The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the relationship between the market economy, state and society in almost every country worldwide. While the economy paused and literally shut down in many countries during the first wave of the pandemic, the state and civil society have gained new significance in protecting people from the ravages of the coronavirus. This shift has affected the public’s perception of the role of markets, government and society in response to the worldwide shock. In particular there is an increased recognition that societal well-being goes well beyond material prosperity and that society, governments and markets should contribute to enhancing human well-being in a sustainable fashion.
The Italian G20 Presidency comes at a time when uncertainties concerning the evolution of the pandemic persist and its economic impact is expected to weigh heavily on economies and societies for many years. In addition, the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate crises have catapulted vulnerabilities that emerged from an equity chasm, leaving whole segments of the human population – people with disabilities, older people, displaced and refugee populations, women and children – particularly vulnerable to psychological, social and economic shocks. However, crises force re-evaluations, reconsiderations and reprioritisations to build forward better, on individual and collective levels, in institutions and among those that govern them, to promote equity, inclusion and well-being for all, leaving no one behind.