UN and partners release new Research Roadmap to guide recovery from COVID-19

New report puts science focus on equity, resilience and sustainability to leave no one behind.

COVID-19 has exposed stark global inequities, fragilities and unsustainable practices that have intensified the impact of the pandemic. According to UN estimates, in 2020, 71 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty.

To immediately address the complex health, humanitarian and socio-economic consequences while boosting speedy recovery efforts, the UN has released a Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery, encouraging targeted research for data-driven responses that focus particularly on the needs of people being left behind.


UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery

Leveraging the Power of Science for a More Equitable, Resilient and Sustainable Future


The Roadmap highlights the choice between business as usual, or transformative change that is focused on equity, resilience and sustainability. This transformation requires knowledge of the best way forward, and science represents the world’s best chance for generating that knowledge and recovering better from the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have a historic opportunity for change; for macroeconomic choices and fiscal policies that are pro-poor and that place peoples’ rights at the centre of recovery. We must focus on gender equity and invest in public services and other measures that will help close the widening gap on inequalities and lead to a greener future.”

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in the report.

In an interdependent world—shared risk means shared responsibility. Designed to complement the existing UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19, the Roadmap identifies 25 main research priorities and key scientific strategies to support a recovery that benefits everyone, everywhere.

“The stakes are too high and the opportunity too great to leave the potential of science for a better COVID-19 recovery unfulfilled. The UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19

Recovery is a commitment and guide to bring the full promise of research to bear on today’s greatest challenges,” said Professor Steven J. Hoffman, Scientific Director of the Institute of Population & Public Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, who led the development of the Research Roadmap.


Note to editors:

The UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery articulates five research priorities for each of the five pillars identified in the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio- Economic Response to COVID-19. Below is one example of a research priority for each of the five pillars:

1. Health Systems and Services:

What strategies and financing models are most effective in expanding universal health coverage?

2. Social Protection and Basic Services:

What are the most effective and equitable ways of ensuring basic income protection for all?

3. Economic Response and Recovery:

How can food supply chains be secured for the world’s most marginalized populations to ensure food security and nutrition in all circumstances?

4. Macroeconomic Policies and Multilateral Collaboration:

What lessons from past economic crises can inform the design of national, regional and global recovery strategies?

5. Social Cohesion and Community Resilience:

What are the best strategies for building sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities that protect people from future pandemics and climate change?


Science strategies into action

The Roadmap also details how the implementation of an equitable, resilient and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 will require effective science strategies underpinned by investments in data infrastructure and sound scientific methods. The systems that support societies must quickly adapt to new knowledge and new technologies to recover as effectively as possible.

To advance the 25 research priorities identified in this Roadmap, action is needed across the research ecosystem. Researchers, funding agencies, governments and civil society organizations as well as UN entities will need to collaborate and maximize the impacts of investments in research. The Roadmap can guide global efforts, minimize gaps and duplication, and foster partnerships in order to accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.


How this Roadmap was developed

The Roadmap was developed in 10 weeks through a global consultative process that engaged more than 250 experts. The process included consultation with five steering groups made up of 38 research funding agencies, consultations with hundreds of policy, research and implementation leaders, and scoping reviews of existing research evidence on socio-economic recovery from health emergencies.

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