling without the support others receive.

The current global crisis offers a new perspective into the challenges of unrepresented peoples around the world. With more-and-more government decision-making happening behind closed-doors, the voices of these nations and peoples are increasingly marginalized. States with limited recognition are excluded from mechanisms of international public health governance and development aid, limiting effective global coordination and their own abilities to respond. Sub-national governments and people living in national systems that discriminate and exclude their voices face increased exclusion from public health systems and poorer levels of funding. 

Around the world, peoples denied equal representation in national and international governance structures are being particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. With the world battling its most challenging crisis since the Second World War, the United Nations' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued an urgent appeal for action calling on politicians to "forget political games" and come together for a "strong and effective response". However, responses from heads of governments worldwide have been divisive and incoherent, in some cases exposing the many facets of the populism that has taken the political landscape by storm over the last years. In response to the spread of the coronavirus, countries of the EU have closed national borders while most members states of the UN have adopted a "self-help" doctrine to the public health issue, putting multilateralism as a whole to an ultimate test. 

The UNPO is documenting how unrepresented nations and peoples are being treated both internationally and nationally in order to understand and inform how the world's most marginalized peoples can be better protected. We are studying various aspects of the issue with our members and academic partners and conducting policy outreach to realize effective responses to the issues identified.

Photo: Reuters