Such international cooperation may also provide us with unexpected benefits. For example, many emerging economies in East Asia, such as South Korea, may have approaches to the pandemic from which the UK can learn.
Addressing global challenges together
Pandemics are not the only issue to be addressed on a global basis. There is also conflict and terrorism, which, if left unchecked, pose risks to us all – both through the pressures of enforced migration and the potential for an exponential increase in global terrorism networks.
We need to recognise that poverty, and the lack of opportunities that come with it, along with a deficit in the structures of democratic governance and institutions to safeguard human rights, can be drivers of conflict and terrorism. For this reason, we should, where possible, continue to help address those root causes.
Above all, perhaps the current pandemic and the awareness it creates will concentrate minds on addressing the key existential threat we now face as a planet – the impact of climate change and environmental degradation. None of us can address these threats alone. We need to work together, and refresh and reinvigorate our international institutions.
We do have a framework within which to address these issues as a global community in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are 17 goals and 169 targets, grouped around People, Prosperity, Planet and Peace. The fifth 'P' is Partnerships. The SDGs recognise that we all have a crucial role to play in achieving them by 2030. They are, by the way, universal goals – they apply as much to the UK as to India and Mexico, to France as to Indonesia and Liberia.