SYMI 2020 July 26-30 | Athens – Lagonissi
ΠΑΝΔΗΜΙΑ – The world post COVID-19
Under the auspices of the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe
In cooperation with the Region of Attica
Co-organized with the Municipality of Athens
This year’s Symposium was dedicated to the memory of the cherished member of our Symi family,
Julian Perry Robinson, victim of the COVID-19 pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 – from open to closed societies?
In this year’s Symi Symposium, we addressed the different strategies used in tackling the epidemic and designing the opening up, in Greece and other countries around the world. In the spirit of the priorities set by the Greek Presidency of the Council of Europe, we also focused on the impact of the restrictive measures on democracy, human rights and the most vulnerable groups. Additionally, we exchanged views on the big changes brought by COVID-19 in economy, technology, health, energy, environment, trade as well as the societal consequences of the accelerated digital transformation.
COVID-19 has created huge challenges for open societies across the world. Strong public health systems have been proved of strategic importance, but international cooperation on medical research and vaccines is still very limited. Restrictive measures have been used as a pretext by authoritarian regimes for further undermining democratic rights. Disinformation and propaganda have significantly increased. Digital transformation increases inequalities, precipitating changes that surpass elected bodies and legislative check and balances. In these uncharted waters, the most vulnerable groups of our societies suffer the most. Racism, afrophobia, anti-semitism are on the rise, encouraged by populist leaders, white supremacists and the extreme right.
Special sessions were devoted to the need for enhanced regional cooperation, the new global geopolitical dynamics and the need to strengthen international agreements for preventing biological and chemical warfare.
Our deliberations culminated to the 2020 Symi Symposium Declaration which is a call to the international community to ensure multilateralism is the foundational reaction to pandemics and a global response is implemented that both prevents pandemics altogether, but also provides a framework that limits the possibility of fragmented national reactions.