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British-German Alumni: Staying connected in 2020. Greening the post-COVID economic recovery


The world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic. Europe has been the epicentre for the Covid-19 virus – 2020 will be a year of great challenge and change for the continent and the world.

In these testing times Wilton Park, with the FCO, convened a series of virtual dialogues to address the medium and longer term impacts of COVID-19, considering how can the UK, Germany and other partners work together to lessen the global economic impact and combat the disease both in our own countries and in developing countries which are likely to need more international assistance.

These monthly virtual discussions provided an opportunity for alumni of the British German Forum and Young Koenigswinter and those interested in British-German relations to connect, even when it is not possible face-to-face, and share thoughts on critical issues.

The third event in the series focused the opportunities and challenges in greening and global economic recovery.

These are unprecedented times economically with extraordinary fiscal measures being taken by governments to sustain economies in response to the global pandemic. The IMF is predicting a contraction of the global economy up to 3%. In Europe, many businesses are struggling, some have already collapsed with millions of people losing jobs or facing redundancy.

However, as the UK and Germany slowly emerge from lockdown of their societies and economies, there are opportunities to press the ‘reset’ button in the way individuals live and societies and economies operate.

Governments have provided significant economic stimuli designed to kick-start the economy and recover from the economic shocks the pandemic has brought. At the same time, if the world continues on its current trajectory of climate change it will have a massive impact on the planet, and global economy.

With consensus now gathering that climate action and economic growth are complimentary rather than mutually exclusive, countries have the opportunity to facilitate a shift towards a green economic and industrial policy and the associated long-term economic benefits. There are calls for governments to make so-called ‘green’ investments, re-shaping markets and the economy and stimulating long-term innovation.

Questions considered include:

    • How to ensure an inclusive global economic recovery and one that puts the world on a pathway to delivering the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees? What policies would help prevent emissions rebounding as countries seek to rebuild economies?
    • What are the transformations that are going to be needed for a ‘climate-compatible’ green recovery? What initiatives could be introduced to rebuild UK and German economies in a green manner? Will they be enough? How green is Germany’s recently announced stimulus package?
    • Are we ready as countries, societies and individuals to make the necessary transformational changes needed?
    • What opportunities and challenges come with initiating a green recovery? Eg for social inequalities, employment, resilience etc?
    • How can the UK and Germany work together to support and lead a green and resilient global recovery?



Summary notes

WP1789V1 Summary discussion
WP1789V2 Summary discussion
WP1789V3 Summary discussion

Wilton Park reference number: WP1789V3

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