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As attention turns to managing the economic fallout from COVID-19, national and global recovery plans will determine if future threats to human wellbeing, to our economies and to the planet are mitigated or amplified. The Partnership for Action on Green Economy is committed to assisting its partners as they navigate the recovery, promoting inclusive green economy plans that will create growth, jobs, and prosperity for all while reducing pressures on the planet.

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As part of an ongoing effort to support PAGE Partner Countries, The Data Observatory was developed to track socio-economic and health impacts from COVID-19, track policy responses and assess potential focus areas for green recovery in PAGE Countries. This collection of data aims ultimately to inform our partners and beyond as well as support decision-making that can lead to long-term, sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 world. View the interactive Data Observatory platform.

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Tools to guide analysis, promote green jobs and foster sustainable investments and business models.

Beyond the sobering health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the socio-economic consequences are significant. The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our societies when faced with global shocks. 

PAGE is equipped with ready-made tools designed to aid economic policymaking, which can explicitly support economic recovery options. These tools can guide analysis, promote green jobs and foster sustainable investments and business models ­—  boosting economies to build a better future for all. Learn about PAGE Green Economic Recovery products.

       

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COVID Updates from our UN partner agencies

      

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HIGHLIGHTS

Senegal National Steering Committee Meets to Reflect and Address Programming in Light of COVID-19

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PAGE Senegal Steering Committee and Inter-Agency group met virtually on 8 July to take stock of the implementation of the 2019-2020 work plan, to validate the draft 2020-2021 work plan and to define the modalities of implementing current activities. . In addition to the PAGE UN agency and Secretariat staff, the meeting benefited from the participation of a wide variety of partners, including the Department of the Environment and Classified Establishments, Enda Energy, Green Financing and Partnerships Department, the High Council for Social Dialogue, the Waste Management Coordination Unit, the Ministry of Economy and Cooperation and the Ministry of Labour. Read more

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Learning for a Green Recovery:

An Interview with Mr Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research

Over the next 6-18 months, it is estimated that countries will invest over $20 trillion to recover from the fallout of COVID-19. The make-up of these financial decisions will define the shape of our societies and economies for decades to come, including our ability to respond to greater environmental challenges lying ahead. 

In an interview, Mr. Nikhil Seth, the Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), discusses how education and learning can underpin a green economic recovery from COVID-19—as one that cuts CO2 emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and promotes sustainable economic activities to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read full interview here

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Green Economy & COVID-19 Recovery: Implications for the Decade of Action

Join the conversation: How can a green economic recovery contribute to accelerated action on the Sustainable Development Goals?
This event will feature high-level conversation on a renewed commitment towards the Sustainable Development Goals and climate and biodiversity targets, highlighting the ways in which an inclusive green economic recovery can support the Decade of Action. Learn more

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Grasp the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Coordinator, ILO Green Jobs Programme

The human tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unexpected positive outcome.

With industries in lockdown for months and cars off the streets of our cities, we’ve witnessed dramatic falls in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions across the planet.

Meanwhile, disruptions to global foods systems have breathed new life into urban farming. In cities such as Bangkok and Paris lockdowns measures have pushed more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes. Singapore, which currently imports more than 90 per cent of its food, aims to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030, and has encouraged communities and social enterprises to engage in urban farming. Read more

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China’s ‘neo-infrastructure’ investments in a post-pandemic world

Authored by Chengchen Qian, National Coordinator for PAGE China and UNEP Coordinator of the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP) and Yaxuan Chen, Programme Specialist at UNEP, this article explores China’s current emphasis on investments in “neo-infrastructure” as part of its post-COVID-19 economic recovery. In scope, the size of these planned investments in 2020, spanning 25 provinces, will amount to RMB 42 trillion (US$6 trillion) and span three main areas: information and communications technology (ICT), such as 5G, Internet of Things, satellite, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and blockchain; integrated infrastructure (i.e. applying digital technologies to upgrade intelligent transportation and smart energy); and R&D, particularly setting up more innovation centres and labs for science and technology development and education. While these investments have the potential to accelerate progress towards the SDGs, the long-term impact on job creation as well as effects on e-waste, remain unclear. Read the full analysis here. 

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PAGE has been recognized as a mechanism for COVID-19 recovery, named within the United Nations Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, mobilizing PAGE through its “support on green jobs, economic and environmental issues to plan early response and recovery phase of the crisis” and calling on PAGE  “as a vehicle to support peer learning and knowledge transfer on policies that stimulate growth and recovery in the wake of COVID-19”.

