The COVID-19 health emergency that the world has been facing in recent months is a global crisis that has challenged health systems, undermined productivity and is undermining efforts to tackle poverty and inequality. These are challenges that, in the coming months, will require a concerted and collaborative effort among and within nations to overcome.

While it is to be hoped that the immediate responses to the coronavirus crisis will be swiftly effective, we must not forget one of the most lasting and universal challenges we face – that of climate change.

In early April, the United Nations climate office (UNFCCC) decided to postpone COP26, the nations’ climate conference to be held from 9 to 20 November in Glasgow, Scotland, in partnership with Italy, to be held in 2021. Experts from the Conference of the Parties (COP) welcomed the decision to postpone the summit to avoid potential dangerous situations for insiders but also for possible delays by governments in responding to climate change as they were clearly committed to the COVID-19 emergency front.

Nevertheless, they all agree that economic and social recovery after the health crisis must be designed in line with the principles of environmental protection and the fight against climate change. In Italy, Environment Minister Sergio Costa stressed that the postponement of COP26 does not mean lowering the guard or giving less priority to the environmental issue and reiterated that “the fight requires strong, global and ambitious actions“. On the same line, the representatives of Greenpeace, WWF and Legambiente.

Finally, Laurence Tubiana, former French Ambassador of COP21 and CEO of the European Climate Foundation said that “governments should use this time to design resilient economic recovery plans that consider climate, biodiversity, development and social justice in an integrated way. This crisis is demonstrating that international cooperation and solidarity are essential to protect global well-being and peace. Next year’s COP26 should become the focus of revitalised global cooperation“.