While the COVID-19 pandemic presents a potentially era-defining challenge to public health and the global economy, its long- and short-term consequences for deadly conflict are less well understood. Much remains uncertain, but it is already clear that the pandemic could cause enormous damage in fragile states, trigger unrest and undermine international crisis management systems. The disease is already disrupting humanitarian aid flows, peace operations and crisis diplomacy, and it could be catastrophic for civilians caught in the midst of conflict, particularly refugees and displaced people. Over the coming weeks and months, Crisis Group will offer special publications on the coronavirus and its effects on the conflict landscape.
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On 1 July, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a global COVID-19 ceasefire, as the Secretary-General had urged months earlier. Their appeal has fallen flat. Council members should use their August downtime to look at how it might still do some good.
There's a very high level of concern that [COVID-19]'s economic impact is going to spark more disorder, more conflict.
Covid-19 has laid bare the costs of confronting a global crisis with a flawed international system. The only worse outcome would be to confront the next crisis with no system at all.