Global Governance Institute


Pathways to a Green and Just Recovery from COVID-19

28 July 2021

This report explores the prospects of post-pandemic recovery efforts to promote systemic change and greater resilience to future complex risks.

Sunset behind wind turbines

By Zoë Varenne, UCL Global Governance Institute.

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder that human health and wellbeing is closely tied to the health of the planet. The environment is a major underlying determinant of health, growing in significance as climate change and ecosystem degradation intensify various health risks, including those associated with novel infectious diseases and more frequent extreme weather events. COVID-19 has also demonstrated the fragility of our economic systems and crisis response structures, highlighting the threats that systemic disruptions pose to our interconnected world. A ‘business-as-usual’ post-COVID economic recovery strategy would greatly amplify these threats and further deteriorate the environment. This highlights the need for a new approach to the economy that prioritises the wellbeing of the planet and the people who inhabit it, allowing societies to thrive within the limits of what natural systems can sustainably support.

This report builds upon a workshop on “Complex Risk Governance for a Green and Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19,” hosted virtually on 1 June 2021 by the UCL Global Governance Institute (GGI) and the UCL Warning Research Centre (WRC), with support from UCL Grand Challenges and the UCL Environment Domain. The workshop brought together experts on sustainability governance, complexity and risk from academia, policymaking, research centres, non-governmental organisations and the business and investment communities. This report provides a summary of the discussion, which focused on pathways towards a green transition in the wake of COVID-19 as well as prospects to enhance preparedness and resilience to future complex risks. 

The full report is available here: Pathways to a Green and Just Recovery from COVID-19: Promoting Systemic Change for Greater Sustainability and Resilience [PDF]

Logos: UCL Global Governance Institute, UCL Warning Research Centre and UCL Grand Challenges