14 May 2020 Report

Working with the environment to protect people: Covid-19 Response

Authors: UN Environment Programme

bannerCOVID-19 is a reminder that human health is linked to the planet’s health. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. They account for seventy-five percent of all emerging infectious diseases. To prevent future outbreaks, we must address the threats to ecosystems and wildlife, including habitat loss, illegal trade, pollution and climate change.

Related updates


  • Zoonotic Diseases
    Zoonotic disease transmission is a global, regional and local challenge, so solutions must be context specific. There is no one-size-fits-all. Given this, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will support targeted, site-specific strategies to reduce the threat of such diseases by considering the impacts on equity, indigenous communities and vulnerable groups.

  • Trade and the Environment
    All relevant stakeholders, including the UN, governments and businesses, should cooperate to address the crisis of the global economy with stimulus packages and fiscal reforms that are greener and more sustainable. There are significant opportunities for governments to simultaneously address environmental objectives and ensure that recovery leads to more sustainable outcomes.

  • Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions through Nature-Based Solutions and Resource Efficiency
    UNEP can identify and provide guidance on opportunities with high potential for climate mitigation and adaptation, and how to harness climate benefits from nature-based solutions and use resources more efficiently to help countries transition advantageously to greener, more inclusive economies. 

  • Global Environmental Governance
    UNEP is developing a study of the practices of intergovernmental bodies with regards to virtual and online meetings, applying rules of procedure to such meetings, and identifying barriers and reforms.

  • Green Jobs
    UNEP is committed to supporting countries as they recover from COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable consumption and production, green and decent jobs and just transitions for employees and sectors impacted most by shifts to greener and more sustainable economies.

  • Greening Fiscal Stimulus and Finance Packages to Achieve the SDGs
    UNEP is committed to supporting countries in recovering from COVID-19 by placing green stimulus packages, fiscal policy and a just transition at the core of its offerings.

  • Waste Management
    UNEP is working in collaboration with governments, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and nongovernmental organizations to mitigate the adverse impacts on global environment from the increase of waste produced in response to the crisis, through controlling releases of harmful chemicals in the atmosphere, land and water.

  • COVID-19 Waste management Factsheets:
    In addition, UNEP has developed a set of factsheets to assist policy makers and stakeholders respond to the Covid-19 waste in support of response and recovery efforts to build back better.