World Environment Day: Commonwealth science academies call for a sustainable recovery from COVID

05 June 2020

To mark World Environment Day 2020, science academies from the Commonwealth, including the Royal Society, have issued a statement calling on governments across the Commonwealth to work together towards a resilient and environmentally sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It calls for Commonwealth governments to use next year’s COP26 climate conference as an opportunity to work together to tackle the ongoing linked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and to ensure that global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is environmentally sustainable across the Commonwealth and globally.

The statement has been signed by 18 science academies from across the Commonwealth, representing big and small nations around the globe, and talks about the opportunities to capitalise on the bloc’s strengths and the importance of international collaboration.

Professor Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, said, “While the world is quite rightly focused on the global COVID-19 emergency, the linked crises of climate change and species loss have not gone away. As the host of COP26 the UK has a critical part to play in the ‘green recovery’ from COVID-19 that we need to address these challenges. We must work closely with our international partners, in the Commonwealth and beyond, to agree ambitious carbon-cutting targets and invest in the research and technologies needed to limit further warming and biodiversity loss – and adapt our communities to cope with its worst effects.

“The Royal Society’s own work has highlighted the opportunities to invest in clean energy, carbon-capture and storage and sustainable agriculture as we aim for a future of net-zero emissions. These technologies can also help empower communities across the Commonwealth, creating new industries and laying the foundation for a more a sustainable future.  It’s vital we use the lessons of the last few months as a catalyst for a breakthrough on agreeing new global commitments in 2021 that will head off the longer lasting crises of climate change and species loss.”