City2City
5 Pillars for a Green and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19

14 September 2020 - Building an inclusive, green and resilient recovery is an urgent and shared global challenge. The COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to engage people in thinking about what kind of growth we want, and the importance of making human, societal and planetary well-being central to all our policies and institutions.

14 September 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis is likely to push tens of millions of people back into poverty and undercut efforts to improve human well-being around the world. And as bad as things are, this is only a preview of how the climate crisis and the destruction of nature will threaten our economies and societies.

Yet we have all the means necessary to take a better, safer path. If countries design their economic recovery plans wisely, they can tackle the health pandemic and climate crises in tandem. We have a small window of time to not only build back, but to build back better. No one wants to return to a society with high unemployment, food insecurity, accelerating destruction of nature, traffic jams and air pollution. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redesign our economies and societies to be more resilient to global shocks, to be more sustainable and to leave no one behind.

WRI and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) just concluded a series of global dialogues on how the world can respond to the COVID-19 crisis in ways that align with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. These conversations brought together several dozen thought leaders from research institutes, foundations, international organizations and civil society around the world.

Key insights from this dialogue have been captured in the BMU and WRI Global Dialogue Summary for Policymaking which was delivered to governments just ahead of a September 3 ministerial meeting to launch Platform for Redesign 2020, an initiative led by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and supported by the UNFCCC. This is a timely and critical opportunity for high-level government officials and others to exchange views on how to integrate sustainability and resilience into economic recovery programs. 

It is our hope that governments learn from the knowledge gathered by the BMU and WRI Global Dialogue and deliver not only words of solidarity but ambitious action to tackle the COVID-19 and climate crises simultaneously.  

Here are five key takeaway messages from the BMU and WRI Global Dialogue:

1. People Must Be at the Heart of a Green and Resilient Recovery

The impacts of the pandemic and economic lockdown have led to a stark decline in development gains, disproportionately affecting low-income and vulnerable households, communities and countries. Disparities have sharpened within countries and between the developed and developing world; the latter have experienced a “perfect storm” of unemployment, capital flight, loss of remittances and increasing debt leading to the largest economic contraction in decades.

Given these unprecedented impacts, countries must pursue a recovery that puts the well-being of people at the center. The focus must be on jobs, livelihoods, social protection measures and resilience. To do this right, we’ll need an approach that looks at these issues in a granular way to understand which workers, communities and geographies are most affected, and how tailored relief and recovery policies and investments can best support them. 

And importantly, we’ll have to make sure that local communities help shape their own recoveries. Social dialogue and stakeholder participation must be fundamental to the recovery process. As was asserted by a representative of a grassroots group at the dialogues, the response must be pursued “with us, not for us.” 

2. Governments Must Ramp Up Their Investment in a Green Recovery

While some countries are leading the way with green and resilient recovery plans — particularly in Europe and some developing countries, such as Jamaica — in others the outlook appears mixed or headed in the wrong direction. We need to move beyond rhetoric and ensure that countries make substantial investments in redesigning our power sector, buildings, transportation and food systems that can put us on a transformational path. At the same time, we must avoid high-carbon corporate bailouts, investments and regulatory changes that are happening in too many instances and could lock in dangerous emissions for years to come.

We need to ensure that recovery investments and policies in fact achieve both short- and long-term objectives. Clear metrics for sustainability, along with ongoing reviews to provide accountability, are essential.

3. Building Resilience is Key for an Effective Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that resilience is fundamental to the future when it comes to challenges such as health, climate, biodiversity, food and building more inclusive societies. While some recovery plans have begun to address climate action in areas such as renewable energy and buildings, there has been much less attention to strengthening resilience to climate change and to favoring nature-based solutions. Building resilience can range from drought-resistant seeds and more efficient irrigation that help farmers adapt to extreme droughts to restoring mangrove forests that help buffer tidal surge and protect communities from strong storms. A landmark report by the Global Commission on Adaptation highlights the strong economic benefits of investing in resilience. Economic benefit-cost ratios that range from 2:1 to 10:1 are common for many investments in climate resilience.

