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这次疫情大流行何时会结束?我们是时候制定新的战略了(中英双语)
发布时间:2020.10.17 来源:人大重阳 浏览次数: 所属栏目: 综合资讯

何亚非 人大重阳

作者何亚非系外交部原副部长,中国人民大学重阳金融研究院高级研究员,本文刊于10月14日华智全球观察微信公号,原标题为《后疫情时代的新战略思维》。

新冠肺炎疫情在世界历史上发挥的关键作用怎么强调都不为过——它是一个改变游戏规则的因素,使世界发生了翻天覆地的变化。很少有国家能够声称自己对未来胸有成竹或者已有万全之策,因为在可预见的未来,我们面临的是纷繁的不确定性和难以理解的陷阱。为了应对未来更大的全球挑战,我们需要一起清醒地思考和制定新的战略。

一、我们应当怎样看待这场疫情及其未来发展?

这次疫情大流行何时会结束?另一场同样致命或更致命的疫情是否就在眼前?

根据世界卫生组织的专家判断,可以确定的是新冠肺炎疫情还没有结束,预计新一波疫情将在冬季席卷欧洲和其他大陆,随之而来的还有普通流感。至少在足够的、可行的和持久的疫苗在全球普及之前,或者在全球60%以上的人口通过感染获得抗体之前,疫情还不会结束。幸运的是,许多国家已经在COVID-19疫苗的研制上做出了巨大的努力。隧道的尽头便是可见的光明。让我们祈祷,并且做好长期和反复对抗未来流行病的准备。

以中国为代表的许多国家已经在新冠疫苗的研制上做出许多努力。(图片来源:新华社)

未来的流行病是否只是一种“狼来了”的呼喊?目前科学家和医学专家的共识是否定的,至于新的大流行何时会再次向我们袭来,却尚未有明确的答案。单单是考虑到COVID-19的“所作所为”,前景已经足够令人恐惧。微生物进化的历史及其与人类的互动告诉我们,不要被蒙蔽双眼,也不要放松警惕。显而易见,我们必须接受冰冷的现实,并为这样的万一做好充分的准备。如果我们想要生存并且是更好地生存的话,我们就别无选择。

二、我们应当怎样改善全球卫生治理体系?

在全球卫生治理体系及其危机管理能力完全混乱的情况下,我们是否已经吸取了教训,去构建和维护一个功能良好的治理框架,并且尽可能地去重建和强化这个体系?

在这个问题上,我同意迈克尔-奥斯特霍姆和马克-奥尔谢克的观点,即“除了全球热核战争和长期气候变化的影响之外,传染病大流行是最有可能在世界范围内破坏健康和经济稳定的因素”。其他灾难无论多么可怕,都会受到时间和空间的限制,但大流行病不分国界,而且可以持续很长时间。

1918年大流感在全球范围内夺走了约1亿人的生命——远高于第一次世界大战的死亡人数。今天已经有数千万人感染、数十万人死亡于新冠肺炎,而且这个数字还在快速增长。所幸我们有现代医学护持,相较于1918年大流感,我们失去的生命更少。然而,令人难以置信的是,美国这样的国家因新冠肺炎疫情而死亡的人数已经远远超过了它在越南战争和朝鲜战争中所损失的人数。

1918年的大流感曾夺去一亿多人的生命。(图片来源:艾奥瓦州立大学图书馆官网)

鉴于大流行病对人类造成的伤害不可估量,二战后,作为全球治理框架的一部分,一系列多边机构和条约相继成立和出台。但是令人觉得讽刺和遗憾的是,尽管迄今为止我们作出了巨大的努力,这个看似无懈可击的体系还是没有达到人们的期望。不过人们可能会意识到,应当受到指责的是这个体系的成员(决策者们)而非系统本身。就全球公共卫生体系的运作而言,成员国,尤其是大国,才是真正的治理者。美国对世界卫生组织的消极甚至不屑一顾的态度,很能说明这个令人心寒的现实。

与军事和经济方面的开支不同,对公共卫生的投入——尤其是对大流行病的准备和反应——在一众政府的优先事项清单上处于较低的位置,而且往往面临着资金不足、人员不足和被边缘化的困境。

