Tang Prize Laureates Call for Mutual Trust and Cooperation to Combat Covid-19

  • Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, 2014 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development
  • Albie Sachs, 2014 Tang Prize laureate in Rule of Law
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“7 Actions Leaders Should Take”


Are we really not ready for a pandemic as relentless as Covid-19? In face of the worsening coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), current co-chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) and 2014 Tang Prize laureate in Sustainable Development, appealed to world leaders for international collaboration in order to build a strong global emergency response system. Speaking to BBC's Radio 4, Dr. Brundtland ensured us that it's not too late to respond to this "warned catastrophe," but we have to put more emphasis on "mobilising funding and (placing) attention on getting the equipment that is needed."


“A World at Risk,” the GPMB’s annual report released in September last year, alerts us to “a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity.” Also included in this report is a figure of “global examples of emerging and re-emerging diseases.” The executive summary of the report enumerates 7 actions for the international community to carry out, in hopes that leaders of every country will be able to protect their citizens in case an outbreak starts to spiral out of control.


The entire report is available at https://reurl.cc/kd7N8d

For the source of the BBC Radio 4 interview, see https://reurl.cc/3DjLMM


“A Word that Can Get Us Through the Viral Storm”


Dr. Albie Sachs, former justice on South Africa's Constitutional Court and inaugural Tang Prize laureate in Rule of Law, spent most of his life fighting apartheid and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Offering the world some words of wisdom and comfort at this critical juncture, he believes that to develop mutual trust between people will pave the way for our ultimate triumph.


In response to the Tang Prize Foundation’s invitation to give some advice on how to face the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Sachs provided his answer to the question posed to him by the Latitudes Art Fair in South Africa, in which he describes how these political and public health tragedies have in their own peculiar ways transformed South Africa for the better, thus expressing confidence that his home country is ready to head into another storm, which it will certainly weather:


"In responding to the corona virus today we have clear, decisive and compassionate leadership. We have international experience to guide us. And above all, if early indications are anything to go by, there are multitudes upon multitudes of thoughtful and caring South Africans from all walks of life who fully accept the need to keep apart in order to stand together.


South Africa gave the bitter words concentration camps and apartheid to the world. Today we offer to humanity the healing word Ubuntu, human interdependence. We will get through this disaster, and because of our thoughtfulness, generosity, and, yes, our idealism, we the people will emerge wounded but stronger." 


Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern, CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, pointed out that the Tang Prize laureates’ great vision enables us to reflect on the connection between the Covid-19 pandemic and our environment, ecosystem, climate change and technological development, all of which have huge impact on our lifestyles. Therefore, when trying to overcome this crisis, people from all corners of the world, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, place of residence or gender, should join forces and help each other, in order to achieve the long-term goal of sustainable development, 


For the full text of Dr. Sach's answer, please see: https://pse.is/QTEKN