Ceres2030’s response to the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis for the planet. It is not the first shock, nor likely to be the last. But the pandemic is showing us just what it means to face a crisis in a world whose systems are global and interlinked. If the climate crisis should have forced this interdependence to the fore, it still had not won the political struggle for action. But COVID-19 is not slow-acting. In a matter of months, most of whole world has been touched. In its wake, the virus is exposing stark inequalities within and among countries.

Responding to the health emergency is the first essential government action. Yet on the heels of the health response, and for some countries even anticipating the disease itself, the governments’ reactions have created secondary threats that include, mostly urgently, threats to food security.

Ceres2030 was due to report in June 2020 – much of its research is done. But now that the launch is postponed until the autumn, and meanwhile the world is in turmoil. Of course the Ceres2030 team has reflected on what it needs to do differently, not least in recognition of how recent gains in global food security are threatened.

The threats are immediate: The numbers of people facing immediate hunger have increased dramatically, everywhere. At the same time, the economic shut-down is widely expected to result in a dramatic global economic slowdown and recession. This will inevitably change the assumptions informing the economic dynamics used in Ceres2030’s economic model.

At the same time as we come to terms with our new normal, Ceres2030 has taken on additional urgency. The need to respond with sound policies that protect and promote the long-term transformation that governments embraced before the pandemic are only made more urgent by the inequalities revealed as the pandemic unfolds.

Here are some of the materials produced by the Ceres2030 team in the first days and weeks of COVID-19. More will follow.