UN DESA experts are working to help decision makers around the world navigate tough choices and to find ways to recover better from the COVID-19 crisis. Watch this space for the latest research, analysis and policy advice from UN DESA, an effort to support and complement the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiatives in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.
Responding to COVID-19 and Recovering Better is a compilation volume of UN DESA’s policy brief series released during the period of April-June, focusing on the economic and social impact of COVID-19.
It presents detailed analysis and solid evidence needed for effective decision-making on a number of critical social and economic issues. It also presents key policy recommendations to support the Secretary-General's initiatives in response to COVID-19 and help the international community to navigate the policy choices ahead.
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Global macroeconomic outlook and the impact of fiscal and monetary policy response
As the pandemic hit and the socio-economic impacts began to unfold, UN DESA kept a keen eye on the macroeconomic impacts, projecting global and regional contractions. In support of countries struggling to shore-up their healthcare systems while keeping their people and economies afloat, the Department put forward key recommendations for fiscal policy to buttress these efforts and slow the trajectory of the negative effects.
Macroeconomic impact on both developing and developed countries
As the economic impacts rippled across the world, reaching some corners even faster than the virus itself, UN DESA detailed the real and potential impacts on countries in special situations. Beyond ensuring access to essential goods for landlocked developing countries and small island countries, the Department’s analysis put forth key recommendations for policies that would not only buttress impact now, but springboard future development on a more sustainable and resilient trajectory.
Social impact: Inequality and vulnerable groups
The COVID-19 and its economic impacts shook the world along existing fault lines of exclusion, inequality and disadvantage, revealing deep set gaps access to essential services and secure livelihoods among social groups in many societies. In addressing these issues, UN DESA gave particular attention to the impact of the crises on older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and youth, providing recommendations for ensuring that policies or response and recovery address effective inclusion of these disproportionately impacted members of society.
The Role of science, technology and governance for effective policy responses
Science and technology have played a critical role, not only in understanding the virus itself, but in enabling continuing productivity and education, for those with access, as countries locked down and many activities began to be undertaken remotely. UN DESA policy briefs showed the need for a better science-policy-society interface and more effective governance, in order to ensure the best science and technology is available in crisis response and recovery. More generally, the briefs also called for improved state-people relationships through increased transparency and accountability in public institutions.
Working together for effective recovery
As countries begin to recover from COVID-19, coherent and comprehensive actions aligned with the 2030 Agenda can place the world on a robust trajectory towards achieving sustainable development. Responses must be oriented toward the future and avoid a return to “business as usual” activities with coordinated national actions and re-invigorated global partnerships for development.
Around the world, economic statistics tell a story of 100 years of progress— UN DESA (@UNDESA) December 8, 2020
But they conceal a parallel story of climate change and biodiversity devastation
If we want to take better decisions, we must go #beyondGDP and #MakeNatureCount. https://t.co/2Yz1zafD7R pic.twitter.com/y08qZ1g0am
To address these issues, UN DESA, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany are hosting a webinar to discuss how incorporating natural capital—or the contributions of nature—into official statistics can help make nature count in business and policy decisions.
This webinar, on 15th December at 9:30 AM EST, will bring together world-leading experts to discuss the rationale for placing nature at the heart of the recovery from COVID-19, highlighting a global UN-led effort to develop new statistics that reveal, rather than conceal, the impacts and dependencies of economies on nature. The resulting System of Environmental Economic Accounts - Ecosystem Accounting is expected to be adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2021, providing high-quality, rigorous data on biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment-economy nexus.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
- Dr. Monica Contestabile, Editor in Chief, Nature Sustainability, as Moderator of the event.
- Professor Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director, Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge
- Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge
- Elliott Harris, United Nations Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
- Bert Kroese, Deputy Director General, Statistics Netherlands and Chair of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting
Join the webinar to get an insider's look at a series of landmark reports:
- How Natural Capital Accounting Contributes to Integrated Policies for Sustainability and associated reports (United Nations, 2020); and
- Building Forward: Investments in a Resilient Recovery (Agarwala, et al 2020).
- The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity (HM Treasury, 2020).
Register here: https://bit.ly/MakeNatureCount