Climate Technology Centre & Network Progress Report 2020


An unprecedented pandemic reminds the world of our fundamental interdependence. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven itself as not only a major health threat, but also a social and economic crisis that has exposed how countries are often unprepared and slow to respond to threats that were already on their radar.

Although its impact may be minor and short-lived in comparison to the negative effects of climate change, the pandemic has nevertheless created vast disruption, and has redirected the world’s focus to singularly dealing with this crisis, thereby making progress on climate change goals and related SDGs more challenging.

There are lessons to be learned from this experience however, which are of significant relevance to global climate change efforts. COVID-19 provided a stark example of the interdependencies between the natural world, health systems, economies, and society. It demonstrated how marginalized populations often bear the brunt of societal disruptions in terms of job loss, health outcomes, and security. However, it has also taught us that several means to address global challenges already exist and simply need to be implemented consistently, scaled up, and reinforced through effective policies to generate a substantial impact. The COVID response has also demonstrated on one hand how quickly new solutions can be developed when they are prioritized globally; and on the other, how ignoring scientific guidance or delaying action can lead to considerable and unnecessary negative consequences to lives, health systems, the economy, and basic societal functioning.


“And when we get past this crisis, we will face a choice – go back to the world we knew before or deal decisively with those issues that make us all unnecessarily vulnerable to this and future crises. Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal and inclusive societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other challenges we face.”

— U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres