COVID-19 Outbreak: Lessons for Armenia
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COVID-19 Outbreak: Lessons for Armenia

COVID-19 Outbreak: Lessons for Armenia

By Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan
Chairman, Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies, Yerevan, Armenia

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 epidemic is still evolving and it’s impossible to predict the day of final victory against the disease. Though it is still premature to assess the full impact of the epidemic, there are some lessons to be learned for other countries, including Armenia.

This outbreak emphasized that rapid globalization makes it more and more difficult to contain the spread of viruses. No country is able to isolate itself from this type of danger. Thus, truly multilateral efforts are needed to successfully fight against epidemics. Meanwhile, there is a gap between states’ capacities in dealing with such outbreaks. If developed and some developing countries possess the necessary resources to effectively react in case of emergencies, poor and resource scare states face problems. Meanwhile, pandemics may break in any part of the world and due to the global human flows viruses may quickly spread from poor countries to developed ones.

Isolationism and unilateral actions are not the best way to deal with the problem. Countries should cooperate with each other in the field of bio-security, share necessary information and knowledge. The institutional capacity building is another important sphere, were relevant experience sharing and support may boost countries' capabilities.

Armenia pays significant attention to the issues of biosecurity and strongly believes that international cooperation is one of the best ways to increase its capacities and capabilities. Armenia has launched active cooperation with the US in this field. Since 2008, with the participation of the Pentagon, about a dozen biological laboratories have been created in Armenia which are working on the US defense Biological Collaboration Program and are the property of Armenia. Biosecurity and effective disease control are among the priorities of Armenia-EU cooperation. Yerevan is preparing a cooperation agreement in the biological security sector with Russia. During his November 2019 visit To Armenia Russian foreign minister stated that the agreement text is almost ready and will be signed in the near future.

Meanwhile, the effective fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in China has proved the efficiency of Chinese capabilities in this sphere. Armenia should take notice of this and add the cooperation in the sphere of bio-security and disease control into its overall relations with China. Recently Yerevan and Beijing have made significant efforts to boost bilateral relations including the signature of the visa-free agreement in May 2019. Cooperation in biosecurity will diversify Armenian options here and will make Chinese experience and expertise available for enhancing the Armenian position in this field.

About the Author:

Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan
Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan is Founder and Chairman, Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies and also, Executive Director, Political Science Association of Armenia since 2011. He was Vice President for Research – Head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense Research University in Armenia in August 2016 – February 2019. He joined Institute for National Strategic Studies (predecessor of NDRU) in March 2009 as a Research Fellow and was appointed as INSS Deputy Director for research in November 2010. Before this, he was the Foreign Policy Adviser of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia. Dr. Poghosyan has also served as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences and was an adjunct professor at Yerevan State University and in the European Regional Educational Academy.

His primary research areas are the geopolitics of the South Caucasus and the Middle East, US – Russian relations and their implications for the region. He is the author of more than 70 Academic papers and OP-EDs in different leading Armenian and international journals. In 2013, Dr. Poghosyan was appointed as a "Distinguished Research Fellow" at the US National Defense University - College of International Security Affairs and also, he is a graduate from the US State Department's Study of the US Institutes for Scholars 2012 Program on US National Security policymaking. He holds a Ph.D. in History and is a graduate from the 2006 Tavitian Program on International Relations at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this insight piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the IndraStra Global.