Deeper Integration Essential to Fight COVID-19

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(Inter-American Development Bank) Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has no borders, neither must the solutions to address its health and economic consequences. Deepening regional integration in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is an essential part of creating collective policies to respond to the direct and indirect impacts of the emergency.

Regional integration is not an end but rather a strategic launchpad that will allow countries to effectively implement joint and coordinated policies, or both, which is essential to tackling the current situation.

In the very short term, local and regional cooperation is vital as the pandemic rages: if one country is not safe, no country is. The different integration initiatives in the region have gradually been moving toward measures to tackle the health crisis in a coordinated fashion.

For instance, Mercosur recently approved a special US$16 million fund primarily for improving the testing capacities of its member countries.

The Central American Integration System (SICA) has implemented a Regional Contingency Plan that will mobilize up to US$1.9 billion to address the health-related and economic consequences of the pandemic. This plan includes measures to coordinate efforts to prevent and contain the pandemic. It also calls for a joint mechanism for purchasing medicines and medical equipment and pushes fiscal and liquidity contingency measures.

CARICOM has also reinforced its response to the health emergency through regional teams of experts and cooperation to ensure food security.”

Read more at: Inter-American Development Bank

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