First modification: 07/17/2021 – 01:23
The UN and the University of Oxford have launched a tool to track all recovery policies after the Covid-19 pandemic. The objective is to know if governments are fulfilling their promises to rebuild better and greener and, for now, the results are not encouraging: globally only 19% of the investment of funds for reconstruction has been in sustainable sectors. The figure, in Latin America and the Caribbean, falls to 2.2%.
If you’ve ever wondered what the governments of your countries are spending their post-Covid-19 reconstruction package money on, now you can find out. At least in terms of sustainable recovery policies. The United Nations Environment Program and the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project threw the LAC Tracker, or tracker for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The tool is updated every week with data provided by the governments of the 33 countries in the region. This is good news for financial transparency in these countries, which have been the hardest hit by the pandemic: one in four deaths from Covid-19 has been in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Recovery Tracker #ALC It contributes to the transparency of the spending practices of the governments of the LAC region, indicating both the destination of the funds and their potential economic, environmental and social impact.@UniofOxford https://t.co/PJVcFzQVLq
– UN Environment Program (@unep_espanol) June 11, 2021
Although the launch of this tracker is cause for joy, the figures it shows are not: of the 318,000 million dollars that were announced in the region for investment in policies and packages to get out of the health crisis, governments have only invested 2.2% in environmentally sustainable industries or solutions.
This percentage, which rises to 19% globally, reflects a lack of resource orientation to face the triple environmental crisis we are facing: the climatic crisis, the loss of biodiversity and the pollution crisis. In an interview with France 24, Brian O’Callaghan, leader of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, emphasizes that by doing this, countries “are putting their future prosperity at risk.”
In Latin America and the Caribbean, most resources have been directed toward rescue plans to keep businesses afloat and preserve people’s lives. Only Jamaica, Panama, Brazil and Colombia enter the list of countries that have taken promising steps towards a sustainable post-Covid-19 reconstruction for now.
Recovery investments “have to be forward-thinking”
For Piedad Martín, acting director of the United Nations Environment Program in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNEP), it is necessary that this money from the recovery plans does not remain in a short-term investment, based on the same industries usual pollutants. According to her, “it is very important that this effort is not a mere expense and is an investment in the future that ensures that we comply with the Paris Agreements.”
From the UN, they see “with great concern that economic policies continue to prioritize investment in the same sectors that caused the health and climate crisis.” This, despite the fact that according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) decarbonization will generate 15 million jobs in the Latin American region.
UNEP also calls for young people to be included in decision-making, because they have been the ones who have suffered the most from the pandemic in terms of reduced opportunities and who are going to feel the effects of climate change the most.
Both Oxford and the UN recall that not all countries have the same investment capacity. While in Latin America and the Caribbean, post-pandemic recovery spending has been $ 490 per person, in the more developed economies it has been $ 12,700. An abysmal difference, but not voluntary.
In fact, the Costa Rican environment minister, speaking to France 24, acknowledged that Latin America still has a lot to do to carry out a sustainable recovery. However, he recalled that the pandemic has shown that the money is there and that the most polluting countries must be more supportive, while the countries receiving the funds must be consistent with their investment.