From political views to classifying favourite holiday movies, our world is bitterly divided. But if there is one thing we all seem to agree on, it is that the year 2020 has been an annus horribilis.
The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a health and economic crisis unprecedented in scope and magnitude. National lockdowns enforced in March and April paralyzed economic activity across the board, leaving millions of workers worldwide without jobs and wiping out nearly all the output gains of the previous four years.
A re-opening in July and August has led to a second surge of infections, especially in Europe and the United States.
While the world economy ends 2020 in better shape than many experts predicted, the long-term effects of the pandemic will continue to impact it in the future. Despite a temporary boost from fiscal stimulus measures, rising levels of poverty, inequality, and debt, falling trade and investments, and low productivity continue throwing roadblocks in the way of a robust economic rebound.
As the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are rolled out this month, we are ending 2020 on a hopeful note. But will the world economy receive a similar booster shot? At the recently concluded Climate Ambition Summit, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world leaders to rebuild a global economy that is fairer and more sustainable.
“The recovery from COVID-19 presents an opportunity to set our economies and societies on a green path in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.