The COVID-19 pandemic has activated hundreds of interdependent long-lasting risks across all sectors of society. Zoonotic diseases are on the rise, fuelled by climatic change, by encroachment and destruction of habitats, and by unsustainable practices. Risk assessment and management must be greatly improved to prevent even worse consequences than COVID-19 if the next pandemic is caused by an agent with higher infectiousness and lethality. Insights from a project on systemic pandemic risk management reveal that the interdependency of risks creates cascading effects mediated by millions of vicious cycles which must be addressed to gain control over a pandemic. We propose a method for systemic, cross-sectoral risk assessment that detects the myriad of causal influences resulting from the risks, allowing to identify and mitigate the most potent risks, i.e., those participating in the highest numbers of vicious loops.


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Cite as

Gonzalez, J. & Eden, C. 2022, 'Insights from the Covid-19 pandemic for systemic risk assessment and management', Information Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction: 6th IFIP WG 5.15 International Conference, ITDRR 2021 Morioka, Japan, October 25–27, 2021 Revised Selected Papers, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 121-138. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-04170-9_9

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Last updated: 30 May 2023
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