Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks 2012-2014
Potential catastrophic risks, from the potential for global pandemics of the Coronavirus from Saudi Arabia or the H7N9 avian flu virus from China to the recent financial crisis, seem always present. Political leaders encourage their citizens to put their faith in specialized institutions designed to deal with specific types of risks, predominantly natural disasters, such as special United Nations agencies. However, the approaches to building resilience and coping with the impact of catastrophic risks have changed little in recent years.
The interdependencies and cascading effects of events are rarely considered. For example, governments, international organizations and “centres of excellence” are collaborating on the development of antivirals and public health systems to address pandemics. However, the impact of a pandemic on livelihoods and the resulting effects on the economy are less well understood, and the experiences of joint public-private collaboration on building resilience are rarely considered.
What the Council is doing about it
The Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks is attempting to build opportunities for experience-sharing and broader consideration of resilience, not only on the initial consequences of a catastrophic event but also on other aspects of government, society, and the economy. The Council has been conducting activities to address these concerns and to create new opportunities:
- By creating and providing case studies to the World Economic Forum Risk Response Network’s “Leading Practices Exchange”, the Council has been contributing to a database of knowledge with a credible assessment process.
- A series of workshops has been designed to explore how multistakeholder partnerships help build national resilience to catastrophic risks. The process is designed to bring together leaders from different sectors to encourage network building. The first event took place in March 2013 in Santiago, hosted by the Government of Chile, to look at the reconstruction process after the earthquake there.
- Having begun a process to develop a framework for the assessment of national resilience, the Council aims to provide questions and suggest data sources for the assessment of the exposure and resilience of countries to catastrophic risks.
- The Council also produced a call to action for world leaders at the Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters.
“However, the approaches to building resilience and coping with the impact of catastrophic risks have changed little in recent years.”
Looking ahead, the Council will produce an executive summary of the predominant themes and consolidate the lessons learned from across the different types of catastrophic risks. Additional network and partnership events will take place in New York or Washington, London, New Delhi and Tokyo. The next phase of national resilience assessment activities will be to test and define the questions and data sources. The work will also produce timely opinions on catastrophic risks as they occur.
To get involved please contact
Research Analyst: Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Global Agenda Councils, Daniel.Emejulu@weforum.org
Council Manager: Andrew Andrea, Associate Director, Head of Public and Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Lead: Elaine Dezenski, Senior Director, Head of PACI, email@example.com
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