03 June 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has a significant short- and long-term impact on many aspects of the civilian dimension of security. This draft special report firstly examines the link between repressive policies and the aggravation of the health crisis. It shows that human rights restrictions in China have had a negative impact on the initial development of the health crisis. It also describes how, subsequently, limitations on fundamental freedoms and lack of transparency were catalysts for the crisis.

Secondly, the draft special report analyses the threat posed by the increased dissemination of disinformation and propaganda in the context of the health crisis. In particular, some authoritarian countries, notably China and Russia, are exploiting the pandemic to promote their governance model. In response to this informational risk, NATO is increasing its communication efforts regarding its supporting and coordinating role with Allies in responding to the crisis.

Finally, the draft special report examines the emergence or aggravation of related societal challenges as a result of the health crisis. It analyses the impact of displacement and migration on the global spread of COVID-19, as well as the effects of the crisis on the most vulnerable populations. It also addresses the reinforcement of gender inequalities and violence against women as well as the negative impacts of the crisis on children and young people.

In the face of these challenges, the draft special report concludes by calling for renewed international and multilateral cooperation during and after the health crisis. Such a revival is indeed necessary to deal with a cross-border threat like COVID-19. It will also be necessary once the crisis is over in order to collectively draw the necessary lessons from the crisis and the various responses to it. This will allow the world to be better prepared for similar potential threats in the future.