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Pandemic May Contribute To The Collapse Of Already Fragile States

DELFT, Netherlands

The Water, Peace and Security Partnership (WPS), a coalition which develops tools and services that help identify water-related security and conflict risks, has described how “a perfect storm of poverty, growing natural resource scarcity, and pandemic may lead to the collapse of already fragile states", while severely impacting many others.

A 1 April statement from the partnership examines how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic adds another threat-multiplier to the “explosive mix of conflict and instability drivers that many individual countries and the world as a whole are facing”, identifying  sectors that will be affected and putting some context around specific issues and specific countries.

The statement, specifically mentioning current conditions in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Africa, The Sahel and Mali, describes how economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis will affect the ability of governments (most particularly in developing economies) to provide key services, clean water, food, and healthcare, to the most vulnerable. Already stressed humanitarian assistance will be hampered by access to the specific region and shortfalls in funding from donor countries who, themselves, have to deal with vast and overwhelming economic downturn.

The partnership identifies COVID-19 impacts relating to food insecurity, human migration, humanitarian and peace operations, and degraded ecosystems, adding that its tools "can track relevant natural resource, economic, and disaster-related data, and thereby help prioritize the flow of ODA (overseas development assistance) for maximum impact, helping the most vulnerable countries continue to provide basic services to their people".