The world is entering an era where sustainability is seen as an economically prudent choice, with environmental co-benefits. As the current pandemic shows for public health, the cost of being ill-prepared and uninformed is far greater than the initial cost of investing in resilient institutions and systems. For Southeast Asia, sustainable development must rise to the top of the policy agenda. The post-pandemic response can ensure regional resilience against future shocks. Further, investments today in clean energy and resource-efficient, circular production models can unleash innovation and products that cater to the demands and needs of generations to come. Globally, institutions, scientists and a growing movement of young people are demanding broad-based stimulus packages to support climate-positive investments, with studies citing the mutual economic and environmental benefits of a green fiscal response in the post-pandemic period.