COVID response: Green economy

It has become clear that many of the root causes of climate change also increase the risk of pandemics. As the pandemic is making its mark across the globe, the effects of climate change have not stopped their own mark. Nor has our work in supporting countries in the region with their Climate Promise and commitments to the Paris Agreement. As of today, the Climate Promise is the world’s largest offer of support for the enhancement of climate pledges engaging with 114 countries, with over $20 million of UNDP resources and another $30 million leveraged funds.  in Europe and Central Asia are already dealing with the severe impacts of climate change, such as the rising frequency of climate-induced disasters, increased number of eco-migrants, degrading ecosystems, and pressures on agriculture. The COVID-19 pandemic makes these communities even more vulnerable and could potentially slow national climate actions.

The improvements we have seen due to global lockdowns and restrictions – reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, flourishing biodiversity - will be short-lived unless governments continue to deliver on their climate commitments once the crisis is over and the global economy resumes.

We have the opportunity for a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and resilient future. To do this, we need to invest in green jobs, not bail out polluting industries, end fossil fuel subsidies, and take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions.

As countries grapple with economic downturns, it will be tempting to return fast and hard, but we must balance economic growth with sustainable solutions that allow us to be resilient when future crisis hit.

We are working with governments, civil society and the private sector to develop recovery plans that embrace renewable energy, sustainable business, green urban planning and nature-based jobs and livelihoods. And we also need to ensure local communities are at the centre of the COVID-19 response and recovery process.

UNDP has been on the forefront supporting countries with the COVID-19 socio economic impact assessments, socio economic response plans, and “green” recovery plans that would take the global economy to a new low-carbon and climate resilient development path.

As an integral part of this process, UNDP rolled out the second generation of our recovery support through the Rapid Financing Facility to catalyze UNDP’s “COVID 2.0” Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030 offer. Green economy is one of the three priorities of the facility, which aims, above all, at mainstreaming climate action and “greening” stimulus in the national recovery packages.

Here's what we're doing

  • In Ukraine, UNDP prioritized five interconnected pillars for the people-centred COVID-19 recovery to make sure that the country builds forward better after COVID-19. These include support to digital transformation, developing a resilient and sustainable urban infrastructure, and investments in low-carbon energy solutions through the projects such as the Solar Town in the city of Slavutych that show the way forward for generating greener and cleaner energy in the future.
  • In Uzbekistan, COVID-19 recovery packages are being aligned with the national ambitious “green economy” strategy, aiming to leverage forward-looking catalytic investments in low-carbon and digital economy to rebuilt better after the crisis. At the national level, UNDP will support the enhanced enabling environment and regulatory framework for green recovery, while at the sub-national level we will pilot integrated green and inclusive local economic development solutions.
  • Similarly, COVID-19 impact assessments and recovery strategies in the countries of Western Balkans clearly prioritize “green” transition and digital transformation as a new path for investments, with the focus on “green” jobs and sustainability.
  • UNDP has launched a guidance note to further support these efforts, entitled “Building the Economy of Tomorrow: Using NDCs to Inform Green Recovery”.
  • Armenia is developing business models of three value chains with the use of green agriculture technologies, to encourage and support agribusinesses to switch from traditional to green agriculture to enhance their already existing green farming and processing capacities for improved productivity and increased incomes.
  • To help Georgia’s rural regions respond to the economic and social challenges emerging amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the EU and UNDP launched grant programme together with the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. The grants are designed to boost rural entrepreneurship, create sustainable jobs, improve the management of natural resources and promote climate action.
  • A UNDP Moldova initiative, supported by the Government of Sweden is giving grants for women-headed households, women entrepreneurs and rural communities to build resilience to climate change and implement environment-friendly practices.
UNDP Armenia is supporting new business models for farmers and small agri-business. Photo: Grant Sahakyan / UNDP Armenia

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