然而,最新的教训发人深省。这一切的一切并非只是关于资源(或是缺乏资源),而是关于各国的选择和优先项。希望在这场大流行病结束之后,人们将进行一些深刻的反思,塑造一种全新的思维方式,以“拯救生命与生计为先”的原则来重新确定资源分配的优先次序,这才是这个世界发展的正确方向。

对此,一个试金石就是国际社会,尤其是像美国这样的大国,是否有政治意愿来集中资源,重振世卫组织,并且恢复其在协调全球应对公共卫生紧急状况中的核心作用。没有任何借口去说 “是的,但是......”。如果国际社会能够深刻地吸取疫情带来的惨痛教训,我们就必须迅速纠正功能失调的全球卫生系统——以及许多国家的国内卫生和大流行病应对系统——使其有能力应对未来可能出现的“黑天鹅”事件。

世卫组织在应对全球公共卫生事件中需要起到核心作用。(图片来源:新浪网)

在此,我想再次强调,合作是一种必要,而不是一种选择。联合国今年正在庆祝成立75周年,联合国大会现在也正在举行。联合国必须发挥重要作用,充分讨论和制定一项行动计划——以世卫组织为中心来“振兴”可持续的全球公共卫生系统。集体的不作为无异于自杀。

面对新冠肺炎疫情,互不协调的单打独斗造成了如今的破坏性局面。而今,世界各国是否已经准备好把他们对彼此的成见放在一边,重新审视地球村或人类命运共同体的概念——这个重建最低水平的全球治理所需的基本要素?

全球治理中最重要的两个方面就是安全和经济,而两者都因为当前的疫情而岌岌可危。“生命还是生计”成为了今天的 “To be or not to be”,因为这场新冠肺炎疫情夺走了许多人的生命和人们赖以生存的生计。

在许多发展中国家的“大城市”里,穷人们居住在狭窄的地方,卫生设施匮乏或根本不存在。这为传染病的传播提供了肥沃的土壤。这种情况是不可接受的。

印度随处可见的贫民窟给防疫工作带来了很大麻烦。(图片来源:雅虎)

鉴于我们所处的世界高度联系,地球村是一个现实,命运共同体也并不只是一个口号而是一个事实的陈述。关闭边界和切断与外部世界的所有联系是一种幼稚的孤立主义,从长远来看无法行得通。它完全不是真正的解决办法。灾难来临的时候,救人等于自救,因为在全球化时代,我们绝无可能完全孤立地生活。

全球化并非敌人,而是解决之道。看看自新冠肺炎疫情爆发以来,科学界与医学界是如何不分昼夜地跨界合作,去寻找和生产疫苗的,甚至在政客们仅为选举等只符合他们自身短期利益的事情而争吵不休的时候,这种工作也并未停止。

很多人提出一个中肯的问题:是否可以通过我们的共同努力,重新调整经济增长模式和全球供应链,并在必要时采取迅速有力的措施,从而在“生命与生计”之间取得平衡?如果各国能够本着共建人类命运共同体的精神,齐心协力,答案当然是肯定的。

未来就在我们手中——我们应当郑重地去对待它。

英文原文

The critical role the coronavirus pandemic has been playing in world history cannot be overstated. It’s a game-changer that has turned the world upside-down and topsy-turvy. Few countries can claim they are certain of the future, or ready for it, because what faces us in the foreseeable future is a mess of uncertainties and unfathomable pitfalls. We need to clear our collective heads and devise new strategies to meet ever-greater global challenges ahead.

When will the pandemic blow over? Is another one just as deadly or even more lethal just around the corner?

The verdict is in that the pandemic is certainly not over, and new waves are expected to hit Europe and other continents over the winter, together with regular strains of flu, according to experts at the World Health Organization. At least it will not be over until there are enough workable and durable vaccines to distribute around the world, or until more than 60 percent of the global population acquires antibodies through infections. Fortunately, many countries have made huge emergency efforts in the research and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. There is light visible at the end of the tunnel. Let us keep our fingers crossed and be prepared for protracted and possibly repeated fights against future pandemics.

Is it true that more pandemics will come, or that just “crying wolf”? The present consensus among scientists and medical experts is yes, with a “but” as to when a new pandemic will hit us again. The prospect is scary enough, considering what COVID-19 has done, but the history of microbial evolution and its interaction with humankind tells us not to be blindfolded or let our guard down. Do we have to accept the cold reality and be fully prepared for such an eventuality? The answer is obvious. We have no choice if we wish to live, and live a better life.

