Rationale and Background Information
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency, bringing devastation to millions around the world, impacting lives and jobs, and grinding much of the global economy to a halt. It calls on all of us to come together with compassion and humility, and to act radically and decisively to protect what’s most important.
In addition to mobilizing emergency medical responses and financial assistance for communities, workers, organisations and businesses in the near term, governments around the world are quickly designing some of the biggest long-term economic stimulus packages ever seen. Both elements are vital to ensure the damage to economies, NGOs, companies and people caused by the coronavirus is minimized, while laying the foundations for a strong recovery.
Beyond its dramatic death toll and the risk it poses to the worldwide health, the current pandemic has unleashed an economic crisis that has started showing terrible impacts on businesses and trade. The major slowdown induced by massive, long-term lockdowns throughout the world, coupled with unilateral targeted trade restrictions are likely to have devastating effects on the economy and the international trade.
According to a WTO report released on April 8th, “the world merchandise trade is expected to plummet by between 13% and 32% this year as the pandemic disrupts normal activity and life around the world”. NGOs are particularly affected but the magnitude of this crisis is such no organisation or company can claim being immune from negative impacts.
Faced with a global challenge affecting every country, regardless of frontiers, wealth or development, national authorities and the international community (WTO, WHO, UN, G20…) show great concern and commitment to address the issue globally. It is clear that managing this worldwide crisis requires coordination and transparency and governments, international bodies are in the front line.
But they can’t act alone.
They need to be informed and advised by the business associations, civil society and non-governmental orgnsations that have the best knowledge of current trends and the reality of social and economic life on the ground.
In support of this acute, complex, multi-level crisis, there is a need to establish a civil society-driven platform which will advocate for NGOs/CSOs and vulnerable communities, to fine-tune the responses to be brought to the numerous challenges local African communities will be facing in the coming times.
The platform will issue statements, provide training and resource materials, and raise awareness about critical issues, collate relevant reports from national and international organizations and independent think tanks, information detailing how platform members support communities locally… and any other material likely to ease the comprehension and comprehensive response to the crisis.
Why the African Civil Society Coalition Against COVID-19?
The COVID-19 public health crisis has created a myriad of operational challenges for both the public and privates across Africa. The impact of coronavirus on the continent can be seen and felt in nearly all aspects of life. The public health crisis has created significant operational challenges for many civil society organisations across the continent.
Some CSOs are struggling to understand and comply with nationwide executive orders while taking care of employees, keeping program beneficiaries and customers safe, and meeting financial obligations. Some fear that the crisis could shut them down permanently. The African NGO Council in partnership with key stakeholders has established the African Civil Society Coalition on COVID-19 as a civil society sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coalition provides free useful materials on a dedicated website for CSOs and NGOs in preparation for the response.
It is a website where NGOs/CSOs and their employees can get accurate, information and connect to resources to help to weather the COVID-19 crisis. There will be relevant legislation, business continuity, employee resources and best practices, as well as health updates and links to organisations that can help.
About the Civil Society Coalition of COVI-19
The African Civil Society Coalition on COVID-19 is a regional civil society-driven initiative working with the media, the governments, United Nations agencies, international organisations, private sector groups and civil society representatives engaged in advancing COVID-19 Response from across the continent. The Coalition pursues its mission through advocacy, public education and awareness raising, capacity building and partnership-building with government agencies, civil society organisations, media institutions, development partners and with other key stakeholders.
ACCOVID is an open partnership, and the African NGO Council is inviting expressions of interest from organisations interested in joining our COVID-19 response to ensure the continuity of operations, education and services for all across Africa. What binds the coalition is a commitment to help communities and organisations assure the inclusive and equitable provision of sensitization materials and the appropriate information to stay on course in the regional and national responses to the pandemic.
Interested African civil society organisations should clearly specify what free support, tools or services they can offer NGOs/CSOs and communities that might help them extend business, operational and educational opportunities during periods of lock downs, business and school closure. Emphasis is placed on ‘free’. The Coalition seeks to broker solutions with community needs and, in the current emergency context, all solutions listed on the coalition platform should be available free of charge. Please send the relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly indicating a focal point or complete our online membership form at www.africanngocouncil.org/covid-coalition-form