22 October 2020

What should COVID-19 recovery look like?


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted societies across the world in many different ways and is still far from over. During this time, many countries are also being affected by a range of other disasters, such as floods, droughts and fires. The way societies prepare for and manage risks has a direct consequence on their recovery, and pandemic preparedness has been far from ideal. So what should COVID-19 recovery look like?

What should COVID-19 recovery look like?
Picture: Colourbox

On September 25th, the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE) and Disaster Prevention and Management Journal invited Jemilah Mahmood, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health and Ricardo Mena, Director of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) for an online talk on “What should COVID-19 recovery look like?”.

COVID-19 has brought us to a time of heightened global urgency. The need to better understand the systemic nature of risk has never been greater. This must be done with sustainable development in mind, says Ricardo Mena, the Director of UNDRR.

Moreover, since the beginning of the pandemic millions of people around the world have been affected by other disasters, such as droughts, floods, storms and wildfires. So, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, we also need to deal with some of these disaster risks and it is high time to start thinking of risk and vulnerability differently.

According to Jemilah Mahmood we should look at recovery with a multi-hazard approach. The pandemic can be an opportunity to move with systems thinking. Recovery must be based on building back better principles and building much more resilient and robust systems.

Hopefully this pandemic will be the tipping point for the world to move from disaster management to disaster risk management and an opportunity to look at a recovery where sustainability and resilience are taken into account.

Watch the entire webinar in the video below