The Choices We Make Now Will Shape the Future

In the midst of our global response to COVID-19, the world is in need of an economic transformation, one that promotes both the sustainable wellbeing of individuals as well as the environment in tandem. We have arrived at a turning point. The challenges we face now, together, are tremendous. But in the face of current adversity, and the near halt of our global economy, we have a collective opportunity to join together for a brighter, more sustainable future. The decisions that policymakers, businesses and individuals choose now will determine if we prosper and accelerate a more sustainable world, or not. 

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) has, since 2013, fostered inclusive, green economic transformation in 20 partner countries. The joint effort of five United Nations agencies, PAGE brings together the UN Environment Programme, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research to provide integrated and holistic support on eradicating poverty, increasing jobs and social equity, strengthening livelihoods and environmental stewardship and sustaining growth, ensuring coherence and avoiding duplication of efforts. Throughout these seven years, PAGE has evolved its breadth of knowledge, understanding that while circumstances may vary, there are many paths to reach the same, universal goal. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic is still rapidly evolving, the world is already facing effects that have spread far beyond our individual health and well-being. The shock to the global economy and to the lives of workers and families around the world will be felt for some time. This is an uncertain moment in our collective history — yet, these unforeseen events present all of us with an opportunity — to respond and help prevent and prepare for future shocks with new modalities that go beyond the status quo. 

By bringing together the specialized expertise of its five UN agencies, PAGE has already embarked on the journey to help countries navigate the transition to an inclusive green economy, economies that create growth, jobs, and prosperity for all while reducing pressures on the planet. 

When this transition is unplanned, the risks and social, economic and environmental costs are becoming clearer each day. Countries and communities will be forced to confront a range of unprecedented challenges over the next several months. During this difficult period, the role of inclusive green economy approaches to help restore stability and resilience will be even greater.  We remain steadfast in greening the future together and facing what is to come with a strengthened commitment to sustainable, inclusive development, knowing that embracing a green economic transformation together will lead to the Future We Want. 

In Richard Baldwin and Beatrice Weder di Mauro’s recent e-book, Economics in the time of COVID-19, the authors highlight the significance that government responses will have in limiting the negative effects of the virus. Weder di Mauro writes, “The size and persistence of the economic damage will depend on how governments handle this sudden close encounter with nature and with fear.” Our cooperation now is crucial in the step towards building a brighter future, one that leaves no one behind.