Lessons from COVID-19 for a Sustainability Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean

Jul 2, 2020

This document explores the challenges for the region in terms of a possible sustainability agenda that could emerge as lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic recovery after the ravages of the virus will be one of the greatest challenges that humanity has ever faced. However, we have an opportunity in front of us of a throbbing economic recovery in a more sustainable path.

The document is divided into three sections. The first section includes a compilation of the immediate impacts that the pandemic and government measures have had on household and firms behavior, and how they have been reflected in some environmental indicators that are observable today. Building on that pre- pandemic baseline, and reflecting on the lessons associated with these shocks, we focus on a series of public policy recommendations that might be explored to take as much as possible advantage of this sudden disruption. This window of opportunity for reconfiguring economic and social activities might be supported by eventual changes in individual preferences and by the ways in which production factors are organized to generate goods and services that have had environmental impacts on the wellbeing of the population and ecosystems. This is an opportunity to take advantage of this crisis, given that we have already had to endure the costs of seeing the pandemic’s impact on economic activities affecting the environment, by exploring the possibility of doing things differently when reactivating the economy. By following a more sustainable path, we will be able to reap the social benefits of continuing with better preferences, consumption patterns, and better technologies that can keep environmental costs low. 



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