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UNEP: Are we building back better?

One year from the onset of the pandemic, recovery spending has fallen short of nations’ commitments to build back more sustainably. An analysis of spending by leading economies, led by Oxford’s Economic Recovery Project and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), finds only 18 per cent of announced recovery spending can be considered green.

The report, Are We Building Back Better? Evidence from 2020 and Pathways for Inclusive Green Recovery Spending, calls for governments to invest more sustainably and tackle inequalities as they stimulate growth in the wake of the devastation wrought by the pandemic.

“Humanity is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis and an ecological breakdown – we cannot afford to lose on any front,” said UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen. “Governments have a unique chance to put their countries on sustainable trajectories that prioritise economic opportunity, poverty reduction and planetary health at once – the Observatory gives them the tools to navigate to more sustainable and inclusive recoveries.”

The report emphasises that green recovery can bring stronger economic growth while helping to meet global environmental targets and addressing structural inequality. To keep decades of progress against poverty from unwinding, low-income countries will require substantial concessional finance from international partners.

Read the full report here.


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