Afghanistan, along with the rest of the world, faces major uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic—a shock that complicates this assessment of the Afghan peace process and the challenges that lie ahead, After nearly two years of formal negotiations, the United States and the Taliban signed an “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” in Doha, Qatar on February 29, 2020.
The novel coronavirus pandemic poses widespread risks to public health and economic stability around the world—but it also has particularly worrying implications for the recent progress towards ending the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan. The pandemic will greatly complicate efforts to overcome the already significant obstacles to the implementation of the Afghan peace process foreseen in the February 29 agreement between the United States and the Taliban. The prevalence of the virus in Afghanistan is still unknown, given the weakness of healthcare systems and the lack of testing.
This week, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank all cancelled big meetings in favor of virtual connections due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. We’re watching multilateral institutions switch gears in real time to cope with impact of a novel coronavirus outbreak that’s unfolding rapidly on a global scale.
In February, more than 150 people representing 80+ governments, multilaterals, think tanks, and civil society organizations from around the world came together in the Hague to share compelling new ideas for using data-driven approaches for the public good—in this case, for peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
(CC BY-SA 2.0) Sasha India
In October 2019, following a landmark legal case, Mexico’s tax administration was forced to publish information on almost every case of tax rebate and cancellation issued from 2007 to 2015. The publication of this data, which included cases involving many of Mexico’s wealthiest and well-known personalities, sent shockwaves through Mexican society. Outraged citizens flooded social media with images of the ostentatious spending of tax-rebate recipients.