MPC Webinar: ‘The effects of COVID-19 on Mobility and Citizenship’
As part of it’s ongoing Webinar Series on migration and mobility, the MPC will host a joint Webinar with the Global Citizenship Observatory, (GlobalCit), to present the following presentations;
To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments worldwide have undertaken a series of measure that radically disrupted human mobility, such as the sealing of national borders, mass evacuations and quarantines. These measures put in the limelight the state’s responsibility towards citizens living within and outside of its territorial confines, while raising important human rights concerns. In this talk, we use our original global dataset of COVID-19 travel restrictions to discuss how public responses to the pandemic challenge our thinking about the meaning and purposes of citizenship
What are the impacts of Covid-19 on mobility in Africa? The coronavirus has now hit almost every country in Africa. Altogether there are more than 22,000 confirmed cases with 1,126 deaths on the continent. All African countries have introduced laws for the closure of borders and restriction on both internal and international mobility: 42 countries have closed their borders and imposed lockdowns and restrictions of movement; 13 others have imposed partial closure. Most measures are based on public health acts and some on disaster emergency laws. Tens of thousands of African migrants have been deported from Middle Eastern countries, spiking the fear of local transmission. Remittances have sharply declined. Thousands of people are held for mandatory quarantine in sub-standard facilities. The most drastic impact of restrictions has been on the aviation, informal economy, tourism and trade. The impact of restrictions is strongly evident on the livelihoods of populations in border areas dependent on cross-border mobility specially for market, food, medicine, energy. Pastoralist are already hit hard by restriction on their movements to water their animals at night and sell their livestock. Crucially, the informal sector dominates the African economy, employing more than 70 percent of the population including in the cross-border economy. For every ten informal traders, six are women who are doing this to feed their families.
How is Covid-19 affecting countries in the Global South? Do the measures adopted in these countries differ from the ones in the Global North? Latin America has officially registered more than 130,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 6,000 deaths. The worst-hit country by far, for now, is Brazil, whose president has repeatedly denied the seriousness of the pandemic. This denial has led to very diverse policy responses at various levels: regional, national, subregional and local, with some countries establishing national lockdowns and others -like Brazil- having different national, subregional and even local approaches to the pandemic. These approaches are having very different effects on mobility.
Many politicians and academics around the world have already raised concerns about the economic, social and political difficulties that countries in the Global South -who have fewer economic resources, limited access to credit and less developed public health services- will likely face while struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. This presentation will look at the case of South America, that has some of the oldest and most developed regional integration processes -the Mercosur and the Andean Community- and which offers an illustrative example of the multilevel responses that countries in the Global South are adopting towards human mobility in the context of this global crisis.