A future-fit recovery?

A sectoral analysis of practices for promoting systemic change in the NRRPs based on the Recovery Index for Transformative Change (RITC)

The EUR 672.5 bn Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for EU Member States to channel new funding towards reshaping economic sectors, supporting communities and restoring ecosystems while simultaneously creating jobs for resilient societies and contributing to a healthy and just economic recovery. To access EU funds for their pandemic recovery, Member States submitted National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) to the European Commission that outline reforms and investments for recovering from the pandemic. 

To make a real difference for the future of the planet and the people who inhabit it, it is vital that Member States not only tackle the short-term solutions that will solve problems today, but design policies, measures and reforms which create systemic change for sustainable and resilient societies that can adapt to or mitigate future crises. These solutions need to benefit people and economies while also protecting nature and biodiversity, as climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening the essential foundations to life. 

ZOE Institute, in partnership with the New Economics Foundation, developed the Recovery Index for Transformative Change (RITC) to assess whether Member States’ NRRPs will contribute to the necessary transformation of society. Using the RITC, ZOE Institute has assessed 13* Member States’ NRRPs and the potentials and risks of the investments and reforms within using criteria for natural world, a just transition and systemic change.  

In many cases, our assessment revealed that the plans contain some missed opportunities, notably when it comes to translating solutions to social and environmental problems into new investments. Three main shortcomings were common across the plans: 

  1. A general lack of rigorous application of the Do No Significant Harm principle which often overlooks the risks to biodiversity in particular; 
  2.  In addition to supporting industries affected by the pandemic, the recovery needs to create jobs in those regions that are most affected by the digital and green transition. This will be important to decrease social polarisation in the recovery process; 
  3. The lack of a longer-term, overarching vision of the future to be built in this process. 

This report (available below for download) presents the assessment methodology and the results of the analysis at a sectoral level to paint a comprehensive picture about the kind of future that is promoted through investments and reforms in the NRRPs and offers specific examples of measures that take a transformative approach. In addition, it explains why and how some measures need improvements to comply with the guidance from the Commission and to contribute to overarching strategic goals like realising the European Green Deal or the Sustainable Development Goals. This sectoral analysis also illustrates emerging trends for the EU as a whole and thus provides insights on what kind of future we can expect from the plans and what more needs to be done.  

*Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain 





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