Coronavirus – an unprecedented global challenge for us all

22 Mar 2020

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The coronavirus global contagion will change the way society behaves, fundamentally transforming the world's outlook on how it deals with similar global challenges in the future, says FIDIC chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin.

The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on people’s wellbeing, businesses, education, society, politics and investment markets confirms more clearly than ever before that the world in which we all live is truly a global village and one that is fully connected. It is of course extremely important that we all take appropriate precautionary measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus throughout our business and social activities - if we have any social activity left during the current crisis that is.

Clearly, the top priority right now is to protect lives, stop the transmission, be fast and have no regrets in taking appropriate decisions. It’s probably best to imagine you have the virus and understand that you need to change your behaviour. Now. We must also avoid blaming any individual or government or discriminate against any nation or group of people from different parts of the world. Adopting such a negative (and frankly ignorant) attitude will not bring any unity to the global community. World leaders must act together in a united way to combat this pandemic.

The resolution of the global COVID-19 pandemic will require all governments to be transparent and open with society. It will also demand more collaborations with other governments to share experiences, knowledge and to ensure that the world can unite to effect a sustainable solution to the massive challenge we all face.

I believe that the outcome of this global challenge will change the way society behaves, taking the interconnectivity between nations to higher level and fundamentally transforming the world's outlook on how we deal with similar global challenges in the future.

Whilst the current challenge is to very quickly contain and reduce fatalities and deliver stability to society, rebuilding our social and economic infrastructure to secure a more resilient society will be the next challenge.

Scientists, engineers and the global infrastructure industry will play a vital role and FIDIC, ICE, RAEng, ASCE and other international global institutions will have to be ready to ensure we continue to work to attract future talents to the industry in which we all work. Most importantly, we should also be on standby and ready to collaborate with national governments and global institutions such as the United Nations, World Health Organisation, World Bank etc to develop the appropriate infrastructure the world needs to secure a sustainable future.

Meanwhile, make sure that you take direction from your respective governments and stay safe.

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