On World Environment Day, 5th June 2020, global institutions working on development, labour and environment have united around key actions for spurring a green, just and transformative recovery.
The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating existing global inequalities within and between countries and communities, while exposing how vulnerable our socio-economic systems are to external shocks.
The Partners for Inclusive Green Economy1 are calling for recovery efforts that recognise the interdependencies between human and environmental health, and aim to build resilience to even more profound risks on the horizon - biodiversity loss, widening inequality and climate change.
There are already some inspiring examples of countries and decision makers taking leadership to prioritise green and pro-poor stimulus packages. If these efforts can build towards deeper and more integrated policy approaches, developed in consultation with stakeholders and civil society, the response to COVID-19 could provide a powerful accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.
Together, the partner organisations have identified the following ten policy options that will guide a fast, fair and green recovery:
1. The Green Economy Principles of Wellbeing, Justice, Sufficiency & Efficiency, Planetary Boundaries, and Good Governance should guide recovery plans and actions.
2. Advance national green economy plans, ‘Green Deals’, green industrial strategies and COVID-19 recovery plans to build long-term resilience and prosperity. Countries should use this opportunity to redouble efforts to meet the ambitions of the SDGs and Paris Agreement.
3. Structure fiscal stimulus and financial aid packages to accelerate the transition to a fair and green economy - not to undermine it.
4. Recognise and value the role of nature in reducing systemic risks, and mitigate the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks by addressing their root causes.
5. Build resilience to external shocks by investing in sustainable infrastructure and stronger public health and environmental protection.
6. Strengthen and broaden inclusive social protection mechanisms and advance human rights.
7. Accelerate the energy transition and tackle fossil fuel subsidies.
8. Apply a gender-responsive approach to the recovery to effectively address underlying issues of gender inequality.
9. Prioritise small and informal enterprises to accelerate the private sector transition to greener practices.
10. Improve global cooperation and coordination to more effectively respond to other global crises.
Quotes from the partners
“As much of the world starts to slowly recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our economies, our societies and our communities now have an opportunity to push the hard reset button on their relationships with the environment,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “In particular, we must insert the DNA of a green economy into all recovery efforts – this is crucial not only to protect ecosystems and biodiversity and restore nature but it will also bring other concrete benefits including the creation of new green jobs and reductions in inequalities while fostering more resilient communities.”
“Lurching from one crisis to another, with even larger crises looming, is neither acceptable, nor inevitable. The COVID-19 response represents a profound fork in the road, a choice on which path to choose. It is time to get serious about change and to put improving the health of nature and reducing inequality at the heart of our recovery.” - Oliver Greenfield, Convenor of the Green Economy Coalition.
“The policy and investments decisions taken today will mitigate or amplify future risks to humanity and our economies. An inclusive and green economic recovery requires collective, coherent and decisive action through broader networks of partnerships such as the Partners for Inclusive Green Economy.” - Asad Naqvi, Head, UN PAGE Secretariat
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the frailties and inequalities of economies and societies around the world. Governments, workers and employers have a unique opportunity to build a better normal, a green recovery, that protects people and planet and promotes sustainable growth.” - Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Coordinator, ILO Green Jobs Programme
“The COVID-19 pandemic and associated policy responses have highlighted the interconnectedness and fragility of our socioeconomic systems. Pursuing economic recovery, social protection as well as human and ecosystem health need to be an overarching goal for countries. We need to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic model that prioritises green and low-carbon policies.” - Kumi Kitamori, Head, Green Growth, OECD
"COVID-19 reminds us of the importance of rethinking how our economies interact with nature, we need to keep in mind that in reality we need economic revitalization that supports sustainability. Without this, we will simply end up trading one crisis for another. It is crucial for the international community to work together as the world is profoundly connected, where risk and consequences are shared among all of us." - Ben Simmons, Head, Green Growth Knowledge Partnership
“The 2030 Agenda commits that we will leave no one behind in our quest for sustainable development. With the COVID-19 crisis amplifying the deep and dangerous inequalities that already exist across the globe and in our communities, there is a real and pressing risk of pushing the most vulnerable people yet further behind. Building green and fair economies – that guarantee human rights and ensure gender equality – will be critical in putting the world on a path of sustainability, resilience, and social justice.” - Paul Ladd, Director, UNRISD
“We remain steadfast in greening the future together and facing what is to come with a strengthened commitment to sustainable, inclusive development, knowing that embracing a green economic transformation together will lead to the Future We Want.” - PAGE Management Board
For any further information please contact:
ILO: Rosalind Yarde: firstname.lastname@example.org
GEC: Emily Benson: email@example.com
UN: Megan Billings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Partners for Inclusive Green Economy is an initiative involving UNEP, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Green Economy Coalition (GEC), the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Poverty-Environment Action for SDGs (PEA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Partnership for Action on Green Economy (UN-PAGE) and United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
Are climate COPs almost out of (fossil) fuel?
Our convenor Oliver Greenfield reflects on his time at the 2022 UN climate negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh