Influential group of institutions urge governments to 'insert the DNA of a green economy into all recovery efforts'
The growing global consensus on the need to build a green recovery from the economic wreckage of the coronavirus crisis has been yet further underlined by a set of green policy demands released today to mark World Environment Day by host of influential institutions, including the OECD and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
The 12 organisations which make up the Partners for Inclusive Green Economy have identified 10 core principles they argue should inform national and international recovery efforts, with a strong focus on tackling climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainable development, and inequalities.
As countries prepare stimulus plans to rebuild their economies from the damage causes by the coronavirus pandemic, the institutions are calling on governments to use the opportunity to "redouble efforts to meet the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement".
Fiscal stimulus and financial aid packages handed to struggling industries and businesses should "accelerate the transition to a fair and green economy - not undermine it", the recommendations state, while also stressing the importance of reducing future systemic risks and boosting economic resilience.
In addition, they call on governments to accelerate the energy transition, "tackle" fossil fuel subsidies, strengthen human rights protections, combat gender inequality, and focus on assisting small and medium companies with the shift towards greener practices.
"Pursuing economic recovery, social protection as well as human and ecosystem health need to be an overarching goal for countries," said Kumi Kitamori, head of green growth at OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). "We need to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic model that prioritises green and low-carbon policies."
Others backing the demands include the International Labour Organisation, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, Poverty-Environment Action for SDGs, UN Environment Programme, Global Green Growth Institute, and the Green Economy Coalition.
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said the path to recovering from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 provided economies, societies and communities with an opportunity to "push the hard reset button on their relationships with the environment".
"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," he said.
Calls for a green economic recovery that accelerates decarbonisation and builds in greater resilience to shocks have reached fever pitch in recent weeks, with hundreds of major companies, investors and influential organisations and campaign groups seemingly broadly united on the issue.
The European Commission last month unveiled a major €1.85tr recovery package it promised would prioritise the shift to a net zero economy, while Germany this week announced plans to assign €40bn to climate-related initiatives as part of its new stimulus package.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled his desire to "build back better" from the current crisis by investing in green infrastructure and the government is set to unveil its own hotly-anticipated economic recovery package next month, with the Treasury reportedly pushing for a focus on a "green industrial revolution".
However, details remain scant at present and campaigners were left disappointed yesterday when it was confirmed that the Bank of England's Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) has provided billions of pounds in loans to carbon intensive businesses with seemingly no climate-related conditions attached.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma also calls for 'global green recovery' as top government figures offer further signs the green economy could be set to benefit in economic stimulus plans
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