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Published: 21 Apr, 2021

“Covid-19 puts global sustainability efforts on the forefront”

NEWS From the spread of infection and vaccine preparedness to food supply and carbon dioxide emissions. Right now, Covid-19 is impacting people throughout the world, but the consequences vary from country to country. To take on a broader and more international perspective on the pandemic and its consequences, distinguished researchers will meet at a digital symposium hosted by Umeå University on 5 May.

Text: Camilla Bergvall/David Meyers

“The pandemic challenges and changes societies all over the world, and new knowledge about Covid-19 is coming all the time,” says Joacim Rocklöv, researcher and epidemiologist at Umeå University. “It is important to consider several different perspectives on what is happening right now, and what the consequences of the pandemic will be - from the pattern of spreading and vaccine preparedness, to public health and green transition.”

He is also one of the initiators of the Umeå Transformation Research Initiative (UTRI) network, which is organising an international, interdisciplinary symposium on 5 May, with topics including: different vaccination strategies; how weather conditions affect the spread of infection; how the pandemic affects the food supply in developing countries; the positive effects of pandemic measures on the spread of dengue; and how the recovery from the pandemic may become greener.

The pandemic can actually help us understand the importance of also accelerating development in other areas

“We are still quite unaccustomed to thinking from a holistic perspective, but the pandemic can actually help us understand the importance of also accelerating development in other areas and start collaborating more between different research orientations to solve difficult societal challenges,” says Joacim Rocklöv.

Rapid green transition

Joacim Rocklöv says that the pandemic puts global sustainability efforts on the forefront, and emphasises how urgent it actually is to bring about change. And that we humans are not as safe as we might have thought.

We must learn to act together and with good safety margins to deal with climate change

“A green transition is needed now, not later,” he says. “Here, the parallels with Covid-19 management are clear - if we take certain measures and then wait too long, it will be much more difficult to do something about the situation. We must learn to act together and with good safety margins to deal with climate change, so that society becomes safer and more secure for future generations.”

The symposium titled “COVID-19 - from vaccine strategies to effects in developing countries and green recovery” takes place on 5 May and will be held in English.  All are welcome to listen, but pre-registration is required.

Joacim Rocklöv
Professor
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