Policy recommendations for responding to Covid-19 globally

Publication language
Date published
01 May 2021
Plans, policy and strategy
COVID-19, Research, policy and analysis

Over a year after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the virus continues to spread around the world, with more than 150 million confirmed cases and three million deaths across nearly 200 countries, as of early May 2021.

COVID-19 has led to massive disruptions to the global economy that are and will continue to cause long-lasting socio-economic effects on populations globally, with direct impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods. The shocks and stresses of the global recession, alongside rising conflict and insecurity, weakened health systems and the increasing food insecurity and risk of famines around the world, have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most marginalised groups and countries facing humanitarian crisis.

Globally, the Movement has helped one in thirty people on the planet during the pandemic. British Red Cross is supporting its National Society partners to respond to emerging needs on the ground through their vast community-based volunteer networks. With vaccination campaigns being a major global effort in 2021 and beyond, there is hope that an end to the acute phase of the pandemic is within reach. British Red Cross is willing and eager to support the Movement in making an effective contribution to this, supporting National Societies in their domestic efforts where appropriate and providing funding to revised Movement appeals to facilitate such efforts where possible.

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we believe the new FCDO should continue to lead by example, through policy, programmes and diplomacy and aim to improve the humanitarian system. International humanitarian law, and support for impartial humanitarian action, must remain a cornerstone of the UK’s international relations and response to crises.

We will work with Government to preserve the scale and quality of funding most effective in tackling protracted crises, instability and climate shocks. This includes promoting predictable and flexible core funding for local actors, investing in preparedness to build future resilience, and championing early-action financing models that respond to climate risk based on forecasts, thereby mitigating the worst effects of crises through anticipatory action.

As the British Red Cross Humanitarian Policy team, over the past year we have been providing analysis on humanitarian contexts and themes, taking into account the Covid-19 outbreak and its long-term effects on the most vulnerable. We have identified areas where we see a clear role for UK and humanitarian sector leadership in response to these global challenges, which we have collected in this briefing paper. These include principled humanitarian action; health and vaccines; migration and displacement; food security; climate change; sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking, among others.