Our shared future in the wake of a global pandemic: Impact on economic, social and environmental divides

Organised by The Victoria Forum
Event type External Event
Location Online
Start date 28 May 2020 9:00
End date 10:30 PT

The coronavirus pandemic affects us all. We fully expect it to have a much wider and deeper impact on our economies, our health care systems, our societies and social systems, our environment and our business operations. The virus is exposing and exacerbating economic and social divides already present around the world, both within and between countries. These divides are simultaneously magnifying the spread of the virus, and are felt especially by particular groups in society, including women, Indigenous peoples, marginalized groups and communities. In many contexts, spaces that promote citizen engagement in democratic processes are closing down – through new measures of containment that involve increased surveillance and an increasingly intrusive, authoritarian state. Death tolls are on the rise, unemployment is skyrocketing, and access to social support and healthcare is under threat. Although many governments are seeking evidence and research to help them navigate the future, the expertise of scientific and medical experts is often treated with skepticism.

COVID-19 is a universal challenge, but even though the virus has demonstrated our global inter-connectedness, we see some divides becoming starker and isolation growing. Borders are shutting down, and the multilateral system that has provided stability and prosperity is being challenged. The future is uncertain, which itself creates new levels of anxiety and mental health challenges. An unexpected positive impact of the pandemic on the environment is noticeable in many regions of the world. Quarantines and the associated disruption in economic activities are reducing environmental pollution, which could potentially contribute to saving lives around the globe.

This webinar addresses the questions of:

  • What is COVID-19 revealing about the extent to which we are connected or divided?
  • What does this new reality mean for globalization as we have come to know it?
  • How is the global pandemic affecting our economic, social and environmental divides and who is most affected?
  • What knowledge and evidence do we need to help us navigate towards a shared future in which we “build back better”?
  • How will we find pathways forward that are informed and developed through engagement of those citizens and communities who are most directly affected?


Moderator: Lord John Alderdice – Professor, The House of Lords (UK)


  • Ambassador Patricia Fuller – Ambassador for Climate Change (Canada)
  • Prof Deepak Nayyar – Emeritus Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)
  • Dr. Aminata Niang – Senior researcher, Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (Senegal)

In partnership with the Institute of Development Studies (UK) & the International Development Research Center  (Canada)