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How to rebuild a post-Covid-19 world: The ‘new normal’ is green

How to rebuild a post-Covid-19 world: The ‘new normal’ is green

As the world recovers from the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainable policies and investments will help build a better future for generations to come

As much of the world comes to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in a position to reimagine and rebuild a new future for our planet.

Humanity is on the cusp of change; this is a crucial moment to reflect on what we want a post-Covid-19 world to look like and on the choices, we must make to create such a world.

As social and economic activities have dramatically decreased because of the pandemic, experts observe its positive impact on the environment, as can be seen in the reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions around the world.

While the impacts of Covid-19 may have given the planet a temporary respite from the harmful effects of human consumption, recovering from the current crisis will require a strategic commitment to refocus global economic activities towards a green economy, according to the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO).

Countries have set in motion plans to reopen their economies, which means governments, the private sector, and civil society organisations are set to get back to business. However, there is a growing awareness that a business-as-usual reopening and recovery is not a desirable solution. The path to recovery presents an opportunity for both the public and private sector to invest in initiatives that are both greener, healthier and fairer for the planet.

WGEO, a multi-stakeholder organisation, which has been providing holistic catalytic support to the promotion of the green economy, highlights that Covid-19 may have opened the gates for organisations around the world to rethink and reimagine a new pathway towards economic growth, one that is green and sustainable in nature.

Through its work, WGEO drives global actions that promote a green, low-carbon and climate-resilient development model, based on the priorities and concerns identified at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.

It is a key organisation enabling governments and the private sector to build stronger partnerships in the pursuit of sustainable prosperity.

WGEO’s multi-stakeholder model enables it’s public and private sector members to work together in reshaping the global economic agenda by implementing innovative programmes and projects that facilitate technology transfer and promote green investments.

A Green Recovery
In accordance with the principles of green economy, this would entail employing production strategies and integrated policy approaches that usher economic activities towards environmentally sustainable businesses and practices.

A green recovery, for instance, would mean redirecting investments towards decarbonising the economy and improving productivity for the wider well-being. Incorporating green economy concepts into all recovery efforts will also present an array of mutual benefits such as the creation of new green jobs, improved energy security, greater environmental and public health, among others.

It is time for businesses that have been challenged by the impacts of Covid-19 to reassess the ways they are engaging with society and the environment. Although there may be temporary environmental gains from the immediate response to the pandemic, the fact remains that Covid-19 alone cannot alter the deeply entrenched unsustainable social and economic processes and practices we have relied on for decades.

This is the right time to reset and channel recovery efforts and support governments as they implement measures to drive stronger environmental outcomes that can achieve economic prosperity, enhance resilience and decarbonise the economy.

SDGs Focused Recovery
Governments and businesses can emerge stronger and more resilient from the current crisis by reassessing the various economic recovery measures being planned by governments around the world can be an opportunity to invest in economic transformations and technological innovations to deliver sustainable improvements in people’s lives aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This would encourage private sector investments to shift away from the linear economy model that takes, makes waste and is clearly not sustainable, and to support innovative companies and entrepreneurs rising to meet this challenge with new technologies, products and business models in the field of energy efficiency, renewables, sustainable mobility, and smart agriculture, among others.

Such improvements are essential to enhance the overall resilience of societies.

Furthermore, urgently mobilising public and private financial resources to invest in human capital and talent development aligned with key green sectors such as renewables, green transport, at this critical moment, can provide a ready catalyst for green jobs and a more skilled workforce.

The pandemic has given us a chance to reset and rebuild a new normal.

What that ‘new normal’ would look like will be up to us. By ensuring that the economic recovery is aligned with a green and climate-friendly approach, we will be one step closer to realising an inclusive, sustainable growth and prosperity.

“Shifting towards a greener economy provides greater opportunities for governments, investors and businesses and at the same time addresses environmental sustainability and economic growth challenges,” Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, WGEO chairman.

Abdulrahim Sultan is the director general at World Green Economy Organization (WGEO)

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