The Commission on Environment, Water Resources and Climate Change, of the National Commission of Governors of Mexico, coordinated by the Government of Jalisco, organised on 20 August the virtual event “Post COVID19 scenarios for a green recovery in a context of planetary limits.

Regions4 President, Ms Elena Moreno, was invited to take part in the high-level panel alongside Mr Sergio Humberto Graf, Secretary of Environment and Territorial Development of Jalisco and Regions4 Vice President for America; Mr José Luis Samaniego, Head of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and Mr Cuauhtémoc León, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Management Specialists of Mexico.

During her intervention, Regions4 President shared the perspective of the Regions4 community for a green recovery from a multi-level governance approach with sustainable development at the heart of the public policies to build back better.

Ms Elena Moreno
Regions4 President
Basque Deputy Minister for Environment 

Intervention, 20 August 2020

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has led to a paradigm shift, unprecedented challenges, and many uncertainties for our territories, as well as for the sustainability of our planet. We have seen how subnational governments around the globe have been and are at the forefront of the pandemic response to address the health emergency, revive the economy and assist the most vulnerable sectors. But we have also seen a lack of coordination of actions, a centralisation of competences and decision-making, and a clear need for greater funding of administrations at the regional level.

In the event organised by Regions4 last 10 July in the framework of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, we were able to discuss with regions such as Catalonia, Aland Islands, Jalisco, Navarra, Rabat-Salé-Kenitra, or Sao Paulo about a recovery that promotes food security, supports the most vulnerable sectors, guarantees access to information, and contributes to mitigating the dramatic economic impacts, promoting climate action and reversing the loss of biodiversity with urgency. We all agreed that speaking of green recovery means tackling the climate and biodiversity crises to avoid subsequent crises in the near future.

In the words of Sir Nicholas Stern, President of the Grantham Institute for Research on Climate Change and the Environment: “COVID-19 exposes the interaction between our environment and the economy and the urgent need to strengthen the quality and resilience of natural assets. We must prepare for future pandemics, but we must also recognise that climate change is a deeper and greater threat, one that will not go away.”

Therefore, subnational governments understand that this pandemic is an opportunity to transform our governments and our territories to move towards more sustainable, just, and resilient economic, social, and environmental models.

In order to do so, the international community has adopted the expression “Build back better”, leaving behind obsolete procedures to search for innovative solutions.

Building back better means accelerating efforts to decarbonize our economies and protect nature and its ecosystem services to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. It means starting to design the societies and economy of the future, focusing on renewable energies, sustainable production, electric mobility, circular economy, and creation of green jobs, among others. It means increasing political and social commitment, and transforming ourselves so that our human activities do not put our existence at risk.

The Regions4 Declaration launched last June, clearly acknowledges that: a green, inclusive, just, resilient, and sustainable recovery requires opening new channels of dialogue between the national, subnational, and local governments, the international community, businesses, and the civil society for a concerted response. It means placing life and the safety of our peoples and ecosystems at the heart of the public policies and our economies. It implies concrete short-term goals and actions, that can develop into solid long-term plans for each territory, with a strong focus in adaptation and resilience measures. It needs ensuring that available funding mechanisms empower subnational governments to implement the required measures to respond to the social, economic, and environmental impacts in their territories, as key implementors and leaders of sustainable development policies and actions worldwide.  

At Regions4, we reaffirm our conviction that working collectively for sustainable development from a multi-level governance approach, is the best tool to respond to the pandemic. The future of our planet depends on it.”