An older man wearing a face mask stands behind a row of supermarket carts

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our views are shaped by IISD's threefold mission to advance a stable climate, sustainable resource development, and fair economies.

The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis. Efforts to contain the virus and support those directly affected are of utmost importance. At IISD, that means our first focus has been on the health and safety of our staff and our own efforts to flatten the curve.

As leaders, it is also our responsibility to look ahead and assess how the pandemic and the global recovery from it will affect the future of sustainable development.

In the months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, three things have become crystal clear:

  • Resilience is essential. The lack of planning and preparation for the outbreak has starkly demonstrated the importance of resilience: the ability for human systems to anticipate, cope, and adapt. Lessons learned now can accelerate our efforts to become more resilient in the face of climate change and other stressors.
  • We must act on this moment to “build back better.” As governments around the world race to implement support packages to keep individuals, businesses, and economies afloat, we must ensure these measures pave the way to a more sustainable economy and do not lock us further into a high-carbon future.
  • Inequality is magnified, offering a window for change. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global shock that amplifies the corrosive impact of inequality, hitting the poorest and those without social safety nets the hardest. This has accelerated efforts to create more sustainable and inclusive economic systems that can improve well-being overall.

So, with all this in mind where do we go from here? Harnessing this moment to create a better, more sustainable world is our urgent task.

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