Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue

Societies face a wide array of significant hazards –- ranging from the possibility of natural disasters to industrial accidents to large-scale terrorist incidents. These hazards vary in scale and in frequency, and by their nature we are generally uncertain not only about exactly when and where they might occur, but also about how likely they are to arise. The resilience of societies to natural and human catastrophes is the outcome generated by developing an effective overall strategy for social risk management. This will include both efforts at prevention and mitigation (which increases resilience by reducing the damage from which society has to recover), preparation of response capability (which increases resilience by improving the response when disaster strikes, thus reducing the bad effects of the emergency), and recovery (which embodies resilience by helping society to come back to a functioning equilibrium state from which it can continue its development and social progress). In the discussion that follows, we outline a framework within which we can develop and view a societal strategy to increase resilience and we point out an important component of such strategies -– which we call “advance recovery.” Because advance recovery has generally received little attention, we believe there are significant unexplored, undeveloped, and unexploited opportunities in that domain for building more effective and complete strategies for social resilience.

Article in Integrative Risk Management: Advanced Disaster Recovery.

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