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?
Leading Environmental Organizations Endorse New Green Recovery Guidelines
Leading environmental organizations endorse new green recovery guidelines, including strict conditions on the oil and gas industry.
Green or Brown? As lockdowns lift, governments face a recovery climate choice
Despite mounting pressure for economic rescue packages to be used to tackle climate change, most of the money spent so far on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic has gone towards propping up business as usual, according to three studies.
COVID-19: Fossil fuels dominate G20 recovery spend
G20 governments have committed $151bn to fossil fuels, compared with $89bn towards clean energy, according to Energy Policy Tracker, which follows climate- and energy-related recovery policies.
Governments put 'green recovery' on the backburner
Governments are spending vastly more in support of fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy in rescue packages triggered by the coronavirus crisis, new data has shown.
G20 Recovery Packages Benefit Fossil Fuels More Than Clean Energy
Are we building back better? EnergyPolicyTracker.org features weekly updated analysis of COVID-19 policy responses from a climate and energy perspective.
$10 billion needed to prevent Covid-19 hunger crisis
A UN report forecasts that the pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020 without urgent action
G20 Governments Commit USD 151 Billion to Fossil Fuels in COVID-19 Recovery
EnergyPolicyTracker.org, a new website tracking climate- and energy-related recovery policies, shows at least USD 151 billion from G20 governments in support of fossil fuels.
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Sustainable Development Goals
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Technology and Innovation
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Governance and Multilateral Agreements
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