Keynote Address by Ambassador Sumith Nakandala
New challenges and best practices of security industry during COVID-19 Pandemic situation
Mr. Chairman, fellow panelists and colleagues. At the outset let me extend very warm greetings from Sri Lanka, while I am currently under quarantine in Colombo.
I am grateful to the Center for Non-traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies, Zhejiang University and OSS International Collaboration Center and CGE Foundation for organizing this timely online Conference focusing on the International Cooperation on Digital Security and Emergency Response in Post COVID-19 Epidemic Era.
Without any exaggeration and ambiguity, one can conclude that COVID-19 as the most serious non-traditional security threat faced by the humankind in the contemporary times. In the recent past there had been several pandemics, but it was the COVID-19 which had transcended the national boundaries within very short span of time.
The impact on national economies had been greater than expected forcing the nations to revise their growth and development trajectories almost every month since scientific detection and identification of the virus.
More so has been on the cost on human lives forcing nations to proceed with either partial or complete lockdown, exerting unprecedented pressure on domestic health infrastructure and complete disconnection of global and regional value chains.
The pandemic has also disrupted all human activities and societal engagements or severally constrained thereof in an unprecedented scale in the human history. It has forced the world economy to be contracted by 5% to 10% in every nation State.
In order to salvage the economies and markets, the IMF has lent $100 bn as emergency loans. The World Bank has set aside $160 bn to lend over 15 months. It is estimated that low and middle-income countries will need between $15bn and $700bn a year.
The pandemic will also sharpen the inherited contradictions in socio-economic and political spheres in many countries and those signs are already visible in many parts of the globe.
Let me now turn to the new challenges posed by the viral pandemic and its impact on security industry and the need for regional and international cooperation.
Despite the fact, and the details are now unfolding, it seems that there had been certain amount of modeling undertaken by certain sections of the research and policy making communities in some countries on the possible impact of a global pandemic, results of such mathematical stimulations were not shared with the rest of the world.
Any Non-Traditional Security menace will invariably be a serious challenge to the established security architecture at national, regional and global levels. In many countries in Asia and the Pacific had not thought or visualized of a pandemic of current magnitude.
I would wish to venture to identify the following suggestions:
a. Reinvigoration of existing regional security architecture to meet the challenges posed by any Non-Traditional Security Threat, including COVID-19,
b. If the regional cooperation platforms, such as ASEAN, SARRC, IORA, BIMSTEC, ACD, SCO and CICA are not sufficient to address the challenges of NTS, it is important to devise and establish appropriate but effective functional platform encompassing entire Asia and the Pacific focusing on NTS,
c. While the nation States in Asia and the Pacific must provide required political commitment and the leadership, there should be sufficient participation of the private sector in strengthening the new security infrastructure which must be recognized as one of the ‘critical infrastructure’,
d. Effective intelligence sharing and early warning system on NTS,
e. Engagement in scientific stimulation practices and processes on possible future health related pandemics and share experiences,
f. Finally, consolidation of the gains of regional cooperation in its basic essence would be important.
I wish the 3rd International Forum on Non-Traditional Security which is being convened today all the success.
 Former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Netherlands, Iraq and Nepal. Former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the OPCW and the First Secretary General of BIMSTEC. Usual disclaimers apply and the views are personal.