Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Crisis: Building Back Better Aligned to the Paris Agreement and the SDGs



The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and WRI are hosting a series of global dialogues on how the world can respond to the COVID-19 economic crisis in ways that align with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. 

The purpose of this Global Dialogue series is to inform and guide approaches for recovery and reflating the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – to build back better with more resilient, sustainable and inclusive economies. The dialogues provide a space for a diverse group of invited participants to take part in an international, structured exchange to inform a joint narrative, strategy and recommendations. The Global Dialogue series has considered critical linked challenges that the world is facing during the COVID-19 crisis, including the climate crisis, the massive loss of biodiversity, issues of inequality, and how to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. See the full list of dialogue participants here.

Key Takeaways

Session 1: Aligning Economic Recovery with Inclusive, Decarbonized and Resilient Growth

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The critical time frame for action is the next six to 18 months when countries will invest $10-20 trillion or more in boosting economic growth in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Decisions we make now n the direction of recovery and economic stimulus measures will determine how green and resilient the world will be in years to come.

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Session 2: Toward Recovery and Long-term Resilience

We are more aware than ever of the need for global resilience, especially for the world’s most vulnerable. We must build back from the COVID-19 crisis in a way that strengthens global resilience to future shocks — such as climate change, pandemics, and economic crises — while simultaneously addressing the near-term challenges of unemployment, preventing massive food insecurity, and rebooting the economy.

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Session 3: Energy Transitions and Industry Bailouts

As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and demand for energy rebounds, we must ensure renewable energy and green technologies are at the center of the recovery process and that we pursue transformational pathways. Economic support should go towards industries and sectors that are fit for the future and in-line with climate and sustainability goals, not toward the industries and technologies of the past. 

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**Session 4: Biodiversity, Land-use and Nature-based Solutions in the Recovery** Environmental health and human health are deeply intertwined: As humans encroach further on natural ecosystems, the usual barriers between pathogens in animals are being eroded, increasing the risk for disease spillovers and of future pandemics. In the COVID-19 recovery, we need to implement systematic approaches that protect ecosystems and biodiversity and mobilize nature-based solutions — including in agriculture and food systems — that will address climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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**Session 5: Cities and Transport in the Recovery** Cities and transport systems are on the frontline of this unfolding crisis, and those in the developing world — and especially the urban poor — will be the hardest hit. Yet cities also offer some of the most promising opportunities for responding to the crisis with speed and impact. Economic support in the COVID-19 recovery should provide significant and long-lasting benefits in cities for health, equity, sustainability, and resilience to future shocks.

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The German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) provided funding to support the Global Dialogue.


David Waskow

Director, International Climate Initiative