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Blog: Multilateral Development Banks must implement a sustainable recovery from Covid-19

The global response to the coronavirus crisis continues to gather pace and emergency responses supporting health services and economies are vital at this stage for many across the globe. Just like the Covid-19 crisis, the impacts of climate change will be felt more acutely by the poorest and most vulnerable people. It is vital that the stimulus packages supported by MDBs address this and respond to both crises.

The climate emergency is still with us and it is still imperative that action is taken urgently. Action on climate and to ensure sustainable energy access for all can be built into the recovery response to the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank itself has highlighted the need for sustainable recovery in its longer term response to the Covid-19 crisis and its impacts.

As the Big Shift Coalition, we believe we must keep up the pressure on the critical fight for climate justice. We continue to call upon the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to shift their money out of fossil fuels and into sustainable renewable energy for all. Although attention is rightly shifted to immediate health and economic priorities, coronavirus must not be used as an excuse for inaction on climate. All responses should be aligned to the Paris Agreement and contribute to a sustainable low carbon future. 

Members of the Big Shift Global Coalition are staying at home, but our fight continues. As many of the decisions within MDBs, including the World Bank Spring Meetings will now be made via virtual meetings we will continue to speak out via our social media and take action online.

Just as the climate crisis is affecting the most vulnerable, Covid-19 also highlights the inequalities in the world. Imagine suffering through this pandemic when you have no access to modern energy or electricity – no internet to connect to the outside world, no fridge to store food in, no electricity to power a hospital ventilator. The response to the Covid-19 crisis must also include investments in clean energy access for all, which will not only help us to limit warming to 1.5°C but will also provide people with more resilience to future crises. 

The response to both the Covid-19 and climate crises should not be mutually exclusive. As governments and world bodies including MDBs respond with economic stimuli this should be an opportunity to invest in a green future. As the World Bank has said ‘Thinking ahead, therefore, the urgent focus on short-term needs should not overlook opportunities to achieve other longer-term goals (and avoid making longer-term goals even more challenging). Prime among these: the decarbonization of the world economy 

As the response to support and rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis gets underway, we need to ensure this response is green and does not lead to a worse crisis in the future. We have to maintain pressure on world leaders including the leaders of the MDBs to use public money in a way that fights the climate crisis alongside tackling the urgent health crisis we are all facing

We must continue to hold world leaders to account for their actions on the climate emergency and ensure that they are putting the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people first.

What can you do from your home?

  • Sign our petition. Ask your national representative to the World Bank to ensure that the World Bank implements a sustainable response to Covid-19: 
  • Follow and share our posts on social media: Twitter and Facebook
  • And, of course, stay safe and follow guidelines on coronavirus response.