Building resilience and greening the COVID-19 recovery in least developed countries

March 2021 to October 2021

Least developed countries (LDCs) are currently dealing with multiple shocks from both climate and COVID-19-related impacts. IIED and country partners have been undertaking in-depth research to explore policy responses to build forward better from COVID-19 from the LDCs’ perspective. 

A woman holds a poster with instructions. Another one holds a loudpseaker and points at a poster.

Youth volunteers raise awareness against the spread of COVID-19 among communities (Photo: United Nations Peacebuilding via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption in least developed countries (LDCs), curbing economic activity and increasing the pressure on national health and social support systems, threatening hard-won development gains.

LDCs are already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change and facing multiple challenges that require undivided financial and technical resources. However, there are opportunities to build back better with climate-friendly policies that can deliver a better result both for the environment and economies.

As the Paris Agreement moves into post-2020 implementation, harnessing the levers of both national implementation and global decision-making to bring about transformational change will be key to COVID-19 response and recovery.

IIED has been undertaking in-depth research, as requested by the LDC Group, to explore policy responses to build forward better from the LDCs’ perspective. This focuses mainly on four workstreams: 

  1. Mobilising resources for equitable, green and resilient recovery through debt relief and debt swaps  
  2. Delivering rapid support for a green and resilient COVID-19 recovery 
  3. Renewable energy access for jobs and livelihoods, and
  4. Local nature-based solutions for COVID-19 recovery and resilience. 

Through a series of briefings, blogs and guides, IIED and partners will explore policy responses and potential pathways to build forward better from the LDCs’ perspective.

In parallel, IIED is also collaborating with The Gambia’s COVID-19 Socio-Economic and Recovery Secretariat to produce a series of three policy briefs. The research aims to explore the considerations and requirements for effective national recovery planning and proposes strategic interventions.

The secretariat, in partnership with UNDP, is aiming to reprioritise the current national development plan to serve as a blueprint for a resilient and green recovery - one with people, nature and climate at its core.

Taking an in-depth look at the opportunities presented by digitalisation, green financing mechanisms and cross-sectoral planning for an effective COVID-19 recovery in The Gambia, much of the research is applicable to the recovery journeys of other LDCs.


Sustainable financing of The Gambia’s development in a COVID-19 era, Samba B Jallow, Isatou F Camara, Gabrielle SA Swaby (2021), IIED Briefing

Planning a green and resilient COVID-19 recovery in The Gambia, Samba B Jallow, Isatou F Camara, Gabrielle SA Swaby (2021), IIED Briefing

Productive uses of energy for resilient livelihoods in LDCs, Kevin Johnstone (2021), IIED Briefing