COVID Updates from our UN partner agencies





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


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


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. 


Drawing on experience from previous economic upheavals and recent data, PAGE partner agency UNIDO shows how energy efficiency measures and renewable energy can reboost economies while contributing to long-term climate resilience, health and jobs. “We know for a fact that employment programmes which promote energy efficiency and the renewable energy sector have a tendency to create more jobs”, writes UNIDO’s Director of Energy Tareq Emtairah. Carefully designed stimulus packages that incentivize SMEs to pursue energy efficiency will also free up much needed capital to innovate and drive investment into low carbon efficient technologies, Emtairah continues. Read the full article for concrete steps and policy measures to re-energize our economies while maintaining commitment for the SDGs and climate targets.


The International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department has produced a series of notes to offer advice for countries to navigate the impact of COVID-19. In this edition, the writers call attention to the importance of greening recovery responses so as not to overlook the simultaneous climate crisis. They write: “Indeed, decisions taken now to address the COVID-19 crisis may shape the climate, and human health, for decades”. Here, you will find suggested options on green stimulus measures, conditional support to brown activities, and coordination. Read more.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.




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.



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


Pathways Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development 

The impacts and economic consequences of COVID 19 are adding to existing complexities and are creating economic hardship worldwide. Economies have been hard hit by the crisis due to the direct disruptions in supply chains and drops in aggregate demand, resulting in much larger societal costs.  

What policy measures can countries deploy in the short and long run in response to this crisis? How can governments respond to COVID-19 in a way that supports industry and workers immediately, but also creates beneficial outcomes in the long-term? How can we strengthen industries’ capacity to improve energy efficiency, reduce resource consumption, curb pollution, and  at the same time  generate incomes, jobs, and green growth? 

These and more questions will be tackled in these advanced online training courseThe course will focus on discussing approaches and tools that allow for an integrated response to the crisis in line with sustainable industrial development. 

This course is organized by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) agencies UNIDOUNEPUNDPILO, and UNITAR in cooperation with the Central European University (CEU). 

For more information and registration click here.