A collection of resources to help countries, assembled within the framework of the Issue-based Coalition on Environment and Climate Change, pending issue of the Coalition’s own guidance.
Many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environment have been observed or may be anticipated:
- Environmental damage is driven by human activity. As the pandemic has limited our economic activities, consumption and movement, pollutant emissions and natural resource use have slowed, and the rate of environmental damage has fallen in most areas.
- But CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise and there is an increased use of plastics, notably in packaging.
- Activities to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity have been restricted leading to an increase in illegal waste-dumping, hunting and logging, for example.
- As people lose their livelihoods, increased poverty will likely lead more people to turn to unsustainable harvesting of natural resources.
- The lockdown has led to the postponement of vital negotiations on global environmental governance in the expected climate change and biodiversity “super year”.
- Once the pandemic eases, pressure on the environment will resume and risks being less constrained, if recovery investment goes to dirty industries and less finance is available for green investment.
Therefore, governments across the region need to build back better their economies, create jobs and support businesses, while bearing in mind that better air quality, water and sanitation, waste management and biodiversity protection, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, will each reduce vulnerability and increase resilience and sustainability.
Summary recommendations by the Coalition on COVID-19 recovery (20 August 2020).
- Environmental health and strengthening resilience to pandemics, by OECD
- From containment to recovery: Environmental responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, by OECD
- Briefing on COVID-19 and short-lived climate pollutants, by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition
- Q & A on Climate change and COVID-19, by WHO
- Greening Fiscal Stimulus and Finance Packages to Achieve the SDGs, by UNEP
- Green Jobs, by UNEP
- COVID-19: Implications for Trade and Environment, by UNEP
Short-term, waste and chemicals management
- Sound management of waste in the context of COVID-19, by UNEP
- Water sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus: interim guidance, by WHO and UNICEF
- Healthcare or Medical Waste, by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and UNEP
- Managing Infectious Medical Waste during the COVID-19 Pandemic, by ADB
- Pandemic measures and chemical process safety, by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre
Longer-term, build back better
- COVID-19: Towards an inclusive, resilient and green recovery—building back better through regional cooperation, by the UN Regional Commissions
- Building Resilient Societies after Covid-19, by the UNEP International Resource Panel
- WHO manifesto for a healthy and green COVID-19 recovery
- COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity, WRI joint publication for policymakers
Dedicated COVID-19 webpages of our members:
- Environmental Emergencies Centre (UNEP/OCHA)
- Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - plus webinars
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Global Environment Facility (GEF)