Opinion: Our World Post-COVID-19; a Glimmer of Hope in Midst of the Pandemic

Iva Kuprešak, Regional Development Association for SE Europe

I am honored to respond to the request of the Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdroj to share my thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the world post-crisis, as it allows me to offer a glimmer of hope in midst of these troublesome times.

In the last couple of months, much has been written and said about the current crisis. Statements on how COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping our world are commonly heard and undeniably accurate. Nevertheless, the form of this inevitable transformation is subjected to various predictions depending on a point of view.

At this point, it is safe to say that we are all aware of the many consequences caused by the COVID19 crisis as it has exposed the underlying social, environmental, economic and institutional pitfalls. Moreover, it has served as a wakeup call obligating citizens and leaders alike to reexamine dominant values and direct collective focus on the many weaknesses hiding within the fabric of our society. If we were blind to some of the critical issues thus far, we are certainly aware of them now. Thus, the burning question is not whether the Coronavirus crisis will bring change; but how will we collectively redesign our world post-COVID-19, bearing in mind the many inadequacies. It presents us with a challenge and an opportunity to conduct deep structural reforms and collective social movements as building blocks for transformation.

My colleagues and I, at the Regional Development Association for Southeast Europe (RDA-SEE), are putting all our efforts and taking all necessary steps to stimulate and mobilize the citizens and our leaders to challenge the status quo, replacing it with an altered reality that is conducive to a vision of a world where we are contributing to something larger than ourselves. Though it may sound utopian to skeptics among us, we believe we have been presented with an opportunity to achieve a longterm vision that includes the basic human rights; clean water and unpolluted air, healthy food, equality, the opportunity to work and progress, among others, as a foundation of a world in which we can feel healthy, safe, inspired and irrepressible in the face of future challenges.

Values I speak of are often discussed in varied context, nonetheless, we still witness atrocities committed against the human life globally. As a frame of reference, let us examine the environmental sector. We can all agree that protecting our environment is essential in preserving the longevity of the human life. Moreover, new technological innovations allow us to do it more efficiently than ever before. Why is it then that the level of pollution is still quite high globally? Why are ineffective systems being implemented in certain parts of Europe at the expense of taxpayers’ money instead of turning to new and proven innovations? Why do we allow poorly treated wastewaters in our seas and rivers?

Only by asking very specific questions and identifying stumbling blocks can we penetrate into the core of the current predicament and trigger much needed change. If we relentlessly defend the values of positive change, we can create a reality that tends to our best interests as individuals, global communities and the human race.

Compulsory approach in inspiring and forwarding positive change ought to be driven by constructive collaboration between all nations, communities, and constituents, as well as cross-sectoral communication prioritizing the protection of all citizens in every area of life. Directing our attention from egocentric, limited goals serving only a select group, to a long-term vision of a world in which the vast majority of people can live prosperously, is imperative to the sustainable development of our global communities and the generations to follow.

In other words, the current situation pointed out the obvious, advancing incongruous priorities that led to economic and social misbalance. Thus, to create a healthier, stronger, innovative and overall an inspiring world that will grow well beyond our lifetimes, we are all responsible for actively allying our collective mind and culture with the boundless and bountiful mindset, placing the right priorities at the center stage. As challenging as it may seem at first, it is our liability to master indispensable courage and passion to become conscious, a long-term vision inspired leaders and guardians of our homes, communities, and countries. Surely enough, this will render positive results in the short-term as well.