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ISLAMABAD: Research is the key to economic, social and scientific development and the educational institutions in the country need to promote the culture of research.

This was the crux of a webinar organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), here on Tuesday.

Director of Economic Affairs and National Development at Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Dr Usman W Chohan while discussing the key points of his recent book on “Public Value and the Post-Pandemic Society” highlighted the policy crises engulfing emerging economies.

Chohan said that his book is divided into three sections. He was of the view that even countries that did well during the pandemic were struggling in the post-Covid era and that there were generalisable global worries to which Pakistan was no exception.

He said that the first section talks about changes and transitions and delves into the dynamics of value transition and stability in the post-Covid era.

The second section, titled "Asymmetries and Inequalities," scrutinises the heightened inequalities in the post-Covid world. The author argues that societal disparities worsened during the pandemic and persist in the aftermath. International inequalities are also accentuated, with certain nations, like Sri Lanka, disproportionately affected by global crises such as the war in Ukraine. These disparities contribute to the destruction of public value (PV) and necessitate increased coordination and cooperation within.

Resilience and learning, in the final section, the focus shifts to learning from crises and building resilience against future calamities. The author highlights persistence of 'necropolitics' willingness to sacrifice lives for perceived broader interests or normalcy in post-pandemic era.

The call is to counter “necropolitics” by embracing the “value-seeking imagination” advocated by PV scholarship. Sustainable approaches are deemed essential for creating and preserving PV, requiring a manifestation of healthy values in the public.

These challenges offer a unique occasion to consider how the mechanisms of PV creation and preservation can be rebuilt and improved, mindful of what has been left in the pandemic’s wake, and of the difficult road that lies ahead.

Destruction of Covid-19 pandemic has marked every society with deep-seated wounds whose scars have only begun to heal. Yet, even as societies take their first steps away from trauma of the pandemic, they confront new and perhaps equally daunting challenges in the post-Covid era, he said.

Chohan noted that the nation effectively managed the pandemic through a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders, including the government and broader society. This cooperation positioned Pakistan favourably in its swift return to normalcy. However, the subsequent post-pandemic period presented significant challenges for the country.

Moreover, he suggested that domestic and international asymmetries and inequalities were considerably worsening post-pandemic public disvalue and destruction.

As a way forward, he stressed that in the pursuit of more cohesive public value, it was crucial to underscore the importance of collaboration of leadership at various levels – international, national, and regional. Such leadership should prioritise delivering synergies across different scales of operation. Parallel to this, there was an urgent need to enhance the versatility and capacity of public health institutions, enabling them to reach across diverse sectors. In his view, this could be achieved by fostering a holistic engagement approach that incorporates all agents, from the private sector to civil society. By doing so, decision-making becomes more evidence-based, drawing from a wealth of diverse inputs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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