Covid-19, in a world that cannot breathe

G2H2 civil society meeting
Wednesday 4 November 2020
15.00-17.00 hrs CET, Zoom

When we’ll look back to 2020 in a generation from now, the year 2020 might actually appear the breakthrough moment when  we realized that we were slowly suffocating.

We couldn’t breathe as the Covid-19 pandemic led to pulmonary infections and as we had to protect ourselves we needed to wear face masks.
We couldn’t breathe because of the soaring air pollution in dense urbanized areas and the blazing wildfires related to climate change.
We couldn’t breathe because we were starving, deprived of our daily means of life, packed in improbable “homes” and unable to move.
We couldn’t breathe as our voices were stifled by harsh regimes and surveillance systems that crushed legitimate political demonstrations and popular movements.

Social and environmental activists ushered their last breaths as extra-juridical bullets took their lives. People couldn’t breathe as centuries of oppression weighted upon them as a heavy load. Many animal species were long gone, their breathing a far memory from the past.  People couldn’t breathe because the house that they were living in could not be afforded anymore and the economic precarious situation pushed them on the streets. The entire humankind couldn’t breathe, except for the bare minority of the 1% who have secured themselves off in this world, behind high walls in their digitally protected power bubbles and safe spaces. Is this, the veil-tearing experience of the Covid19 year?

Nearing the end of 2020: A brainstorming meeting
…and a safe space and place to breathe

Our meeting wants to discuss about the unprecedented year 2020, nearing its end. During our civil society exchange we would like to ask participants feelings and impressions on how they’ll look back to 2020 in a generation from now, from a global health perspective, and from a perspective of their lives, the lives of the communities they belong to. What will we tell our children and/ or the young people then?

Will 2020 be the time when people finally gave in, or will it be the year open to kickstart a real transformation, a new route towards regeneration and repair?  Just a few hours  after the US-elections so crucial for the entire world, G2H2 wants to create a non-institutionalized, free space to imagine and tell each other the stories and the  inspirations gained through Covid-19, how we have come this long difficult year, and how we can achieve societies that are healthy, socially fair to everyone and in ecological  balance.

A video

We shall start out meeting with a 10-min video, to inspire our exchange:
A Message From the Future II — The Years of Repair

Some reflections

Aftter the video, selected respondents will provide their first brush of reflections

  • Anand Grover, former UN rapporteur on the Right to Health, India
  • Emilia Reyes, co-convenor of Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, Mexico

…and an open dialogue

After their interventions, G2H2 meeting participants will have ample space to compare notes, exchange experiences, share their viewpoints and ideas on how to make year 2020 the time for a regenerative beginning.  We all feel committed to the necessary act of repair. We all want to make 20202 the year when we started to breathe and inhale the ecosystemic oxygen again. These are some of our questions/provocations/assumptions to orient the conversation:

  • We have the strength of ideas, but perhaps we lack the idea of the strength, and the forms of strength. Since Covid19 proves us right, what do we need/what can we do to affirm the political alternative to the current political and economic systems in place?
  • What are the images of hope that we could rely on? What are the main elements of conflict and the pathways of transformation to be expected? What is the role of health in this transformation?
  • What do we mean, when we talk about “an economy of care”, what do we have in mind?
  • What story would you like to tell the next generation about the year 2020? What kind of story have you been part of, this Covid19 year?
  • What are you/ your community doing to recover your breathe again?

A G2H2 civil society meeting

Please note that this is not the (expected, standard) “G2H2 civil society meeting ahead of the World Health Assembly” but a safe space and place to breathe, from a global health perspective. Try it out. Join us. This civil society brainstorming meeting is open to all G2H2 members and others interested.

Thanks for having been with us!

Organizers, contact

  • Programme: Remco van de Pas (e-mail) and Nicoletta Dentico (e-mail)
  • Support, logistics: Thomas Schwarz (e-mail)

G2H2 Annual General Meeting

Thursday 5 November 2020, 16.30-18.30 hrs

The meeting is open to institutional and individual member of the Geneva Global Health Hub. Invitations were sent out on 24 September, via “G2H2-members” mailing list. Please register ahead of the meeting. Contact for enquiries: G2H2 Secretariat