Ensuring a Post-COVID Economic Agenda Tackles Global Biodiversity Loss

Pamela McElwee, Joachim Spangenberg, Anthony Waldron, Rupert Baumgartner, Brent Bleys, Michael Howard, Eric Mungata, Irene Ring, Rui Santos, Esther Turnhout, Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, Jennifer Clapp, Cynthia Isenhour, Tim Jackson, Kelemen Eszter, Daniel Miller, Graciela Rusch

Research output: Working paper


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic impacts to the global economy that are unprecedented in scale and scope. Many governments are now proposing recovery packages to get back to normal economic functioning, but the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment indicated that business as usual was responsible for ecosystem degradation and species extinction risks. Therefore, a vision of a post-COVID world needs to put biodiversity measures front and center, but so far, most attention related to the current pandemic has primarily focused on wildlife trade bans and expanded nature conservation. Such limited measures do not tackle the wider issues and drivers that create economic demands and ecological disruptions in the first place. Consequently, in this paper we put forth suggestions for short term stimulus measures and longer-term revamping of global, national and local economies that take biodiversity into account. These include measures to shift away from economic activities that cause undue harm to biodiversity and ecosystems (such as harmful subsidies and unsustainable production and trade) and towards activities that support ecosystem resilience through a variety of economic tools (including incentives, regulation, fiscal policy and employment programs). Only by treating the current pandemic as an opportunity to reset the global economy to move to a more sustainable path are we likely to be able to reverse decades of biodiversity and ecosystem losses.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages45
StatePublished - Jul 10 2020


  • sustainable economies
  • transformative change
  • COVID-19
  • biodiversity
  • climate
  • economic policy

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    McElwee, P., Spangenberg, J., Waldron, A., Baumgartner, R., Bleys, B., Howard, M., Mungata, E., Ring, I., Santos, R., Turnhout, E., Chiroleu-Assouline, M., Clapp, J., Isenhour, C., Jackson, T., Eszter, K., Miller, D., & Rusch, G. (2020). Ensuring a Post-COVID Economic Agenda Tackles Global Biodiversity Loss. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3647411