Understanding and managing cascading and systemic risks: lessons from COVID-19

Hagenlocher, Michael, Banerjee, Sumana, Bermudez-Zambrano, Antonella D., Cotti, Davide, Hassel, Jonathan, Masys, Anthony J., Prasetyo, Yanu E., Rana, Sohel, Rimmert, Marlene, Roy, Prottoy, Schütze, Simon, Shekhar, Himanshu, Sodogas, Victor A., Sparkes, Edward, Surtiari, Ayu G.K., Valdiviezo-Ajila, Angel and Werners, Saskia E. (2022). Understanding and managing cascading and systemic risks: lessons from COVID-19. United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)/United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

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    Author Hagenlocher, Michael
    Banerjee, Sumana
    Bermudez-Zambrano, Antonella D.
    Cotti, Davide
    Hassel, Jonathan
    Masys, Anthony J.
    Prasetyo, Yanu E.
    Rana, Sohel
    Rimmert, Marlene
    Roy, Prottoy
    Schütze, Simon
    Shekhar, Himanshu
    Sodogas, Victor A.
    Sparkes, Edward
    Surtiari, Ayu G.K.
    Valdiviezo-Ajila, Angel
    Werners, Saskia E.
    Title Understanding and managing cascading and systemic risks: lessons from COVID-19
    Publication Date 2022-04-11
    Place of Publication Bonn
    Publisher United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)/United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
    Pages n/a
    Language eng
    Abstract As we continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19), it is critical that we learn lessons related to risk management to be better able to prevent, prepare for and respond to future events. The COVID crisis holds the potential to transform how disaster risk reduction is governed and practiced across different scales and systems. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) needs to shift from a narrow focus on a set of hazards and single risks for specific assets, sectors or systems to a multi-hazard, multi-sector approach. The rolling out of multi-agency and cross-sectoral responses in many countries to manage the pandemic presents a much need paradigm shift to address the systemic nature of risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted global health, and human security and the global economy. Existing policies and systems (including health, financing, education) and decisions and priorities all contribute to either making communities more vulnerable or more resilient. With more surprises inevitable, understanding the interrelationship of these factors will enable us to provide guidance on how to better recover and better plan to mitigate risks in the future. Based on expert consultations, desk review and research in five countries, this report presents a conceptual model that identifies systemic risks observable in the COVID-19 crisis. It assesses the possible cascading interactions between a select number of risks relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and evaluates the extent of compounding impacts on the most vulnerable segments of society. A set of key recommendations have emerged from this study. They include the need to understand the complex nature of crises in an interconnected world and to design responsive yet timely risk reduction strategies; the need to co-create risk management pathways that enable the reduction of future risks backed with iterative learning and adaptation; the importance of gendered risks in unearthing the existing disparities across systems; the need to better understand the co-benefits that emerge from the SDGs interactions as an impetus for renewed commitment towards achieving the SDGs; and emphasis on issues of human security, adaptive social protection and enhanced systems thinking are critical in addressing systemic risks associated with COVID-19. Implementing the key recommendations from this study would help countries better understand and manage the systemic nature of risks – not only in relation to future pandemics, but also the interconnected risks associated with climate change. COVID-19 has demonstrated that the responsibility for disaster risk management must be shared across systems and sectors. To that end, we hope this publication will contribute towards promoting an enhanced understanding and mitigation of the risks that threaten our lives and livelihoods.
    Keyword Systemic risk
    Cascading risk
    Conceptual model
    Copyright Holder UNU-EHS/UNDRR
    Copyright Year 2022
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Fri, 08 Apr 2022, 18:34:13 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS