28 January 2021 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath | Photo Sonia Small
Prof Phillippe Burger.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entire world, claiming more than two million lives and sparing no region. The world is confronted with urgent unsolved challenges, with the poor and vulnerable populations, low-skilled workers, and refugees most affected. 

These challenges will be addressed by the Lancet COVID-19 Commission and its various task forces, one of which is the Fiscal Policy and Financial Markets task force. Prof Philippe Burger, Professor of Economics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Poverty, Inequality and Economic Development at the University of the Free State, serves as a member of the commission’s Fiscal Policy and Financial Markets task force. The eleven members of the task force include two Nobel prize laureates in economics, as well as academics and public-policy specialists from across the world, under the co-chairpersonship of Dr Vitor Gaspar (Director of the Department of Fiscal Affairs at the IMF) and Prof Felipe Larraín (Professor of Economics, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and former Minister of Finance of Chile).

The commission is an interdisciplinary initiative across the health sciences, business, finance, and public policy, and was created to help speed up global, equitable, and lasting solutions to the pandemic. The work of the commission is divided into 12 task forces, each composed of members from diverse disciplinary interests, geographies, and identities. These task forces provide support in areas ranging from vaccine development to humanitarian relief strategies, to safe workplaces, to global economic recovery. 

Key aims of the commission is to speed up awareness and the worldwide adoption of strategies to suppress transmission, as well as to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines and key technologies are equitably accessible across the world.

The Fiscal Policy and Financial Markets task force will consider fiscal and financial issues related to the pandemic affecting advanced, emerging market, and developing economies. Based on evidence and best practices, the task force will provide recommendations on managing the effects of the pandemic and will also manage the transition to a resilient, smart, inclusive, and green growth path. Issues related to fiscal sustainability as well as debt relief in poor countries are on the task team’s agenda.

Many multilateral institutions such as the WHO, the IMF, the World Bank, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN, the UN World Food Programme, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and others face profound challenges in undertaking their crucial missions to coordinate the global response to the pandemic. The Lancet COVID-19 Commission also aims to make recommendations to strengthen the efficacy of these critical institutions. Moreover, the commission reaches out to regional groupings, including the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and others, to support the efforts of these bodies in fighting the pandemic. 

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission and its task teams include leaders in health science and healthcare delivery, business, politics, and finance from across the world. They volunteer to serve in their individual capacities – not as formal representatives of their home institutions – and will work together towards a shared and comprehensive outlook on how to stop the pandemic and how best to promote an equitable and sustainable recovery. 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.