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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unequal responses and unequal impacts in countries and around the world. Science has uncovered much about the virus and made extraordinary and unprecedented progress on vaccine and treatment development, but there is still great uncertainty as the pandemic continues to evolve.
In 2021, the International Science Council, with the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction and the World Health Organization as observers, launched the COVID-19 Outcomes Scenarios Initiative – a project to outline the most plausible outcomes of the pandemic in the next 3-5 years, understand its potential impact global health, inequalities, and the economy, and outline how an optimistic and fair end to the pandemic might be achieved for the global community. An article in The Lancet finds that:
What emerges next will not only depend on the ongoing evolution of the virus, but on the behaviours of citizens, on the decisions of governments, on progress in medical science, and on the extent to which the international community can stand together in its efforts to defeat the virus.
Throughout the pandemic, many politicians have talked about the importance of “following the science” when implementing COVID-19 policy. However, there has sometimes been a disconnect between government policy and the fast-evolving scientific evidence.
During this HLPF side event, scientists, policy-makers, and civil society representatives discussed:
1. What has the pandemic taught the global community about policy-making thus far? What went well? What didn’t go well? What new policies are needed to minimize any long-term negative consequences of the pandemic?
2. What do scientists need to do to ensure that evidence is better understood and is taken up by policy-makers?
3. What do policy-makers need to do to put into practice evidence-based decision making?
4. How can civil society be better engaged in the development of policies?
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, and head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Handa Professor of Global Health
Director of ceres (cologne center for ethics, rights, economics, and social sciences of health)
Senior Researcher at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas of Argentina)
Full Professor at the School of Applied Mathematics (EMAp) at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), Full Professor (retired) at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ) and Associate Professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)
Learn more about the COVID-19 Scenarios Project.
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“Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development”
Relevant reading materials
- Tell me a story – why climate change communication needs to embrace our childlike curiosity
- Tackling Climate Change with COVID-19 Urgency – by ISC Patron, Mary Robinson and ISC President, Daya Reddy
- From COVID-19 crisis comes opportunity to rethink risk – by Heide Hackmann, ISC CEO and Mami Mizutori, Secretary-General UNDRR
- Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
- Hazard Definition and Classification Review
- Biological Hazards and Risk Assessment
- Words into Action Guide: Man-made and Technological Hazards
- Action Brief: Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction in the context of COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific
- Review of COVID-19 Disaster Risk Governance in Asia and the Pacific
- Tsunami Evacuation during COVID-19: A Guide for School Administrators