4. Global Crises Are Often Interlinked  

Over the last 20 years, a range of crises — financial, refugees, climate, health — have exposed interdependencies across sectors and borders. These crises are interlinked; for example, unchecked human encroachment on nature is one of the root causes for zoonotic pandemics.

To reduce risk and better manage future complex crises, we must recognize these links. This requires building the right partnerships to reach key decision-makers (such as finance ministers) beyond the climate “bubble” and building strong alliances with other movements and constituencies such as those on health, labor, inequality and nature. In addition, the recovery process should leverage commitments and action for the upcoming decade catalyzed by the Paris Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

5. International Cooperation and Solidarity Are Critical

Countries must work together to overcome challenges that don’t respect national borders. Developing countries will need additional resources to build back better. Bilateral development cooperation and international finance institutions such as the IMF and multilateral development banks must play a robust role in filling this gap. Private finance for green and resilient infrastructure and cities will need to increase. Local financial markets must be strengthened. Many developing countries will require debt restructuring or cancellation. International cooperation and solidarity must step up in times of crisis.

Redefining Growth and Development

Building an inclusive, green and resilient recovery is an urgent and shared global challenge. The COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to engage people in thinking about what kind of growth we want, and the importance of making human, societal and planetary well-being central to all our policies and institutions.

The stakes are high, but as the pandemic and resulting lockdown has demonstrated, extraordinary interventions are possible. Almost everywhere, safeguarding human health has moved to the center of policymaking and public investment. Almost as soon as that happened, we experienced a different world: better air, water, less traffic and noise, and often more engagement with community, family and nature. While the severe pain of the crisis must not be underestimated, these experiences can be seen as a postcard from the future — a way to help us picture the future we want.

Stimulus packages are being designed quickly and the urge to take action is justifiably strong. If we are going to truly build back in a manner that responds to the climate and biodiversity crises and advances the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to collect the evidence and build public and political support at an even faster pace. The ministerial meeting hosted by Japan this week is a critical opportunity to set the world on a better course.

Norbert Gorissen is the deputy director general of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Original Article Link: https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/5-pillars-green-and-resilient-recovery-covid-19?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2020-9-9&utm_medium=email&utm_content=title

Image: Woman in face mask on subway. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Success or Crisis in 2030? The Fight to Halve Food Loss and Waste

14 September 2020 - Join Champions 12.3 for a candid look at food loss and waste around the world, from farms to business supply chains to household kitchens. This event will shine a light on reasons for hope, even as the pandemic reveals deep problems in the food system, and lay out an urgent call for bigger and bolder action.

14 September 2020 - Can the world achieve all it needs to in order to halve food loss and waste by 2030? Or in a decade’s time will we face an insurmountable mountain of food wasted between farms and people’s plates – and the resulting social, environmental, and economic consequences?

Join Champions 12.3 for a candid look at food loss and waste around the world, from farms to business supply chains to household kitchens. This event will shine a light on reasons for hope, even as the pandemic reveals deep problems in the food system, and lay out an urgent call for bigger and bolder action.

Date and Time: September 24, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM EDT | Online

Register here

Speakers

  • Dave LewisGroup Chief Executive, Tesco
  • Liz GoodwinDirector, Food Loss and Waste, WRI
  • Craig HansonVice President, Food, Forest, Water and Ocean, WRI
  • Marcus GoverChief Executive, WRAP
  • Yolanda KakabadseBoard Member and Former President, WWF US
  • Shenggen FanChair Professor, China Agricultural University
  • Wai-Chan ChanManaging Director, The Consumer Goods Forum
  • Denis MachuelChief Executive Officer, Sodexo
  • Michael La CourManaging Director, IKEA Food Services AB
  • Jane EwingSenior Vice President, Sustainability, Walmart
  • Hans HoogeveenAmbassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture
  • Sunny VergheseCo-Founder, CEO and Group & Managing Director, Olam International
  • Lindiwe SibandaCo-Chair, Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture
  • Josefa SackoAfrican Agronomist and Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission
  • Theo de JagerPresident, World Farmers’ Organisation

About Champions 12.3

Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3 by 2030.