With this affirmation, and with years of experience, PAGE is resolute to use its trusted tools and resources and the strength of its collective expertise to shepherd sustainable economic recoveries that will build back stronger, more resilient economies that serve both people and the planet.

Read United Nations Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19

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PAGE and GIZ Join Efforts to Design Economic Support Measures for Economic Growth and a Resilient and Cleaner Economy in Kazakhstan

Green policies for modernising the Kazakh economy
The decarbonization and improved energy efficiency of the economy is at the core of the Kazakhstan’s Concept of transition to a Green Economy, adopted in 2013, and considered to be one of the most ambitious greening concepts in Europe and the Central Asian region. The Green Economy Concept was complemented with ambitious targets set in the National Development Strategy Kazakhstan 2025. Essential elements of the Green Economy Strategy are New Environmental Code is to provide practical instruments and regulatory framework to proceed with «greener» development. Since the adoption of the Green Economy Concept Kazakhstan has adopted international commitments under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Work on integrating sustainable development goals and targets to align national policies with international commitments is ongoing.

Joining efforts: the German government and the UN
Doubling efforts to support Kazakhstan in addressing these challenges, the Government of Germany has joined hands with PAGE, to set in place several low-carbon and green economy policy initiatives which would provide new impetus for Kazakhstan’s green transition.

  1. The Low Emission Development Strategy 2050
  2. A green recovery from the double crisis
  3. New Environmental Code support

Read full story here

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Will 2020 be the year of the Green Industrial Revolution?

Over the next 6-18 months, it is estimated that countries will invest more than US$ 20 trillion to recover from the fallout of COVID-19, with the global economy expected to shrink by 3% this year. The makeup of these financial decisions will define the shape of our societies and economies for decades to come.

At the same time, the planet is facing a climate emergency. While the impacts of COVID-19 could cause greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 4-7% in 2020,  any respite is likely to be temporary. Upon the restart of economic activity, air pollution levels in some countries have quickly returned to their pre-lockdown state, while in others existing environmental regulations have been put on hold. Countries need to remain assertive and tackle the climate emergency, and COVID-19, with a proactive response.

A “green industrial revolution” could help make this a reality. Targeted green industrial policies and investment in green industries can operationalize the structural change necessary for economic recovery, competitiveness, and new jobs. Read more

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GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS UNITE AROUND KEY ACTIONS FOR GREEN AND FAIR ECONOMIC RECOVERY FROM COVID-19 

On World Environment Day, 5th June 2020, global institutions working on development, labour and environment have united around key actions for spurring a green, just and transformative recovery. 

The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating existing global inequalities within and between countries and communities, while exposing how vulnerable our socio-economic systems are to external shocks. 

The Partners for Inclusive Green Economy* are calling for recovery efforts that recognise the interdependencies between human and environmental health, and aim to build resilience to even more profound risks on the horizon - biodiversity loss, widening inequality and climate change. Read More Here. 

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A Post COVID-19 Green Deal for the Garment Sector in Asia?

As the Asia-Pacific region’s textile industry is hard-hit by the implications of COVID-19, the ILO’s Dr Cristina Martinez, Senior Specialist Environment and Decent Work and Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok and Dr Samantha Sharpe, Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, argue for the region to embrace its own green new deal during its crisis recovery. “New investments into the sector must enhance sustainability, and a focus on greening production and employment will make the sector more resilient into the future.” While some may argue the cost of environmental sustainability is high, Martinez and Sharpe stress that the opportunities are significant for decent work within the textile and garment industries. These simultaneously can improve upon the current environmental impacts, including introducing cleaner production activities and sustainable development practices, which would contribute to increased productivity and competitiveness. Read the full story here.

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COVID-19 is killing people and setting our economies on fire. While the world is saving lives and fighting the fire, a lurking question is how we are going to rebuild our economies when the pandemic is under some form of control.

Should we build back our old economic “house” that has contributed to the spread of new diseases in the first place? The old house warms the climate and wakes up dormant viruses. It fragments natural habitats and exposes humans to zoonotic diseases. It pollutes the air, water, and soil, making people vulnerable to health risks. And it devours resources, materials, and finance such that little is left for hospitals and schools that are accessible by the disadvantaged and resilient to shocks. Building back the old economic house is nothing but a recipe for more crises. Read more

 

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Secretary General António Guterres Calls for Climate-Action in COVID-19 Recovery

In his 50th Anniversary Earth Day message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a response to the global emergency of COVID-19 that includes decisive action for the planet. Solving the economic crisis and the climate crisis are not two opposing agendas and with this, the Secretary-General has laid out six climate-related actions to help shape the recovery ahead. Demanding “a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike”, the six points cover investing in green jobs and businesses, financing green economies, ending fossil fuel subsidies and incorporating assessments of climate risks into financial systems and public policymaking and infrastructure. Read the full statement here or watch the address here.