With the global health governance system and its crisis management ability in total disarray, have lessons been learned to rebuild and reinforce the system as vigorously as possible in the context of constructing and maintaining a better-functioning architecture?

In this connection, I agree with Michael Osterholm and Mark Olshaker that “short of a global thermonuclear war and the long-term impact of climate change, an infectious disease pandemic has the greatest potential to devastate health and economic stability across the globe.” Other disasters are limited in space and time no matter how horrible they are, but pandemics know no boundaries and can last for a long time.

The 1918 flu pandemic claimed roughly 100 million lives worldwide, many more than the world war preceding it. Today COVID-19 has had already infected tens of millions, with hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the numbers are still growing fast. Because we have modern medicine, fewer lives are being lost now compared with the 1918 pandemic. Yet it is still hard to believe, for instance, that deaths in the United States from COVID-19 have already far exceeded the number of lives it lost in both the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Given the incalculable damage pandemics can do to humanity, an array of multilateral institutions and treaties were put in place after World War II as part of the global governance framework. So it’s ironic and regrettable that despite the tremendous efforts made so far, the seemingly impeccable system did not live up to expectations — though one might note that the system itself is not to blame so much as its members, who are the decision-makers. To the extent the global public health system functions, it is the member states, and especially the major powers, that are the real governors. The negative and dismissive attitude of the U.S. toward the WHO is quite revealing of this chilling reality.

Unlike military and economic spending, inputs into public health — in particular toward pandemic preparedness and response — are low on the priority lists of governments and more often than not are underfunded, understaffed and marginalized.

The resent lessons are sobering, however. It’s not really a matter of resources (or lack of them); rather it is a matter of choices and priorities. Hopefully, after this pandemic passes, there will be some deep, soul-searching reflection that will reshape mindsets and move the world in the right direction of reprioritizing resources to save both lives and livelihoods.

A litmus test will be whether the international community, especially major powers like the U.S., will have the political will to pool resources and revive the WHO and restore its central role in coordinating global efforts in response to public health emergencies. There is no excuse for saying “Yes, but …” If we in the community of nations can learn the painful lessons in our hearts, we must quickly remedy the dysfunctional global health system — as well as the domestic health and pandemic response systems in many countries — to make them capable of dealing with the black swans of the future.

Here again I want to stress that cooperation is a necessity, not an option. The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and the UN General Assembly is going on right now. It must play a major role in fully discussing and devising an action plan to revive the sustainable global public health system with the WHO at its center. Inaction is suicidal in its collective sense.

With such a devastating picture from the uncoordinated go-it-alone responses to the pandemic, are nations now ready to put aside whatever bias they may have against one another and revisit the concept a global village or a community of nations with a shared future — the essential element needed to rebuild a minimum level of global governance?

It’s common sense that the two most important issues in global governance are security and economics, and that both are in jeopardy because of the current pandemic. “Lives or livelihoods” is today’s version of “To be or not to be,” as the pandemic has taken so many lives and the livelihoods people rely on for survival.

In many developing countries there are large cities in which poor people live in cramped quarters, with scarce or nonexistent sanitation providing fertile ground for the spread of infectious diseases. This is unacceptable.

Given the highly connected world we live in, the global village is a reality, and a community of nations with a shared future is no mere slogan. It is a statement of fact. Naive isolationism that means closing borders and severing all connections to outside world is not going to work in the long term. It is no real solution at all. In times of calamity, helping others is helping oneself, simply because it is not possible to live in total isolation in the age of globalization.

Globalization is not the enemy; it is the solution. Just look at how scientists and medical communities are working together across borders day and night since the coronavirus outbreak to find and produce vaccines for it, even as politicians bicker over things that only serve their short-term interests, such as elections.

Many ask a pertinent question: Is it possible through concerted efforts to strike a balance between “lives and livelihoods” by readjusting the economic growth model and global supply chains and taking swift and strident measures when necessary? The answer is certainly positive if countries can work together in the spirit of building a community of nations with a shared future.

The future is in our hands. We should be serious about it.

 

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