2020-2021: Covid-19 & Green Recovery

In a response to the Covid19 crisis that sweep the world, several EEAC member bodies drafted statements or posted blogs. On this page you will find the latest publications on the issue.

In March 2021,  the National Economic and Social Council released another of its working papers in response to Covid-19. The paper, entiteled Geder and Covid-19 in Ireland  outlines data on a number of gender impacts of Covid-19 in Ireland in 2020. It describes the outcomes from the pandemic for women and men in the areas of employment, domestic work and childcare, finance and state income supports, well-being, health and decision-making. It also outlines ways in which some groups experience overlapping negative impacts.  The paper, follows earlier work such as the report entitled Progressing Sustainability in the Context of Covid-19: Grasping the Opportunity . The report provides a short ‘state of play’ of sustainability challenges and opportunities in the context of Covid-19. It outlines that responding to Covid-19 and the work on the recovery that follows require an understanding of the interdependencies between nature, society and the economy. The core argument made in the paper is that urgent environmental sustainability measures such as climate action and protecting biodiversity are both necessary and can and must drive the recovery, and that an alignment of policy measures is required. They can be catalysts for recovery and a means of re-imagining our economy and society, and crucially the relationship between them and our natural environment. More reports on the issue include: The Implications of Covid-19 for Housing in Ireland, and How We Value Work:  The Impact of Covid-19.  The Council dedicated a special area on their website where research reports are published. This research work, in normal circumstances, would be used to produce NESC reports, which would be published following detailed deliberation by the Council. By putting it in the public domain earlier, it is hoped this research can help those now working on the response to Covid-19. Learn more

Early August, The Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) published it’s advisory letter entitled ‘Green Recovery’. In this letter the Council discusses the concurrence of economic recovery policy and the transition towards a sustainable society, which will have an important impact on the choices to be made. Among others things, the Council argues in favour of a green recovery from the corona crisis, in which economy, employment and a sustainable physical environment go hand in hand. According to the Council, increasing the sustainability of the economy and physical environment is, as yet, not adequately incorporated into considerations about economic recovery policy. Furthermore, the Council offers an assessment framework that can help policymakers and political parties in designing green recovery policy, when drafting election manifestos or drawing up the next Coalition Agreement. The Council also presented numerous concrete suggestions for green recovery measures.

In June, the Portuguese National Council on Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) submitted a Declaration to government and parliament on the on a sustainable and inclusive development in the post-COVID19 phase. In its declaration CNADS calls for reorienting the current global economic and financial system to defend the principles proposed by the Agenda 2030 and the respective Sustainable Development Goals, in particular relieving economic and social asymmetries and promoting the regeneration of the environment through the active cooperation of all countries. In that context the The European Green Deal promotes a conceptual framework that, properly operationalized, could make a decisive contribution to strengthening the capacity to face crises such as COVID19, the climatic emergence and the extinction of species, generating integration and necessary synergies between sectors and policies that are still far away, CNADS argues. Furthermore, CNADS includes recommendations on issues related to biodiversity, oceans, energy systems and fighting climate change. In it’s concluding remarks CNADS commits itself to soon present concrete proposals for initiatives that aim to contribute to the desired transition, taking advantage of the urgent re-orientations brought about by the pandemic COVID19 and its direct and indirect effects.

The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE)  launched it’s recommendation, entitled: ‘A sustainable recovery from the coronavirus crisis’. In their recomendation, the RNE argues that the strategy for tackling the economic and social consequences of the pandemic should have a sound approach which complements the global Sustainable Development Goals right from the start. There will be no financial leeway for fundamental readjustments later on, the council argues. In their recommendation, the council members of the RNE propose eight steps for a sustainable recovery from the Covid19 crisis. In addition, the council published to articles on how the post-coronavirus restart can become ecological and encounters that leave a smaller footprint.

In a briefing the Danish Climate Change Council argues that climate policy and the recovery from the the economic crisis could go hand in hand. The council warns that it would be very expensive to invest in technologies that emit Green House Gases in order to recover form the Covid-19 crisis, while after a relative short period of time, investments will shift to low and zero emission technologies. Instead economic incentives should focus on sustainable consumption and green investments, such as investments in heat pumps, improvements in energy efficiency and wind turbines. In its briefing, the Danish Climate Change Council presents a green recovery package with actions that can both stimulate the Danish economy and are necessary for the transition to the 70 % emission reduction target in 2030.

In addtion, the Luxembourg High Council for Sustainable Development published a statement (FR) in mid-May.  The statement addresses the Government of Luxembourg, and urges to draw lessons from and respond to the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath. The Council  stresses that no country will be able to emerge from this crisis alone. In the context of Europe Day on 9 May, the Council thus joined the initiative of the EEAC Network, by reiterating the consensus that the pandemic reinforces the need to actively pursue the implementation of the Green Pact for Europe (Green Deal) and Agenda 2030.

The Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia earlier released a statement, entitled ‘One pandemic, numerous lessons and 17 goals that we must not put in lockdown’. In this statement the Council argues that the Covid19 pandemic force us to reinterpret the world and the way we live, and it stresses the need for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the importance to act.

The Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development posted a blog based on the statement issued by the Expert Panel to the Parliament’s Committee for the Future on 25 March 2020 regarding the European Green Deal and the implications of the Covid19 crisis. In the blog, entitled ‘Coronavirus fostering the implementation of the European Green Deal and boosting sustainability transformation’ the Expert Panel touches upon the expected consequences of Covid19 for the European Green Deal and describes how the sustainability transformation should rise from the ashes of the crisis.

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