New tool helps withstand hybrid and cascading risk scenarios

Visual representation of cascading risk (c)UNDRR/James Brown, GAR2019
 
By Andrew Bower and Nicholas Ramos

BRUSSELS, 4 July 2019 - The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) and the Ministry of the Interior for Finland have joined together to develop a new stress test tool that will help countries understand and improve their ability to reduce risk of hybrid threats and cascading disaster scenarios. 

Recent events – such as cyberattacks cascading into health systems and compromising patient lives through attacks on healthcare monitoring devices have made it clear just how important it is to confront this new reality of hybrid risks, and the need for new tools and approaches to reduce disaster loss.

This was highlighted in the recently released Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, GAR2019.

Hybrid risks can occur in combination with many man-made threats, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, interacting in an environment of extreme weather and climate events.    

The stress test tool being developed by UNDRR in collaboration with Finland and Hybrid CoE would aim to measure the current capability of disaster risk reduction systems to reduce complex risk scenarios and recommend improvements and risk reduction approaches that could counteract these interacting threats.

The 2019 United Nations Global Assessment Report, released at the 6th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, recognizes this emerging hybrid risk landscape and highlights the “need to understand how to deal with it without resorting to reductive measures that isolate and ignore the systemic nature of risk”.

According to the European Council conclusions of 20 June, increasing focus on hybrid threats need to “ensure a coordinated response to hybrid and cyber threats and strengthen its cooperation with relevant international actors”.  EU Member States have reiterated support for “more cooperation, more coordination, more resources and more technological capacities” to counter hybrid threats.

These efforts coincide with Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will provide positive momentum in strengthening the DRR agenda across the European Union. 

VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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