Statement on COVID19, 31 March 2020

The COVID19 crisis is the health, social, and economic crisis of our time. Fully in the throes of it, we are yet to understand – or even imagine – its fallout. The fact that the majority of countries around the world are in lockdown creates a space to reflect upon the effects of this crisis upon our communities, our societies and our interconnected world.

EADI is in solidarity particularly with the most vulnerable, those who do not have time to reflect as they continue their daily struggle. They have been denied the benefits of so-called development in our world of inequality and social injustices and now face barriers erected out of fear or ignorance or disrespect of life. We treasure, protect and promote the concept of human dignity for all, in the face of rampant distress - whether related to hunger, health, unemployment, lack of educational provision, governance, absence of basic services or other support. Hundreds of millions of people in all parts of the world face dire circumstances as panic-driven nationalist emergency policies shut off and shut down. It is our common duty to stand by those that are most affected in our world of asymmetric power structures, privileges and marginalisation.

At EADI, we commit to focusing on the international development challenges that affect the majority of the world. We will remain dedicated to the promotion of research and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge into international development issues, to ensure that they do not fade into the background in the current crisis. We engage to keep profiling inclusive development, sustainability and transformational change as key to elaborating a profound, long-lasting response to the challenges we are confronted with. As a pan-European community, EADI has the experience to keep strong social links despite physical distances and we commit to an ongoing, open dialogue to exchange ideas and explore answers to our current predicament.

The world-wide crisis risks reinforcing North/ South asymmetries and inequalities in all areas and societies. It risks exacerbating underlying problems, and insular mentalities and deepening we-they divides. All this is the opposite of unity, of solidarity, of social justice and human dignity. We need to use the challenges as an opportunity to reconsider what “development” means and what the implications for “development studies” are. The only way to emerge from this global onslaught is through working together in search for alternatives to enable a sustainable reproduction of our world. COVID19 has shown us that there are no islands or bunkers - we are only as strong as the weakest among us.