The WTO publishes 6 recommendations on Covid-19

The WTO issued six recommendations to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic based on previous experiences and related policy interventions.

Overall, these are various policy measures aimed at overcoming the immediate effects of the pandemic and building back better.

The WTO and its recommendations:

  • Promote and update surveillance systems and innovation in real-time data collection and analysis: surveillance systems must be updated to provide timely information and analysis on agri-food systems and vulnerable groups.

For the WTO, these systems will make it possible to detect areas of vulnerability, as well as critical points and bottlenecks in agri-food systems, in addition to contributing to the control of risks and the evaluation of initiatives and policies.

  • Link short- and long-term policy measures and investments: Policy measures must link the emergency response to long-term sustainable development.

From the point of view of the WTO, the pandemic provides an opportunity to reorient policies and investments in order to prop up agri-food systems, not only to meet current needs, but also to lay the foundations for long-term recovery .

Transforming agri-food systems and remedying structural constraints is key to strengthening the resilience of systems and people and to coping with future pandemics.

  • Improving policy coordination and correcting long-term structural problems: Policy coordination among the main institutional actors (in the areas of food, health, finance, security and planning) is vital to face the consequences from the pandemic, but also to catalyze long-term recovery efforts.

For policies to be coordinated effectively, responsible agencies need to have a clear mandate and powers that go beyond emergency response, to strengthen resilience and respond to structural problems and vulnerabilities.

International trade

  • Recovery must be inclusive: In keeping with the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, the policy response, for both short-term emergency aid and long-term recovery, must focus on the most vulnerable and leave no one behind .

Above all, interventions must explicitly acknowledge the specific difficulties women experience in the multiple roles they perform.

  • Keep trade open and ensure international cooperation: One of the main lessons of the pandemic to date is that we must intensify international cooperation and avoid unilateral actions.

However, cooperation must also include measures to remove obstacles and frictions at borders, which have caused delays, shortages and waste.

  • Reduce the negative effects of malnutrition on Covid-19 morbidity and mortality and the incidence of the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 on nutrition: fight malnutrition, obesity and non-communicable diseases related to Food is key, since it contributes to increasing morbidity and mortality from Covid-19.

However, according to the WTO, reducing the consumption of nutritious food is one of the main strategies of households to cope with the loss of income caused by the pandemic, which aggravates the negative impact of it.