While we’re certainly not done with the pandemic, two years of experience has given us a great deal of insight on how we identify and manage systemic risks, as a new report illustrates.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has released a new report that presents findings from five case studies in different countries (Ecuador, India, Togo, Bangladesh and Indonesia), touching on social and environmental issues and lessons learned on the prevention and management of risks.
Among the insights:
- Cascading effects across sectors, systems and borders – Beyond the direct health impacts, the pandemic created cascading effects on social and economic systems around the world; Togo, for instance, experienced a low number of COVID cases, but the restriction efforts to keep at-risk groups protected put a severe strain on the economy.
- Compounding risks of climate change, natural hazards and the pandemic – Extreme weather events didn’t slow down during the pandemic, they just created additional challenges, such as those faced in the Indian Sundarbans, which had to deal with a cyclone that destroyed schools already reeling from the pandemic. This will ultimately effect children’s education down the line, as dropout rates typically rise in the wake of disaster.
- COVID-19 amplifies existing vulnerabilities – Those already dealing with societal inequities were hit hardest by the pandemic, as those in poor areas unable to socially distance in overcrowded housing dealt with higher infection rates, reduced education opportunities and more, ultimately widening the inequality gap.
- COVID-19 is hampering the progress in sustainable development goals (SDGs) – Goals such as No Poverty, Health & Well-Being, Quality Education and Decent Work & Economic Growth have slowed, but some positive effects were observed, such as the introduction or expansion of social protection programs and acceleration of digitalization processes worldwide.
- Lessons for prevention, preparedness and risk management – The past two years have shown that risk cannot be eliminated, but must be constantly managed, monitored and treated, from local and regional to national and international level.
Click here to read the complete report.