Six major challenges facing governments in 2021

2020 is full of challenges for world leaders. No country has escaped the COVID-19 pandemic or its related economic, educational, and national security crises. The problems of climate change are becoming even more acute than they already are, with a record number of natural disasters, including fires, hurricanes and droughts. And geopolitical instability has become a shared experience within and between countries, affecting countries that have been fragile for a long time and those previously considered the cornerstones of the population. master and stable. These challenges persist into 2021.

People and businesses are looking to their government leaders to help them navigate and emerge stronger in the face of these complex, large-scale issues. Most stakeholders have accepted that going back to the way things were in 2019 is not an option — or even a goal. Thinking ahead to 2022, they want a better future, through the lessons of 2020 and now 2021.

Although the challenges that governments face are nearly universal, the way leaders address them can vary considerably, depending on the structure and ideology of government. Because the well-being of society as a whole is at stake, potential solutions need to be all-inclusive.

Six pressing challenges

Rising levels of inequality within and between countries have contributed to the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and created significant geopolitical uncertainty. Economic and social systems often increase inequality, which can then exacerbate social polarization and undermine national safety and security. Arrive reinventing a more sustainable future, Governments must address six core challenges, with a focus on reducing inequality and promoting shared prosperity. While each challenge is discrete, they are significantly interdependent, so failure to address one challenge can have adverse effects on the others. This is why an executive-level, inter-ministerial, inter-agency plan will be crucial for success.

1. Economy. More than 493 million full-time jobs, mostly held by women and young people, were lost in 2020, and global GDP fell by 4.3%. The Attention International Monetary Fund that this crisis could have been much worse had it not been for strong government intervention. Governments have provided unprecedented levels of support to businesses and people through direct funding, investments, tax breaks and targeted distribution of goods. However, this level of support has come at the expense of increased government debt.

The World Bank is predict a modest recovery by 2021, with 4% growth in global production, dependent on successful large-scale COVID-19 vaccination and government policies and programs to promote private sector growth and reduce public sector debt.

2. Health care. It’s counter-intuitive, but global spending on healthcare is expected to fall 1.1% increase in 2020, due to delayed or canceled care for illnesses or treatments unrelated to COVID-19. While patients are starting to cancel in some cases, capacity constraints are also a big factor – and all this deferred care is expected to increase the healthcare challenge in 2020. 2021 and 2022. COVID-19 has highlighted barriers in most elements of the healthcare value chain, including supply chains, preventive drugs, primary care, and inpatient facilities.

Over the next few months, public health officials must double-focus their mutation response efforts and vaccine distribution. Over the medium to long term, governments will need to evaluate ways in which they can make health care systems more resilient to reduce the impact of adverse public health events in the future.

3. Education. Before the pandemic, education reform was on the agenda in most countries. It has been estimated 90% of students in low-income countries, 50% in middle-income countries and 30% in high-income countries have left secondary school without the life skills needed to navigate the workforce. work and life. Temporarily closed for more than 180 countries At some point during the pandemic, the problem has compounded, with an estimated 1.6 billion students out of school. Most educators have worked tirelessly to provide distance learning to students, but resources are limited and results are mixed. UNICEF Estimates As a result of school closures, 24 million children have become at risk of dropping out of school, and many of the 370 million children who depend on school meals may be malnourished.

In addition to transforming traditional education programs to better serve all students, governments must also determine how to pave the way to a better future through adult education. Tackling unemployment and fueling economic recovery will rely in part on adult re-skilling programs, including digital improve skills. Government leaders must also determine how to fund higher education if the shift to virtual learning continues.

Transforming education at all levels will need to include a combination of digital aids, curriculum revisions, use of new learning methods, upskilling of teachers, and redesign. structure.

4. National safety and security. Duties of defense and security forces expanded and will continue to be important. More than 91% of the world’s population has suffered from some form of lockdown and border restrictions since the outbreak of the pandemic. Police and security agencies, technology and private contractors were used to monitor and enforce the restrictions. In addition, border management policies continue to change based on new virus and vaccine data.

Crime, including domestic violence, theft and robbery, has increased in many countries during the pandemic. The same goes for political events, including rallies and protests. The researchers speculate that the state of deadlock, unemployment and despair among citizens has played a role in the increase in these crimes and events. Some rallies and demonstrations are also considered “super-spreader” events, increasing the spread of COVID-19 due to the lack of social discrimination and mask-wearing among participants.

Digital security has emerged as a risk equal to or greater than physical security. Cybercrime has increased dramatically as governments and businesses race to become more digital. In the post-closure environment, governments must address the risks associated with their digital agenda, in addition to security and stability challenges related to immigration, border management and political events.

5. Climate. While the world has battled COVID-19, the fight against climate change continues. NASA officially ranks 2020 was the hottest year on record and the past seven years were the warmest in human history. Extreme weather-related events, including hurricanes, wildfires, floods and heat waves, are common in 2020.

Governments have set ambitious climate agendas, with commitments to create policies, regulations and incentives to accelerate decarbonisation. But only two countries currently achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Many can make a positive impact through “green recovery” programs and other related measures to direct stimulus funds into clean energy, sustainable manufacturing and infrastructure businesses. green. Even governments that do not support the clean energy agenda must consider climate adaptation and disaster response strategies.

6. Trust in government. Misinformation around the world estimated cost $78 billion annually, excluding social impacts. In many countries, it erodes trust in government leaders and affects the course of elections. The lack of clear structures, roles, and effective responses to citizens’ pressing concerns and needs only adds to distrust. Trust in governments has increased at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but over the course of the response, governments have been seen as the most unethical and most incompetent stakeholder, according to the report. 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Most governments have not pivoted away from traditional operating models to adopt the agile, whole-of-government approach needed for today’s rapidly evolving and interconnected agenda. Ministries and branches must coordinate with each other. The current crisis also exposes a lack of clarity about the roles and responsibilities of national versus local governments, leaving voters feeling vulnerable.

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