The CRJ team has been busy! In the last few months, we have taken part in the Major Events International Conference, the Crisis Conference 2018, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) in Rome, the International Disaster Response Expo (IDR) and International Security Expo. And it was a genuine pleasure to meet so many readers and authors from our community.
The EFDRR was co-organised by the UNISDR and the Italian Civil Protection Directorate and I was honoured to moderate a panel on ‘Emerging and interwoven risks’, a natural progression from an earlier session on ‘Addressing the Grey Rhino and Black Swan’. The audience engaged enthusiastically with the panel on issues ranging from societal factors to the role of the banking and private sector in disaster risk reduction, food security and, most importantly, how climate is the overarching threat that will affect just about every sphere of our lives. We all could have talked for much, much longer.
At the IDR in London, my presentation took the theme of ‘Trends in Disasters’.This was a logical continuation of the themes raised at the EFDRR and which run through this edition, bringing in the added threads of security, geopolitics, societal division and polarisation, and how hybrid threats can exploit crises to influence thoughts and actions (p30, 44 and 50). I examined how ageing and young demographics will affect disaster preparedness and response planning, and how thwarted aspiration and poorly-served young populations link to migration, geopolitics and urbanisation. I touched upon fragile states in disasters (p44), how economies and geopolitics must be framed within environmental and climate factors, along with how today’s crises are challenging our existing funding mechanisms (p78) and how different response actors can work moreclosely with each other in disasters (p52).
Our social and political frameworks seem to be disintegrating at a time when they are needed the most, especially when we consider the gargantuan Grey Rhino of climate change and increasingly extreme weather events. All this leads to some sobering conclusions. We are not doing enough. We are still working in silos. Some sectors are still not engaging suffi ciently. We are still not standing back and seeing the big picture. These high impact risks are all highly likely – so why are we not confronting them in a unified way?