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?
World Leaders Must Play Their Part in Rethinking Trade to Help Us “Build Back Better”
While the question of who will lead the WTO is important, political leaders must also renew their commitment to working together.
It doesn’t require a ‘social revolution’: pandemic reshaping what’s possible
In a span of fewer than six months, the pandemic has upended, encroached, and transformed just about every facet of life. The months ahead may help set the course for how society adapts.
Solving our Food Crisis Requires a Fundamental Transformation of the System
Global food supply is at an all-time high, yet so is hunger. Why the contradiction? And how can we solve this challenge with policy?
Canada's long-term economic recovery
Richard Florizone, head of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, discusses proposals to transform Canada's economy post-pandemic.
Part 1 – How Can India’s Energy Sector Recover Sustainably from COVID-19?
From IISD and CEEW, Part 1 of a three-part commentary series takes a deep dive into how India’s energy sector is coping with the impacts of COVID-19 and what this means for the sustainable energy transition.
COVID-19 Aid for Canada’s energy sector weighted towards fossil fuels
Federal energy and environment officials were warned in late April that Canada’s clean-tech sector was in danger as COVID-19 knocked the bottom out of the industry.
Spending to Build Back Better
The response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has seen unprecedented public spending. As economies reopen, we can expect even higher sums of public money to be spent on rebooting consumption and upgrading public infrastructure.
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