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555. Investment in Green Recovery

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For the first time in almost two years, the government has decided to reopen entry for foreign tourists on June 10, after having stopped it after having stopped it as border measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It has been almost two years and three months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and since that time, countries around the world have expressed their commitment to “green recovery” an environmentally friendly recovery, and to “build back better”. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has published a website summarizing the need to invest in green recovery. Here are some of the messages.

The world's major economies have made major financial commitments to recover from COVID-19 and to break the vicious cycle of climate change and ecological crisis. However, only 18% of them have gone toward "green" investments.

Rather than tackling issues such as climate change, biodiversity, conflict, refugee crisis, and pandemics in isolation, a permanent and comprehensive approach is needed that leaves no one behind. Green Recovery should take into account the unbreakable link between people's livelihoods, well-being, and the health of the planet. Green Recovery needs to achieve systemic shift in socio-economic and environmental systems, while overcoming trade-offs in addressing the triple challenges facing the planet: climate change, biodiversity crisis, and environmental pollution.

Solving the trade-offs between the SDGs will require solutions that serve humanity and the planet without sacrificing the economy. For example, decarbonization should not come at the expense of economic growth, employment opportunities, and equity, but should involve improvements in them. One study estimated that investments in green recovery, including options such as renewable energy and increased forest area, would contribute significantly to poverty reduction compared to the pre-COVID-19 baseline.

Meanwhile, as if to put a damper on the road to recovery from COVID-19, Russia's invasion of Ukraine threatens food security. According to FAO, which released its food outlook report on June 9, soaring food, fuel, and fertilizer prices, exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis, have raised have raised concerns that many vulnerable countries will be able to secure smaller imports at larger payments than usual. It is also reported that high fertilizer prices are forcing farmers to either reduce fertilizer use or switch to crops that do not require as much fertilizer. This applies to exporting countries as well, with North American farmers reportedly shifting production from corn to soybeans, which require less nitrogen fertilizer, and there are concerns that this may affect grain supply, demand, and prices in the international market.

 

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Director, Information Program)