Thriving and just societies: integrating climate, nature and development in a COVID-19 green recovery


COVID-19 has exposed deep inequalities in our society. This event on 17 November brought together experts to discuss integrated action on climate, nature and development, in the context of a green recovery from the pandemic.

Last updated 27 November 2020
Three women walk down the side of a road carrying branches on their heads

Cassava farming in Sierra Leone (Photo: Annie Spratt, via Unsplash licence)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, and made worse, deeply entrenched vulnerability and inequality in our society. However, the recovery from COVID-19 presents opportunities to build a more resilient and adaptable society that can respond to a range of pressing risks today and in the future.

This London Climate Action Week event on Tuesday, 17 November brought together high-level speakers from different sectors of society to articulate the importance of integrated action on climate, nature and development, particularly in the context of a green recovery from COVID-19.

The event considered:

  • What are the interdependencies and interlinkages between climate, nature and development? How will society benefit from an integrated approach to addressing this triple agenda?
  • What is a green recovery, and what does the recovery from COVID-19 look like when climate, nature and development is at the heart of decision-making?
  • Through integrating climate, nature and development, how can we promote a just transition in the recovery from COVID-19 that also includes scaling up finance for locally led initiatives, with equitable governance that draws in indigenous and generational knowledge?

The next 12 months present a milestone opportunity to increase awareness, understanding and action of the importance of integrating climate, nature and development and embedding it in decision-making across society.

The event brought together representatives from grassroots networks, NGOs, government and academia to discuss the importance of integrated climate-nature action, and the need for ambitious policy commitments to act coherently on this triple emergency.

Event coverage 

IIED researchers Ebony Holland and Karen Wong Pérez summed up the discussions at the event in a blog that highlighted the need for an inclusive and equitable green recovery that places climate, nature and development at its heart.

You can watch a video recording of the complete event, including the question-and-answer session, below and on IIED's YouTube channel.

A further recording is available on YouTube of the pre-recorded speech delivered by Lord Zac Goldsmith.

Graphic illustration of event discussions

A graphic illustration of the discussions during the event. Open the illustration on IIED's Flickr site where you can zoom in to see more detail (Illustration: Jorge Martin/IIED) 

About the speakers

Andrew Norton (moderator) is director of IIED. He is an applied anthropologist working on a range of issues related to social and environmental justice.

Stanley Kimaren Ole Riamit is founder and executive director at Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), and a member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development (ELATIA).

Harriet Bulkeley is professor of geography at Durham University and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University. Her research is broadly concerned with the governance and politics of climate change, energy and sustainable development, and she has a particular interest in cities.

Lord Goldsmith is the Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). He was previously minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and at the Department for International Development from 10 September 2019 to 13 February 2020.

Andrea Ledward is director of international biodiversity and climate at the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Her responsibilities include HMG’s international nature and biodiversity strategy, Defra’s ODA spending, and policy responsibilities for the illegal wildlife trade, greening supply chains and sustainable land use and deforestation. 

Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi is the secretary of the National Environment Commission of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He is also the current chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the UNFCCC negotiations. 

Jorge Martin is a graphic recorder and illustrator.

IIED events newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list for updates and invitations to events throughout the year, including webinars, critical themes and debriefs.