The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge unlike any that we’ve experienced in our lifetimes.
A pandemic urgently demonstrates the importance of effective government. And accordingly, government is at the heart of the response to this crisis.
We have begun to work with our partners in national and local governments around the world to consider how governments can effectively respond to the crisis, manage their other priorities through it, and plan for recovery after it. Through this work, we’ve reached three tentative conclusions that may inform the work ahead:
The world is flat (for now): As long as social distancing lasts, for many of us, a person halfway around the world is now as “close” to us as a person who works in the same office. Anyone anywhere can help with the urgent work that needs to be done.
It will stay that way – at least in part: Even after the crisis, demand for digital and remote capabilities will be permanently higher. Governments can meet this demand with reforms that improve lives: more responsive digital services, lower commute times and congestion, and lower pollution and climate impact.
Inequitable recovery is likely, but not inevitable: This crisis will hit marginalised communities the hardest, and when a remedy arrives, it will reach them last – unless we collectively decide otherwise.
With this in mind, we have begun to work with our partners – from prime ministers’ offices to city governments to national and local health and education systems – to plan and implement responses to the crisis. Based on this work, we have identified a few recommendations for governments seeking to manage their response to the crisis while continuing to deliver public impact where it matters most.
COVID-19 is a once-in-a-generation challenge. It is also a moment for demonstrating the good that government can do in people’s lives. Let’s rise to meet that moment together.
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