The COVID-19 pandemic challenges us to care for and support colleagues and partners in a time of great uncertainty. At SEI, we are sharpening our online collaboration skills, re-prioritizing our operations and re-orienting policy engagement.

Our organizational priorities are to ensure the well-being and safety of our employees and to keep our operations running as smoothly as possible.

SEI is an institute and community of almost 260 people, distributed over 10 physical locations in 7 countries. As an organization, we have been responding to COVID-19 since mid-January when the first effects of the crisis began to be felt by colleagues, projects and collaborations based in South East Asia. SEI’s crisis management team has been activated and SEI’s first travel restriction was issued at the beginning of February. This week, we put in place a ban on international travel and all employees are strongly encouraged to work from home (where this is not already required by local regulations). Since the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the world and may last for some time, we are carefully reviewing and mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 on our operations. We are already re-prioritizing projects, for example by bringing forward desk-based work that can be done while working from home.

“As we now say to each other, we say also to our partners and collaborators: ‘Although we are staying apart, we are coming together.'”

The backbone of our research and engagement activities is partnership, locally and globally, with scientists, policy makers and practitioners. While we’re used to working in teams scattered across the world, the current situation is a shift to our way of working. As we now say to each other, we say also to our partners and collaborators: ‘Although we are staying apart, we are coming together.’

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented stress test for policy. Those at the sharp end of decision making will be under extreme pressure, to keep health services functioning and to minimize the length and depth of the economic shock. Where our expertise is relevant and when we can make a constructive input, SEI will support policy makers and practitioners as they navigate this crisis. For example, we will provide evidence that can help to align the economic recovery with an equitable climate transition.

Especially in these uncertain and challenging times, we at SEI continue to do what we can to maintain momentum for a sustainable future for all.