Opportunities and challenges for the convergence of post COVID-19 recovery and resilient low-emission development agendas

The Community of Practice on Private Sector Engagement in Climate Policy Processes

convened regional experts for an online chat.


San José. May 19, 2020.  As part of the activities of the Community of Practice on Private Sector Engagement in Climate Policy Processes in Latin America, jointly facilitated by the EUROCLIMA+ Programme through the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), under the framework of the line of action for articulation with the private sector, the Regional LEDS LAC Platform and the Latin American Centre for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development of the INCAE Business School, last May 8, held an online discussion about COVID-19 and resilient low-emission development, emphasising the opportunities for convergence of agendas from the perspective of the Private Sector.

The exchange session started with the presentation of Virginia Vilariño, Energy and Climate Manager of the Argentine Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEADS), who provided the framework for the discussion based on a presentation of the context. In this regard, the presenter indicated that it is estimated that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be reduced between 4 and 11% this year, as a result of the decrease in economic activity. However, if there is no structural change and a return to "business as usual", this decrease would be short term and have little impact on the GHG concentrations that have accumulated in the atmosphere over decades.

Along with this, the presenter commented that the pandemic has shown how exposed our way of life and our productive systems are to major disruptions, the connection between various global crises, and the key role of collaborative action at the global level. She also pointed out that, although the general measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are not a model for climate action, the role of digital services for the continuity of economic and social life, the need for new work models, and the possibility of achieving changes in habits and behaviour, among other points, have become clear.

Finally, she indicated that recovery from the COVID-19 crisis presents opportunities and threats to improving the resilience of societies, economies, and businesses, and that taking advantage of these depends on all actors: governments, businesses, financial institutions, and citizens. Decisions and choices made for economic recovery will have major consequences for long-term emission trajectories, and it must be ensured that recovery is green and inclusive, that climate and ecosystem co-benefits are maximised, and that we are not locked into carbon-intensive trajectories.

After the presentation, a discussion panel was held, with the participation of Paola Herrera, Executive Director of the Corporación Ambiental Empresarial (CAEM) of Colombia; Elizabeth Venegas, Director of the Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo (AED) of Costa Rica; Carlos Descourvieres, Sustainability Manager of Chile’s Food Company Association (Chilealimentos); Lawrence Pratt, Professor and Director of the René Morales Carazo Chair of Entrepreneurship at the INCAE Business School; and Virginia Vilariño. The panel was moderated by Ana María Majano, Coordinator of the Community of Practice on behalf of the LEDS LAC Regional Platform.

In this space, the panellists commented on the opportunities to converge the agenda of care and recovery from the pandemic with the climate agenda, and the efforts being made by their respective organisations to promote the development of business and government strategies with this vision. The invited experts agreed that the attention to the emergency generated by COVID-19 and the recovery processes open the opportunity to take transformative actions that will lead the economies of Latin American countries to a low-carbon development path that is more resilient to all types of threats.

The expert panel also discussed the challenges in taking advantage of the opportunities identified. These included the need for a long-term vision, in governments as well as businesses; ensuring that post-pandemic investment strategies prioritise green investments; making financing available for recovery oriented towards sustainable investments; and maintaining and strengthening the spaces for public-private dialogue that have been opened in some countries during the crisis, to continue dialogue and collaboration on sustainability issues.

The talk was widely attended by people from Latin America and other regions, who were invited through the networks of the organising partners and the member organisations of the Community of Practice. The recording of the session and the presentations are available at this link.

About the Community of Practice:

The Community of Practice on Private Sector Engagement in Climate Policy Processes in Latin America is an initiative of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme, through the the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), under the framework of the line of action for articulation with the private sector, the INCAE Business School's Latin American Centre for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) and the LEDS LAC Regional Platform. Its objective is to contribute to the development and consolidation of mechanisms to articulate the participation of the private sector in the formulation and implementation of climate policies with a particular focus on the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). To this end, it promotes the exchange of experiences and best practices, joint learning and collaboration to address common challenges, among country teams of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme, made up of representatives of government institutions and private sector organisations that are carrying out initiatives related to this issue.


CLACDS is the INCAE Business School's main think tank and applied research centre. Its mission is to promote sustainable development in the region through applied research, capacity building, dialogue, participatory strategy design, and the transfer of best practices. CLACDS uses a four-pronged methodology that unites competitiveness, social progress, environmental performance, and governance. The recent impact of CLACDS is seen in regional economic integration, the incorporation of environmental and social attributes in businesses, and evidence-based decision making.


EUROCLIMA+ is a programme financed by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Agency for Development (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), and UN Environment.


Euroclima is the European Union's flagship programme on environmental sustainability and climate change with Latin America. It aims to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in Latin America by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation through resilience and investment. 
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