The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that it is time for real change. Time for a resilient society in which everyone has access to healthcare, food and a basic income. A society that prioritises caring for our planet and all its inhabitants.
The pandemic has magnified and made clear the vulnerability of our global and interconnected food system. The lack of preparedness and resilience, along with the growing inequality that underlies the global economy, has become painfully obvious. And as with many crises, the most vulnerable groups are finding themselves disproportionately affected. It is the case in the Netherlands, but it is especially relevant beyond our borders, in low- and middle-income countries.
Acute famine and further poverty now threaten a multitude of people , including millions of smallholder farmers and workers at the beginning of our supply chains. Measures being enacted here leave them with even less capacity to protect themselves and to recover from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic . The Dutch government has rightfully stated that 'only together we can get the coronavirus under control'. That idea of ‘together’ should not stop at the Dutch border. If there is one thing that this crisis has made clear, it is that we are all connected. What happens here will have an impact there, and vice versa.
We cannot close our eyes to the likelihood of yet another crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming years, climate change will only aggravate the vulnerability and inequality of millions of smallholder farmers and workers at the beginning of our supply chains. We will never arrive at a structural solution if we continue to exclude the majority of the world. In the Netherlands we are well on our way to recovering from the initial shock and see a gradual relaxation of the restrictions occurring in the weeks ahead of us. Now is the time to make a real and sincere effort not to fall back into our old habits.
We are calling for action
There is another way. We must do better. We must not return to the ‘untenable normal’, but instead ensure that we rebuild a society that focuses on resilience, global cooperation, social, economic and environmental sustainability, and justice.
Prioritising a living income for farmers and a living wage for workers at the beginning of our supply chains is more relevant than ever. Entrepreneurs and workers – wherever they are in the world – must be able to earn a decent living, for otherwise they will remain extremely vulnerable. Governmental actors, companies, financial institutions, and the civil society have a crucial role to play in making a living income and a living wage possible. Therefore, they are responsible for making a genuine and sincere contribution towards rebuilding a better, more sustainable and just society.
Download the full statement, including calls to actions for:
- Dutch government
- Dutch companies
- Financial institutions
- Civil society organisations
Solidaridad and Fairtrade The Netherlands
- Voice Network
- IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative
- Oxfam Novib
- Rainforest Alliance
- Save the Children Netherlands
- SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
 UNDP, 20 April 2020. How to soften the impact of coronavirus during conflict. https://tinyurl.com/yayoglss