Knowledge Sharing Panel | Main Stage
Host: UNRISD & Green Economy Coalition
The full extent of the suffering caused by COVID-19, the Inequality Virus, is still emerging, but the pandemic has exposed the scale of global inequalities, and it is likely to exacerbate them. Rising unemployment, unequal access to social protection measures and the erosion of democracies globally bear testimony to a social contract in tatters. Declining trust in societal institutions, government, business, NGOs and media is rooted in this growing inequity. And human exploitation of nature has decimated biodiversity and ecosystem health. These overlapping crises will disproportionately impact those groups that are already bearing the worst impacts of the pandemic. Disparate, but connected voices such as the Black Lives Matter and the Extinction Rebellion movements, the UN Secretary General, the International Trade Union Congress and the World Economic Forum are each in their own way championing a new social contract. But it is not only the social contract, but also our relationship with nature that is broken. We need both a green and just, a people’s recovery, from the pandemic. A new eco-social contract is vital in delivering on the SDGs. It should be grounded in broad participation, dialogue and consensus building; constructed incrementally, sector by sector and issue by issue; and therefore, also nationally and sometimes locally specific. The contract will mitigate the effects of Covid-19 and reconfigure a range of relationships that have become sharply imbalanced—those between state and citizen, between capital and labour, between the Global North and South and patriarchal gender relations. It will help define rights and obligations, promote greater equality and solidarity, and provide legitimacy, credibility and buy-in for reforms underpinning transformative change. It must be fostered through a raft of change: policies and institutions that are democratic and inclusive and which promote gender and environmental justice, coupled with actions of citizens, workers and movements calling for transformative policies and actions – and holding their governments to account. This panel discussion, hosted by the GEC and UNRISD will bring together social movements, researchers and activists to discuss and debate the interlinked social and green agendas and the need for a new eco-social contract.
Isabell Kempf, Kumi Naidoo, Mueda Nawanat, Najma Mohamed, Paul Ladd, Rhoda Boateng