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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Global coalition calls for ‘just recovery’ to COVID-19

Over 300 organisations across the globe are demanding that governments apply five core principles to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The principles are designed to ensure that people and the environment are protected by government actions and pave the way for a just recovery.

May Boeve
May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org. Photo credit: shifttheclimate.org

The demands are co-signed by Indigenous Peoples organisations, labour groups and unions, feminist organisations, development agencies, climate and environmental NGOs, health, youth, and religious bodies and local activist groups from every continent.

The demands are being delivered to key global decision-makers, including Christine Lagarde at the ECB, as well as being heavily promoted online.

The principles outlined in the demands are:

  • That health of all people is the top priority
  • Economic relief targets people directly
  • Assistance goes to workers and communities; not executives
  • Stimulus creates resilience for future crises, particularly climate
  • The response builds solidarity and community and does not empower authoritarians.

Policymakers at all levels are grappling with how to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.

The organisations signing on to the statement will be undertaking campaigns in their own national and local spheres, as well as pressuring international decision-makers.

May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic demands swift and unprecedented action from national governments and the international community. Choices being made right now will shape our society for years, if not decades to come. The choices must put people first and must also accelerate our action against the climate crisis.”

Brett Fleishman, Head of 350.org Finance Campaigns, submitted. “This virus proves how interconnected we are. The solutions we come up with now must ensure that no one is left behind – we need a truly interconnected global approach which first and foremost invests in the safety and health of all people; but which does not lose sight of the necessary project of transitioning our economies away from coal, oil, and gas at the same time.”

The types of responses envisioned by the signatories include scaled up investment in healthcare systems, direct cash payments and transfers to people, improved working conditions and rights, and ‘green’ strings (i.e. incentives to take climate action) in any stimulus funding provided to corporations and businesses.

Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350.org North America Director: “As the debate in US Congress has shown, this is an opportunity to ensure both immediate relief and long-term recovery that saves lives. It’s time for real leadership, and to chart a bold path forward to a liveable future for all. We demand a stimulus package that helps boost the creation of millions of jobs, sustains families, responds to systemic inequity, and directly invests in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color facing economic insecurity. The climate crisis will not wait. Now is the time to act boldly, focused on people and the planet. We must make a down payment on a regenerative economy while preventing future crises.”

From Canada to Korea, parliaments, congresses and central banks across the globe are considering how they respond. International financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will also have a key role to play, and several waves of response-measures are expected.

“There is a lot of fear in this moment. The only way to fight this virus is the same as what we must do to confront the climate crisis – act as one united global community that puts the needs of people first. From their homes, balconies, and gardens people will make their demands heard,” said Boeve.

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