Thematic package: Corona and sustainability


IASS-research overview to the pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic remains an important topic throughout the world. A number of contributions on the IASS website address the pandemic and its consequences from the perspective of sustainability. We would be happy to put you in contact with the respective authors.

How ecological Value Chains Can Help Societies Tackle the Coronavirus Crisis

(Armin Haas)

The coronavirus pandemic has cast a spotlight on the vulnerability of global value chains. Sustainable value chains at the regional level could bring more stability to the post-pandemic world. A team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has developed a typology of climate win-win strategies that can be used to identify sustainable regional value chains.

Article and publication:

Brazil: Can Covid-19 Open the Door for New Pandemics?

(Artur Sgambatti Monteiro)

Brazil is one of the hotspots of the corona pandemic, and the Brazilian Amazon is particularly hard hit. In a new Discussion Paper, IASS Fellow Artur Sgambatti Monteiro and Lucas Lima dos Santos describe the impacts of the pandemic on the region. The virus has overwhelmed the poor healthcare system in Amazonian cities and towns. Indigenous groups are especially vulnerable because the pandemic has opened the floodgates for the illegal deforestation and invasion of their territories. The authors warn that the encroachment on previously untouched parts of the forest could give rise to new transmissible zoonoses.


Discussion paper:

Better Prepared for Future Crises: Recommendations from Risk Researchers

(Ortwin Renn)

Although there were early warnings of an exponentially growing pandemic, most policymakers around the world were unprepared and reluctant to act when Covid-19 first spread from China around the world. Since then the crisis has led to unprecedented restrictions and triggered the worst recession since the Second World War. In an article published in the Journal of Risk Research, Aengus Collins, Marie-Valentine Florin (both EPFL International Risk Governance Center) and IASS Scientific Director Ortwin Renn analyze the key factors and offer recommendations on how we can better prepare for future crises.

Article and publication:

Covid-19 Crisis: Renewables Can Help to Unburden Health Care Systems and Restart Economies

(Laura Nagel)

Economies around the world have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Substantial political efforts will be needed to stabilize employment markets and relieve pressure on health systems. Renewable energy generation can provide important stimuli for efforts to achieve these goals. A team of researchers with the COBENEFITS project at the IASS has analysed the potential benefits of decarbonizing the energy sector.


Fact Sheet:

Build Resilience with Cleaner Air: Learning from Covid-19

(Kathleen A. Mar, Erika von Schneidemesser)

New research links air pollution to severe Covid-19 progression. This should prompt a re-evaluation of German commitments to safeguarding and improving air quality. Clean air deserves a more prominent place in Germany’s Strategy for Sustainable Development 2020.


The transport sector – Climate policy’s problem child and the coronavirus crisis

(Tobias Haas, Ina Richter)

Transport is the problem child of climate). While emissions reductions have been achieved across every other sector since 1990, transport-related emissions have climbed by 3.7 percent between 1990 and 2018. And the number of passengers on public transport has collapsed in the pandemic.


Impacts of the Pandemic on the Argentinean Energy Sector

(German Bersalli)

Argentina is among the countries hardest hit by the social and economic consequences of the current pandemic. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is predicting the worst economic crisis in the history of Latin America, with a fall in GDP of over 5 percent and millions more people pushed into poverty.


Lack of Clean Cooking Energy Aggravates Coronavirus Impact in Africa (Grace Kageni Mbungu)

d the world the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted life as we know it. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the coronavirus exists on top of many underlying health, social, and economic inequalities, and vulnerabilities. The best hope for African countries is to be spared by the coronavirus, but in truth, people are already suffering from the burdens of stringent lockdown measures imposed to contain the spread of the virus.



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Matthias Tang
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