On 17 April, Steffen Bauer, Head of the Klimalog project at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) presented a keynote on Covid-19 and the climate-development nexus at the first online meeting of the Bonn Climate Change Group.
Bauer stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic is symptomatic of a systemic global crisis. Accordingly, the Corona crisis as such manifests itself, first, as a public health emergency, secondly, as a driver of severe social and economic impacts, and thirdly, as an unprecedented stress test for public institutions at all levels from the local to the global. At the same time, it has a systemic quality that links the Covid-19 pandemic to sustainable development, the unfolding climate crisis and fundamental issues of global justice. Hence, Bauer argued that boosting the resilience of individuals, societies and economies to systemic crisis phenomena, including those caused by climate change, should be a common denominator for the emerging crisis recovery agenda and across all levels of governance.
He further argued that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement provide valid road maps to this end. They were not available to guide recovery at the time of the 2008 global financial crisis. Today, the situation is different. The severe economic disruptions we are facing due to Covid-19 should help rather than hinder policy adjustments and investments that pursue emissions reductions and a responsible use of natural resources, including biodiversity and ecosystems, and that spur the creation of decent, green jobs and stimulate economic growth.
The Bonn Climate Change Group is an open network of organisations and institutions based in Bonn, mostly working in the fields of environmental change and development. It has been jointly initiated by the NDC-Partnership and the City of Bonn in 2019 to foster dialogue on climate change and sustainable development and to open a space for mutual support towards ambitious climate action. Members range from the forestry sector to sustainable aviation, from development research to humanitarian aid, from UN agencies to grassroots organizations. The network meets 3-5 times a year, meetings are held in English and hosted in turns. The meeting on 17 April was organised by the City of Bonn, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre (IITC).