Swedwatch publishes initial findings on impacts of COVID-19 on business, human rights & the environment in the Global South

Author: Swedwatch, Published on: 21 April 2020

“COVID-19, business, human rights and the environment”, 8 April 2020

This [Swedwatch] briefing provides initial findings and some examples of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting business, human rights and the environment (BHRE) in the global south in five thematic areas, [also providing recommendations].

  • Supply chains: Widespread lockdowns have caused companies to cancel orders, effectively closing factories and putting hundreds of thousands of workers in the global south out of jobs, leaving many with no income at short notice. Women garment workers…are at particular risk.
  • Climate and environment: Lock-down strategies…have led to a…reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. [However], countries [may]…turn to relatively…cheap…energy sources to quickly re-power their production systems [and could]…adopt measures relaxing environmental regulation. COVID-19…could also reduce the political will to adopt ambitious climate policies…
  • Civic space: …environmental and human rights defenders may face stronger opposition to their efforts to protect the environment and the rights of communities affected by business operations. States already experiencing shrinking civic space have introduced new authoritarian measures to silence critics and public debate…
  • Peacebuilding: The closure of many business operations…is likely to increase social tensions and exacerbate conflict over natural resources. It is crucial that humanitarian aid packages by governments, businesses and the development sector alike put in place to support to areas struggling with the crisis are sensitive to local conflicts…
  • Food security: Most poor communities lack access…to basic necessities including food. COVID-19 can further drive them towards destitution. [A]longside other threats to livelihoods, this will challenge regional economies and communities’ capacity to cope with disasters and will require large scale humanitarian responses…

[Follow the links for the full report and its recommendations]

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