Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of The Cyprus Institute researchers including Elias Giannakis, Constantinos Taliotis, Marios Karmellos and Nestor Fylaktos, coordinated by Associate Professor Theodoros Zachariadis, have been working to identify appropriate measures for a green post-pandemic economic recovery, and assess these measures with economic and sustainability criteria. Economists of the World Bank and experts from the United Kingdom collaborated with CyI on this study, as this approach may serve as an example for other countries.
Stimulus packages could play a fundamental role in making the recovery more resilient and set in place pathways to decarbonization. In this context, CyI researchers developed a science-policy framework to enable decisions by policymakers with transparent analyses that combine expert knowledge, quantitative open-source modelling, qualitative inputs by diverse social actors, and multi-criteria decision assessment.
The analysis showed that a business-as-usual stimulus package is more than a missed opportunity to make the economy more sustainable: it is notably less efficient to generate economic activity and employment over the short-term than a greener package. In fact, it was found that several green interventions can create twice as many jobs per million Euros invested than a business-as-usual package that supports demand without sectoral targeting.
A crisis is a situation where timeliness is critical – it should not take years to shape an ideal recovery package. The two-step approach of CyI researchers – combining modelling when tools and data are available, and stakeholders’ opinion to complement quantified results and prioritize action – is one solution to find a balance between timeliness and confidence. Moreover, because this approach can cope with missing data and fragmented models, it can also be applied in multiple contexts, including where data and models are less easily available than, say, in EU countries.