The global economy has entered the most profound economic recession since the Great Depression, with the possibility of a financial crisis, with major implications for vulnerable population groups and households, some of which are already bordering on poverty. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on already weak economies through containment measures put in place to control its spread. This unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented measures—a massive counter-cyclical fiscal and financial effort is urgently needed everywhere. The Secretary-General has called for a comprehensive multilateral response amounting to the equivalent of 10 percent of global GDP.
Investments in recovering from COVID-19 need to focus on sustainable jobs and sectors. Recent findings show that non-fossil fuel technologies create more jobs per unit energy than coal and natural gas. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that decarbonizing the world economy by 2050 would boost cumulative global GDP gains by US$98 trillion between now and 2050, quadrupling renewable energy jobs to 42 million, with higher gender parity than traditional sectors.
The COVID-19 crisis has delayed many countries’ efforts to advance the process to revise their climate pledges (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. At the same time, many are seizing the opportunity to leverage NDC processes to guide green recovery and sustainable development.