2020 was dominated by a collective global crisis on an unprecedented scale, the impact of which was felt differently around the globe and in parts of society. And the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to cast its shadow this year. Yet the task facing 2021 is nothing short of monumental: to become a historic turning point. This is because the fight against Covid-19 and the recovery in the economy and society are coming at the same time as several major events in international environmental and climate policy. The media have christened 2021 a “super year”.
Against the backdrop of the fight against Covid-19 and the major events in international environmental and climate policy in 2021, what does this mean for research and policy advice in the field of sustainable development as carried out by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)?
The challenges facing the vaccination campaigns that have now got under way go well beyond the questions of financing, manufacture and approval, to be answered at multilateral level. Regional, national, local and sector-specific governance systems need to dovetail in a way seldom seen before in order to secure access to vaccines and get them distributed. Efforts to increase vaccine acceptance in society are also seeing extremely varied degrees of success around the world.
The global health crisis is being exacerbated by the cascading risks of the pandemic, which is fuelling an economic, social and political crisis as well. There are marked global differences between the recovery programmes that have been launched in terms of their financing volumes and the environmental and social standards attached to them. According to the International Monetary Fund, these range from 9.3 per cent of GDP in high-income countries to 6 per cent in emerging economies and 1.8 per cent in low-income countries. The World Bank is expecting the pandemic to trigger cycles of widening income disparity at global level. If we are to ensure that we “build forward better” – to borrow the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres – in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner, these stimulus packages must therefore both, combat the social inequalities caused by the pandemic and forestall the climate crisis.
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This publication first appeared on the DIE site.
Author: Anna-Katharina Hornidge, DIE.
The views are those of the author and not necessarily those of ETTG.