Apart from the evident health emergency that it has created worldwide, COVID-19 has highlighted social inequalities or deficiencies in the system to respond to this and other crises we may suffer in the future. The manner in which decisions are taken, who takes them, how they are taken, who needs to be involved… are just some of the issues that were debated and put on the table in the virtual meeting held by the ‘Leaders of the Future’ program sponsored by Agirre Lehendakaria Center.

Some of the terms used by the participants in the third edition of Leaders of the Future to define how they were experiencing the situation created by the coronavirus were: serenity/calmness, patience, hysteria, concern about the future, being adaptable, expectant…

The young participants in this third edition agreed that this crisis has highlighted social inequalities (from different perspectives: feminism, employment, homeless people and those in vulnerable situations, education, and the digital divide…) and the need to strengthen Sustainable Human Development.

In this respect, they considered the strategic role of innovation as an important factor because “it is necessary to establish a new way in which decisions are taken. The current situation of democracy, affected by globalization, interests and hierarchies, needs to move forward and attach importance to the participation of different stakeholders, the range of narratives available and collective interpretation, as well as multidisciplinary participation and contributions to establish needs and the responses to them”.

They also highlighted the various social and solidarity actions that the pandemic has brought with it: initiatives with a cultural basis, others on social media and at neighborhood level in which people in local communities help each other out. They also drew attention to a situation that has been sidelined in this crisis: support for sick people and their families and helping relatives to cope with the loss of loved ones.

Other points covered were individual freedoms and Big Data: What happens to these freedoms if our personal data is at the mercy of governments? Who will ensure that the data are used correctly? Can we decide if we grant their use or not? Should this granting of personal data be given for a particular period? Who will guarantee us our rights and freedoms?