The current global pandemic of Covid-19 is a health and broader crisis of overwhelming proportions, threatening livelihoods, economies, and societies, particularly those already experiencing the greatest vulnerabilities. In putting the lives of millions of people at risk, creating uncertainties, heightening existing fragilities, and exacerbating inequalities, it has become a truly global challenge. Crisis also brings opportunity, however, and in addition to short- and mid-term responses, this is a time to explore and work towards a genuine transformation of ideas, policies, programmes, and practices. This may all be encapsulated in the overall notion of ‘building back a better world’. Against this backdrop, this IDS Bulletin issue asks, fundamentally, how we can collectively and equitably shape – and even transform – our shared future, in the light of experience of Covid-19, and what steps are necessary for us to do so.