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Earth Today | COVID-19: An opportunity to ‘build back better’ in the Caribbean

“I am concerned that efforts to rebuild economies and societies will be prioritised, without an understanding that the lack of concern for man’s interaction with nature caused this pandemic and some other outbreaks in recent years,” said Dr Lorna Inniss, coordinator for the Cartagena Convention Secretariat, Ecosystems Division of United Nations Environment in the Caribbean.

“In the medium to long term, it is important that all sectors view the global expression ‘building back better’ as an opportunity to change governance and behaviours from just a consumer of natural resources for economic gain, to practising moderation, conservation and consideration of the future,” Inniss added.

She suggested, too, that financing will need to be reserved for what many consider the ‘elephant in the room’ – climate change – and in a time of COVID-19, which has demanded an unprecedented level of resources for health systems strengthening, and other interventions, to save lives or otherwise support vulnerable and/or newly vulnerable persons.

Still, with impacts, including severe hurricanes, that could deal a severe blow to Caribbean economies while devastating livelihoods and taking lives, climate change requires money.

Additional actions include that fiscal firepower drive a shift from the grey to green economy, empowering societies and people to be more resilient; and that public funds be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.

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