Countries must share data to build disaster resilience

8 January 2013

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8 January 2012 | Adam Leach

Countries must work more closely on building resilience and assessing risks as environmental and financial disruption continues to increase.

Global Risks 2013, published today by the World Economic Forum, reported that while concern over supply chain disruption is rising to the top of political and corporate agendas, “there remains a reluctance to invest in resilience due to a lack of good data”.

The WEF repeated calls for each country to create a ‘country risk officer’, who would be charged with tracking and benchmarking their given country’s resilience against the risks identified and sharing this information with their counterparts in other countries.

In a section of the report, the WEF Supply Chain Risk Initiative (SCRI) explained: “Development of a risk assessment framework is critical to improve supply chains’ adaptability to build resilience. The core components are data and information sharing for improved visibility along the supply chain.”

The SCRI, which was formed in 2011, agreed last year on five recommendations to improve the resilience of the global supply chain.

It called for countries to:

Improve international and interagency compatibility of resilience standards and programmes

  Assess more explicitly supply chain and transport risks as part of procurement, management and governance processes

Develop trusted networks of suppliers, customers, competitors and government focused on risk management

Improve network risk visibility, through two-way information sharing

  And improve pre- and post-event communication on systemic disruptions.

The top risks identified by the 2013 edition of the report were wealth gaps. This was followed by unsustainable government debt and the next biggest was rising greenhouse gas emissions. The failure of climate change adaptation was identified as the environmental risk with the biggest knock-on effect for the next decade.

John Drzik, chief executive officer of Oliver Wyman, said: “Two storms, environmental and economic, are on a collision course. If we don't allocate the resources needed to mitigate the rising risk from severe weather events, global prosperity for future generations could be threatened. Political leaders, business leaders and scientists need to come together to manage these complex risks.”

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