Photo of Mercado de La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain by ja ma (@ja_ma) from Unsplash

Launch Event: Foundations for Science-Based Net-Zero Targets in the Corporate Sector

14 September 2020 - Join us for a webinar to learn more about the Science Based Targets initiative’s work to enable companies to set net-zero targets in line with a 1.5°C future, including a new paper laying out the foundations for credible, science-based net-zero targets for the private sector.

14 September 2020 - Join us for a webinar to learn more about the Science Based Targets initiative’s work to enable companies to set net-zero targets in line with a 1.5°C future, including a new paper laying out the foundations for credible, science-based net-zero targets for the private sector.

Participants will hear a deep dive into the scientific context and main findings of the paper, learn about our ongoing work to develop a framework for corporate net-zero targets, and have an opportunity to ask questions directly to experts.

Two sessions will be hosted to accommodate audiences across the globe. Please register to attend or receive a recording of the webinar.

Speakers

  • Gonzalo MuñozCOP25 High-Level Climate Champion
  • Andreas AhrensHead of Climate, Inter IKEA Group
  • Lila KarbassiChief of Programmes, UN Global Compact
  • Cynthia CummisDirector, Private Sector Climate Mitigation, WRI
  • Alberto Carrillo PinedaDirector Science Based Targets & Renewable Energy, CDP
  • Anna KruipManager, Environment and Climate, UN Global Compact

Date and Time: September 15, 2020 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT| 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT | Online

Register here

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak (@marcinjozwiak) from Unsplash

The Nature of Nature: A Conversation with Enric Sala

14 September 2020 - In his new book, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, Enric crafts a love letter to the planet through stories and imagery. He explores how human health and livelihoods are at risk from our broken relationship with nature but shares real-world solutions to turn this around. He introduces the practical case for why need nature to sustain life on earth, as well as the moral and economic cases for action.

14 September 2020 - Join Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and leading conservationist and Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI President and CEO for a fascinating discussion on why we need nature and all of its species and habitats.

In his new book, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, Enric crafts a love letter to the planet through stories and imagery. He explores how human health and livelihoods are at risk from our broken relationship with nature but shares real-world solutions to turn this around. He introduces the practical case for why need nature to sustain life on earth, as well as the moral and economic cases for action.

This conversation will go beyond the pages to explore the foundations of his passion for the wild, how his thinking has evolved over 30 years, and why now is the time to be hopeful about the future of life on earth and our natural environment.

Registration Link

Date and Time: September 16, 2020 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT | Online

Speakers:

  • Dr. Enric SalaExplorer in Residence, National Geographic
  • Dr. Andrew SteerPresident and CEO, WRI

Original Event URL: https://www.wri.org/events/2020/09/nature-nature-conversation-enric-sala?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2020-9-9&utm_medium=email&utm_content=event

Building Capacities for Long-Term Planning: The Mitigation Action Plan and Scenarios (Maps) Program

This case study analyses the process of developing medium and long-term mitigation scenarios in four South American countries.

This was part of a South-South collaboration project aimed at generating information that would help define domestic mitigation policies and future pathways for low-carbon development.

Shifting Currents: Opportunities For Low-Carbon Electric Cities In The Global South

The paper uses two criteria to identify cities in the Global South that are candidates for electrification – replacing fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, stoves, furnaces and other devices with electric

alternatives.

Connected Urban Growth: Public-Private Collaborations for Transforming Urban Mobility

This first ever global survey finds that applying three types of new mobility services – electric, on-demand minibuses, subsidized shared rides, and trip-planning and ticketing apps – can make publ

ic transport more affordable, accessible and sustainable, if integrated properly.

Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South

This paper highlights strategies cities can take to manage urban growth in a way that ensures more equal and productive cities.

This paper highlights strategies cities can take to manage urban growth in a way that ensures more equal and productive cities.

Transformational Climate Finance: An Exploration of Low-Carbon Energy

This working paper examines how climate finance can be transformational by gleaning insights from nine low-carbon energy case studies, selected to cover a variety of geographies, energy sources, an

d degrees of transformation.

Stronger Than the Storm: Applying the Urban Community Resilience Assessment to Extreme Climate Events

This paper describes the pilot project results, insights and the potential for the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA) to be applied in other cities.

This paper describes the pilot project results, insights and the potential for the Urban Community Resilience Assessment (UCRA) to be applied in other cities.