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

COVID-19 and Resilient Recovery

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has been first and foremost a humanitarian crisis. Efforts to contain the virus and support those directly affected remain of utmost importance. 

As thought leaders, it is 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 after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, three things became 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 from prior crises should be informing us now and accelerating efforts to build resilience in the face of climate change and other stressors.
  • We must act on this moment to "build back better." As governments around the world 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 now magnified, offering a window for change. The pandemic has been an unprecedented global shock that has amplified the corrosive impact of inequality, hitting the poorest and those without social safety nets the hardest. We must create more sustainable and inclusive economic systems that can improve well-being overall.

Harnessing this moment to create a better, more sustainable world is our utmost priority today.