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Build Back Better

United Nations organizations have banded together to call for a sustainable recovery after COVID-19. PAGE partner agencies UNEP and UNDP, among the WHO, UNWTO, UNCTAD and others, are uniting in the message that COVID-19’s impact on the world must be met with commitment to a better future. The agencies reinforce their commitment to member states to unearth opportunities in the recovery process.“As we work through response and recovery from the shocks of the pandemic, the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] need to be designed into the DNA of global recovery”, says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. The collection of statements can be found here.

RESOURCES

As countries recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, building back business as usual in economic policy and practice is not an option when greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6% per year to meet 1.5°C target. Especially when in tandem, we need to create green and decent jobs for all — to serve a growing population, address increasing environmental risks and scarcities, growing economic uncertainties, and unprecedented inequalities.

In our latest brief, PAGE explores how rebuilding our economies gives a unique opportunity to overcome the persisting challenge of addressing sustainability and economic development.

READ OUR CLIMATE CHANGE THEMATIC BRIEF

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GREEN INDUSTRIAL POLICY:
PROMOTING COMPETITIVENESS AND STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION

A NEW COURSE BY THE PARTNERSHIP FOR ACTION ON GREEN ECONOMY (PAGE)

What policies can countries implement to address the two defining crises of our timeCOVID-19, and the climate emergency? How do we build the next generation of leadersand those that inform and educate themneeded to advance green, structural change?

In seeking to answer both of these questions, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy’s (PAGE) new course on Green Industrial Policy could not be timelier. Developed by UNEP, UNIDO, and UNITAR, the course forms part of PAGE’s “Learning for a Green Recovery” initiative, and is available on UNITAR’s flagship UN CC:e-Learn platform. Learn more.

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GREENING THE RECOVERY

By supporting countries in “greening” their response, PAGE will support the achievement of SDG commitments while simultaneously addressing root causes of this crisis and building resilience to future ones.

As we progressively assess the response that is required, four articles can help inform on strategic methods to green the recovery:

Learn more

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INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABLE FINANCE

The Strategic Alliance on Green Bond Market Development in G20 Emerging Economies (STA), a partnership between Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) are pleased to present this new e-learning course on Sustainable Finance.

This interactive and practice-oriented course covers the basics of Sustainable Finance while providing several opportunities to dive deeper. It shares valuable insights into the Strategic Alliance of GIZ and SEB and our technical partner CICERO, gained during activities in emerging economies and interactions with market participants worldwide. You will also learn about examples of UN-supported initiatives to promote sustainable finance in countries like Mongolia and Indonesia. The course is designed for interested participants from governments, the financial sector, businesses, and civil society. Learn more

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As we navigate the current threats to human wellness, to economies and to the planet, the timely adoption of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns is key to building back stronger and more resilient societies. In the wake of COVID-19, choosing more efficient production methods and implementing better use of natural resources is one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment while simultaneously advancing human wellbeing. 

The Global Resources Outlook 2019, shows that the extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food make up about half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90 percent of biodiversity loss and water stress. A global shift is essential: Enacting resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production policies, growth in global resource use can slow by 25 percent while global gross domestic product could grow by 8 percent by 2060, according to the International Resource Panel. 

Using its toolkit and years of experience working towards green economic growth, PAGE has supported countries in achieving multiple targets of SDG 12 — Responsible Consumption and Production. In our newest brief, PAGE explores circular economy and resource efficiency using Uruguay as a key example, referring to its achievements towards resource efficiency and circular economy. The brief also highlights work with an additional thirteen partner countries, centered on contributions toward SDG12.

READ OUR SCP THEMATIC BRIEF

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The Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP), a PAGE partner, hosted a series of webinars on Sustainability After COVID-19 with Voices from Leading International Organisations on the 21 April 2020. GGGI, OECD, UNEP and the World Bank shared their thoughts and expertise on what COVID-19 means for sustainable development, how green economy can be incorporated into a COVID-19 stimulus package and what their organisation is currently doing in response to COVID-19. The webinar offered examples of current COVID-19 recovery packages, focusing on jobs that can be created quickly whilst contributing to long term sustainability outcomes — in areas such as agroforestry, sustainable infrastructure and construction. The speakers highlighted the need to reassess our relationship with nature in addressing the root causes of the crisis as well as expanding the reach of green economy and widening collaborative circles. The next webinar in the series, Public policies for inclusive green growth, took place on the 28th of April. Watch the recording here.