/ International Politics
We have seen digital coronavirus management in South Korea, night-time curfews in Kenya and Belgium and the first chaotic response to the pandemic in the USA. In other words, different parts of the world have taken very different approaches to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. However, we are also seeing global trends such as the rise in fake news, the complex balancing act between upholding personal freedoms and protecting the population’s health, and even the abuse of the pandemic to gouge inroads into democratic structures and processes. As a result, the coronavirus pandemic and its diverse impacts played a big role in the foundation’s international work in 2020.
Digital technology allowed our teams in other parts of the world to share their insights into government responses to the pandemic and their personal experiences of it. They have sharpened our view of the various approaches taken to dealing with the pandemic. Conducting project work in times when physical distancing is essential demands extraordinary creativity - and our teams have successfully risen to the challenge. We are especially proud and thankful to be able to present outstanding examples of our international activities in this report.
Although 2020 was overshadowed by the pandemic, the systematic attacks on liberal values and rights of freedom continued in many countries. One of those countries is Hong Kong. It was with a heavy heart that the foundation took the difficult decision of closing its Hong Kong project office to protect its employees. The civil society framework also continues to shrink in Russia and Turkey, posing further challenges to the foundation’s project work in those countries.
The coronavirus pandemic and its consequences will continue to affect our work in 2021. Restrictions imposed in the crisis must not be allowed to become permanent. We will be working to ensure this by supporting our partners in the development of political solutions to the crisis, in societal debates and in reviving the economy again.