OECD Regional Outlook 2021

Addressing COVID-19 and Moving to Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the close relationship between environmental risks and those to the foundations of human well-being – and the cascading effects on the economy and society. It has also highlighted the importance of anticipation and early action. These are also key to integrating climate policy into regional development, albeit on a larger scale. As with COVID-19, the climate challenge is global, but the response needs to build on regional and local actors, natural environments, geographies and infrastructures.

The 2021 edition of the OECD Regional Outlook shows that a place-based approach is vital for resilience in the face of both these challenges. It analyses the different territorial impacts of COVID-19 on health and economy, as well as policy responses. The report explores the different territorial implications of moving to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 whilst adapting to inevitable climate change, and provides fresh analysis of regional data. It provides insights for integrating the climate challenge into multi-level governance, urban and rural development so as to leave no region behind. It highlights the opportunity we have to draw lessons from COVID-19 for a place-based response to the climate challenge.



The fifth edition of the OECD Regional Outlook: Addressing COVID-19 and moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions comes at a critical juncture. The COVID 19 crisis has laid bare a number of weaknesses in our economic and social systems and, in doing so, starkly revealed the interconnectivity between the environment, economies and people. Many of these weaknesses were apparent before COVID-19 but less so the costs of inaction to address them and, in turn, their unprecedented consequences.


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