Five principles for a just recovery

350.org have written an open letter calling for a global coronavirus response that leads us towards a fairer and more sustainable society. It’s a useful summary of the key principles that governments and authorities need to keep in mind as they struggle with how to get the economy open again. The letter is reproduced below, and can be signed here.

The COVID-19 pandemic demands swift and unprecedented action from national governments and the international community.

Choices being made right now will shape our society for years, if not decades to come.

As decision-makers take steps to ensure immediate relief and long-term recovery, it is imperative that they consider the interrelated crises of wealth inequality, racism, and ecological decline – notably the climate crisis, which were in place long before COVID-19, and now risk being intensified.

This is a time to be decisive in saving lives, and bold in charting a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a Just Recovery.

We, the undersigned organisations, call for a global response to COVID-19 to contribute to a just recovery. Responses at every level must uphold these five principles:

1.   Put people’s health first, no exceptions.

Resource health services everywhere; ensure access for all.

2.   Provide economic relief directly to the people.

Focus on people and workers – particularly those marginalised in existing systems – our short-term needs and long-term conditions.

3.   Help workers and communities, not corporate executives.

Assistance directed at specific industries must be channeled to communities and workers, not shareholders or corporate executives, and never to corporations that don’t commit to tackling the climate crisis.

4.   Create resilience for future crises.

We must create millions of decent jobs that will help power a just recovery and transition for workers and communities to the zero-carbon future we need.

5.   Build solidarity and community across borders – don’t empower authoritarians.

Transfer technology and finance to lower-income countries and communities to allow them to respond using these principles and share solutions across borders and communities. Do not use the crisis as an excuse to trample on human rights, civil liberties, and democracy.

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