The COVID-19 crisis has painfully exposed the deep inequalities and fragilities of the social, financial, political and economic systems under which we live. It has amplified already existing inequalities and exclusion, both within and between countries and communities. As such, it offers a moment for global society to ask: How did we get here? Why are we vulnerable on this scale? And how can we recover? Since 2015, the Partners for Inclusive Green Economy have been working together to build social, economic and environmental resilience, both globally and locally, through policy reforms that reduce system vulnerabilities.
Our work has led us to the following conclusions on the COVID-19 crisis:
● Our societies and economies must become better informed by science and better positioned to respond to uncertainty.
● The recovery should recognise the connections between human and environmental health, and go beyond merely responding to the pandemic towards building resilience to risks, including climate change, biodiversity collapse and widening inequality.
● To achieve this, stimulus and recovery efforts should address the underlying causes of these systemic risks, through inclusive, practical and targeted reforms and investments which balance socioeconomic and environmental priorities.
● Recovery plans should build towards the shared global vision of the Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda, which remain the most comprehensive and inclusive roadmap towards a positive future.
● The scale of public debt arising from the COVID lockdown risks severely reducing real or perceived fiscal space for public investment in many countries, particularly in the global South. Recovery spending should align with - rather than displace - essential spending on a green and fair transition.
● Collective action is needed to fund a strong, equalising and smart recovery. Investment will need to be driven by advanced economies with the fiscal space to make the crucial investments needed.
● Adequately addressing underlying systemic risks will require sustained effort beyond stimulus and early recovery phases, including longer term public spending and private investment. This necessitates strong support from society, implying that social dialogue and civil engagement in developing recovery policy is essential.
Informed by these conclusions, the Partners for Inclusive Green Economies offer 10 practical considerations for governments and other stakeholders, as we begin to look towards policies for our long term economic recovery and resilience. We commit to collaborate with and support our partner countries and others in implementing this agenda. We invite other institutions to join our efforts to support all stakeholders to build back better, in a way that is just, green, smart, risk-informed and transformative.