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.
Task Force for a Resilient Recovery
Ensuring Canadian governments get the best advice on building a resilient economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sustainable Recovery 2020 Campaign
Advocating for public spending that minimizes impacts on nature, accounts for climate risks, improves social cohesion, and stimulates green innovation.
Energy Policy Tracker
Providing a detailed, real-world picture of the current state of support for different energy types in recovery packages around the world.
COVID-19 and Sustainable Development
Canada Can't Afford to Put Climate Adaptation on the Back Burner
Investing in climate adaptation measures is an opportunity to demonstrate foresight, show leadership, protect our economy, and keep Canadians safe.
Canada’s Long-Term Plan Sets a Course for a Strong, Resilient Recovery
In its Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada charted an important path forward, setting the course for clean economic growth.
Three Ways COVID-19 Shows Vulnerable Workers Need Stronger Social Protections
The mining sector hasn't been spared from COVID-19; with sites closing and mobility restricted, the livelihoods of vulnerable workers are in jeopardy. What can be done to ensure no one is left behind?
53 Ways to Reform Fossil Fuel Consumer Subsidies and Pricing
We have an opportunity to reform harmful fossil fuel subsidies as part of a green recovery after COVID-19. Our experts explain how.
True recovery means looking to the future, not the past
The global call for a just, green recovery from COVID-19 will require planning for the short and long term. One immediate need is to stop subsidizing the polluting, climate-altering fossil fuel industry.
U.S. Fossil Fuel Sector Has Come Out Far Ahead of Renewables in Pandemic Relief
At least $71.6 billion in federal funds has been allocated to the U.S. fossil fuel industry since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, while $349.5 million has been devoted to renewable energy.
COVID-19 Has Canada Using More Plastic. How will it impact our fresh water?
How can Canada's leaders protect our fresh water from plastic pollution without compromising our health and safety?
Our Fresh Water Is Seeing More Plastic Litter due to COVID-19: Here’s what Canada should do about it
As part of the changes to our daily life brought about by COVID-19, Canadians’ reliance on certain types of single-use plastics has increased. We explore that impact on fresh water, and explain what we need to do about it.
Green Recovery Know-How From the Nordics
Nordic countries are known for combining healthy economic growth with solid social and environmental policies. What's their secret to green recovery?
How Food Export Restrictions Could Worsen a Looming Food Crisis
This policy brief draws on analysis in the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker to examine how food-importing countries could be affected by recent measures to restrict exports.
COVID-19 and Food Export Restrictions: Comparing today’s situation to the 2007/08 price spikes
This policy brief draws on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI’s) COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker to compare how governments have reacted to the current crisis with how they did during the 2007/08 food price spike.
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