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January 2021 marked a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with over two million people dead. Since the new strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged on the global stage in early 2020, an historical and unprecedented effort has been deployed to quell this global health crisis. As we settle into a new year with increased optimism following the successful development of vaccines against COVID-19, we are turning our sights toward the future, with critical policy questions in mind.
Iceland will reach carbon neutrality before the year 2040. This is the ambitious goal that my government set in September 2018 when it introduced a new climate action plan to get us there. We are taking actions that tackle the three major global environmental challenges – on biological diversity, climate change and desertification – simultaneously.
The plight of people migrating in the context of environmental degradation, climate change impacts and natural disasters and the potential governance responses to such challenges have received a lot of attention in recent years. Therefore, the finalization of the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCN) in July 2018 represents an important milestone for many of the policymakers and practitioners working on environmental migration matters.