Panel 3 – Lessons Learned from Covid-19 Pandemic: Evolving Social and Economic Development for Sustainability

Panel Session 3 discussed the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic with evolving social and economic development for sustainability. Moderated by JJ Green, panelists shared their expertise on responding to global emergencies and best practices from covid-19, the new era of online engagement: evolving economic development and private sector, refugee rights during the pandemic, and covid-19 and right to life in prisons: Turkey case.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mehmet Kilic, President of the JWF stated that we are living in an unprecedent time in the history of humanity that we face a global health crisis: COVID-19. He said: “We must remember that this is not only a health crisis, but a social, economic, and environmental crisis.” The COVID-19 taught us at least one lesson that diseases, disasters, and crisis do not discriminate people by race, ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic background. It doesn’t matter if you are a developed or a developing country; when it hits, it hits everybody hard!

To overcome this disease, we need collective efforts and actions to fight against the coronavirus that is targeting our health, our economy, and our security. It is important that we work together in this fight because we are stronger together! But of course, we are not pessimistic about the future. On the contrary, we are hopeful for the future; if we all work together, we can come out of this crisis even stronger!

Hon. Mr. Anton Morozov is a Member of Parliament at the State Duma and a Member of the High Council of the LDPR (RUSSIA). Morozov delivered a keynote address on “Ongoing communication and engagement strategies in combating the Pandemic”. On behalf of the State Duma (Lower House of the Russian Parliament), he used the opportunity to bring you greetings from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and Russian people. our people he acknowledged that humankind had never faced so many global challenges as it does today. In addition to regular ones, the COVID-19 pandemic has already become a real global health and economic crisis.

Russia was affected by COVID-19 as many other countries and became a part of the ongoing pandemic of this disease. There are many speculations about origin of that disease; some sources insist that this virus is a part of some kind of bioweapon. However, all scientific analyses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise artificially engineered.

It was confirmed, that the virus came to Russia on January 31, 2020 with two Chinese citizens visiting Tyumen (Siberia) and Chita (Russian Far East). Both Chinese were tested positive for the virus. As the first step to prevent virus spreading, the extensive testing had started and the border with China was closed. Read more…


JJ Green is the National Security Correspondent at WTOP Radio based in the U.S. and he moderated Panel Session 3 on Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Pandemic: Evolving Social and Economic Development for Sustainability. Green, a long serving and renowned journalist, with rich experiences across the globe, gave these statistics. Over one million people had died from COVID-19 by September 23, 2020, that is about 5 thousand a day. There are 1440 minutes in each day. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. During the next five minutes, while I’m speaking, MANY people will lose their lives to COVID-19. By 22nd September 2020, the US death toll from COVID-19 reached 200,000. Friends and family died, needlessly in some cases, because of bad information or no information in one of the most developed countries in the world. It made him and others like him to commit their rime to work tirelessly to help bring an end to this pandemic and prevent another from happening.

As racial tension, COVID-19, on-going conflicts, and political chaos test the cohesiveness of our planet. Our world faces unprecedented challenges that; day by day, degree by degree, undermine the ability to perform the vital work of truth-seeking and responsible and inclusive reporting. Those challenges are existential threats to our industry, our constituents and our world. He encouraged all people to work and defeat those challenges. Key among them are distortion of facts and efforts to discredit and harm journalists. People are dying in the U.S. and around the world because they are confused about what is true and what is not about the spread of COVID-19. People are dying because they can’t get access to the care they need. People are dying because they’ve lost their jobs, family members to the disease and they’ve lost their hope. We have work to do. This work involves exposing the lies, threats to our safety and security, promoting understanding of them, and helping to create mechanisms to overcome them.

Jeff Schlegelmilch is the Director for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute spoke about Responding to Global Emergencies and Best Practices from COVID-19. There is a very uneven experience with Covid-19 that is driven by ecological conditions to the natural spread of the disease to population density and movement, seasonal effects that aren’t fully understood as well as within communities themselves.

According to the report by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, the data shows that marginalized communities are historically disenfranchised or bearing a disproportionate burden of the Covid-19 disease. In New York, there is an outsized number of cases among African Americans and Hispanic and Latino populations compared to other social groups. They are bearing the brunt of chronic diseases due to structural inequities and structural racism based on discriminatory policies. Unfortunately, where people live predisposes people to outsized effects of disasters and infectious diseases. Many marginalized groups are essential workers who have to go to work when many other people could stay home or work remotely.

Also, there’s this false narrative to either shut down the economy or keep it going. When it comes to fighting with the diseases, you have to do the opposite, which is bad for the economy. For instance, in comparative countries in Europe, we observed lockdowns much more aggressively and much more uniformly and temporarily. Initially, it depressed economic activity but it bounced back faster than the U.S. after the spread of the disease in under control. That’s the way pandemics work like in waves. Controlling disease spread creates options for the economy: opening the businesses, traveling with some restrictions, and for individuals to take responsibility on social distancing and personal hygiene. Read more…

Basma Alawee is the State Refugee Organizer of Florida Immigrant Coalition in the USA. Ms. Alawee spoke about the Refugee Rights during the Pandemic. Today, nearly 80 million people are forcibly displaced, which is more than one percent of the world population. There are 26 million refugees and more than 4 million asylum seekers globally. Nearly 46 million people are internally displaced. Nearly 90 percent of refugees live in developing and low-income countries with the fastest growing infection rates, which makes refugees more vulnerable. During Covid-19, there is a lot of deficiencies in medical supplies, health services, and accurate information during the Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccine nationalism pose risks of limited access for refugees and migrant populations who are often not included in country specific pandemic reopening plans.

