Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), has called for concerted efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one country or actor can do this alone. There is a need for ‘concertedness’ and congruence of actions underpropped by the willingness to share resources and expertise if COVID-19 is to be defeated,” Dr Ibn Chambas said in a presentation at a recent meeting with the Rotary Club of Accra-Airport.
“At this time, we must not only come together, we must stay together to beat this pandemic.”
Speaking on the topic: “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on West Africa and Sahel”, Dr Ibn Chambas said, the relevance of Rotary Club 12 -An effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic must be underpinned by solidarity at both the national and international level.
“So, with the Rotary Club’s 35,000 plus member clubs worldwide and your 1.2 million individual Rotarians in Ghana, you constitute a group with the kind of mandate, leverage and potential through which the call for solidarity can be actualized,” he said.
“I know a lot of visibility is being given to the need for international solidarity in view of the globalized nature of the pandemic, but we must not underestimate the relevance of national and local solidarity especially in our context where community transmission is on the rise.”
He said Rotarians in Ghana have a central role to play to cushion the impact of this pandemic on communities from Walewale in the North to Prampram in the South and from Krachi in the East to Asankrangwa in the West.
He said the private-public partnership which was one of the hallmarks of the work of the Rotary Club in normal times should be the platform for an impactful, sustained and effective engagement in times of crises such as this.
Dr Chambas said Ghanaians should be able to rely on Rotary Club’s experience in delivering lifesaving assistance to the needy and populations in distress in complement to the efforts undertaken by Government.
He said Rotary Club’s reach and proximity to the community could provide valuable insights on a more inclusive approach to addressing the pandemic; declaring that “furthermore, moments of crises have a way of bringing out the best in humanity”.
“The Rotary Club has been exemplary in this regard. Your generosity is unrivaled. I have no doubt when I say this because I speak for millions who have been beneficiaries of your unending largesse and benevolence,” Dr Chambas said.
“Your work continues to give new meaning to the African proverb which says, ‘charity is the matter of the heart and not the pocket’. In this regard, I entreat you to plan for the long term as the impact of this pandemic will be incisive, lasting, dire and beyond the capacity of any single government in our region to handle alone.”
Dr Chambas said similarly, from a regional perspective, as they seek to unite the political will, promote coherence and sharing of resources and expertise, this should also extend to the humanitarian and philanthropic domain.
He said Rotary Club’s extensive network and membership in the region should facilitate resource sharing in order to support the efforts of states and communities that might be in greater need for financial and material support.
Adding that the concentric partnerships being formed to prevent and address conflicts could also be formed to further philanthropic acts.