Refugees are impacted not just by Covid-19, but also by the fear that is causing around the world. In response to the pandemic, it is estimated that 164 countries across the globe have limited or cut off access to asylum. In some cases, governments have clearly weaponize public health concerns to advance nationalist political agenda, including the United States.

World Health Organization and the UN Refugee Agency are trying to partner with governments to strengthen public health services to millions of forcibly displaced people. UNHCR launched a global 255 million appeal to lessen the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks within refugee communities. Limited entry into and exit from refugee camps hinder efforts to allow refugee professionals within foreign nationals to serve as essential health workers. Read more…

Burak Haylamaz, a human rights expert at the Human Rights Solidarity in the United Kingdom, spoke about COVID-19 and Right to Life in Prisons: Turkey Case. Burak gave an overview of the announcement of COVID-19 as a global pandemic and response from the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). CPT immediately produced a set of principles for Member States to follow in their approach to people who are deprived of their liberty. As one of the signatory countries of the Council’s European Convention of Human Rights, Turkey is one of the addressees of these principles.

These principles were endorsed by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights by calling upon governments to respect fundamental freedoms and democratic standards while devising and implementing measures to fight the pandemic).

The key recommendations, Member States are required;

  • First, to improve the conditions of prisons to the level of international health and safety standards, i.e. all medical and hygienic needs of detainees and convicts;
  • Second, to ensure that prisoners have the access to medical care, medical equipment and medical staff at any time;
  • Third, to ensure that restrictive measures can only be taken if they are necessary and proportionate. (such as video communication in lieu of family visit).
  • Fourth, to ensure that the absolute nature of Article 3 ECHR (prohibition of torture and ill-treatment) is not violated. Hence, no limitation or excuse is acceptable if a taken measure lead to the infringement of the prohibition.
  • Last but not least, MSs are required to use alternative means of deprivation, such as early release, probation, house arrest, if applicable. Read more…


Shiv Vikram Khemka is Vice-Chairman of SUN Group and Executive Chairman, The Global Education & Leadership Foundation in India. He spoke about the New Era of Online Engagement: Evolving Economic Development and Private Sector. Mr. Khemka said that the private sector is going through unprecedented times with the issue of jobs. It is a new era of online engagement with considerable risks and some opportunities. Most people are working remotely over 50 percent of those in the working population. Some recent surveys showed that 70 percent of people are actually not complaining and believe their efficiency may be going up whereas 30 percent are unhappy.  Many jobs have been lost and many more jobs could be lost depending on how long this recession goes on.

Mental health and interpersonal relationships have excessive burden on women in terms of dealing with the work from home. In terms of education, more than 1.2 billion young people are out of school where students are accessing e-learning. The reality is that only 59 % of the world’s population has access to internet whereas 41 % still doesn’t have access to the Internet. So, there’s a huge digital inequality that could have significant repercussions over the next few years.

Creating enough jobs is another challenge that pose multiple effects in society and impact on the economy by slowing down economies. People are either losing their jobs or have little job stability whereas the loss of entry of jobs is also being exacerbated by technology. Technology is also coming in at the same time digitalization artificial intelligence and many other things which will create many jobs but are also destroying many jobs at the same time. It’s going to be a big challenge for the people and lose their jobs to learn and adapt and reskill for the new economy. Read more…

Closing Remarks

Mr. Mehmet Kilic, President of the JWF closed the UNGA Conference 2020 discussion with his closing remarks. He said that the panel discussions have been very fruitful and productive with so many information to digest, learn, and act on in the next 10 years. Mr. Kilic reiterated Journalists and Writers Foundation’s and its Global Partners’ commitment to inclusive, transformative, and achievable UN Development Agenda for humanity and the planet that help achieve our global mission of Leaving No One Behind.

The UNGA Conference hosted 21 speakers from 11 countries with over 520 participants from 48 countries. Partnership is one of the highlights of the conference that 35 global partners from 24 different countries put their efforts to make this conference a success. Mr. Kilic thanked global partners for their leadership, dedication, and support in organizing the UNGA Conference 2020.

Mr. Kilic closed the session by announcing the Pioneers in SDGs Awards that pay tribute to outstanding individuals and organizations contributing to sustainable peace and development through innovative and creative projects. Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies; protecting human rights, the rule of law, and democratic values; empowering women, girls, and youth for social justice and equal opportunities play an essential role in achieving sustainable development goals worldwide.

The Pioneers in SDGs Awards Ceremony was held on September 24, 2020 at 12:00pm-1:30pm EST. The Journalists and Writers Foundation and its 35 Global Partners acknowledged the contributions of projects to society serving as an exemplary model that inspires others towards positive social change while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is a remarkable opportunity for project participants to share their project as best-practices with the United Nations and other relevant stakeholders while exploring other opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

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