WEBINARS SERIES: Climate Change and Resilience in times of COVID-19. Multiple Hazards and Systemic Risk: Addressing Climate-Related Disasters in Times of COVID19

Panama City
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean
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WEBINARS SERIES: Climate Change and Resilience in times of COVID-19 First session: Multiple-hazards and systemic risk. Addressing climate-related disasters in times of COVD-19 

1. Multiple-hazards and systemic risk: Addressing climate-related disasters in times of COVD-19



As the Global Risk Assessment Report has highlighted, the Sendai Framework reflects the certainty that in an ever more populous, networked and globalizing society, the very nature and scale of risk has changed to such a degree that it surpasses established risk management institutions and approaches. The systemic nature of the COVID-19 crisis and its unprecedented cascading effects has impacted all sectors and levels and in all the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean region. COVID-19 has demonstrated the systemic nature of risk and highlighted the exposure of all sector to all hazards.

Countries in Latin-America and the Caribbean region are now responding to the effects of the COVID- 19 pandemic, but they also need to prepare and implement actions to mitigate the potential consequences of the upcoming hurricane season and its possible aggravation due to climate change as well as other latent hazards. As national strategies, plans and other instruments are being designed by national and regional entities, they present an opportunity to reiterate the need for multisectoral, multi-stakeholder and regional coordination. This notably in a context of increasing complexity, interdependence and systemic nature of risk.

As we start to think in going back to a new normal, it is important that national governments, and, international and regional political and financial institutions, consider the negative effects that the pandemic has on the vulnerability of populations and economic systems, and their exposure to other latent and recurrent hazards. Nowadays, for instance, many countries had to get into further debt in order to face the pandemic and alleviate the humanitarian and economic crisis triggered, in a cascade effect, by the COVID-19. Some countries are in the process to consider suspending all capital investments in prevention and mitigation measures, including infrastructure projects, with potentially devastating consequences. The current effort on fighting the pandemic cannot conceal the fact that climatic and geological hazards affect the Latin-America and the Caribbean every year. Many countries are bracing for a two-tier crisis as they grapple with complicated logistics, limited resources and scant supplies.

Systemic risk poses particular challenges for risk management as it cannot be treated with traditional approaches. It requires a more holistic approach to hazard identification, to risk assessment, and to risk management because systemic risks are complex, stochastic, and non-linear. This webinar will raise those concerns and seek to identify recommendations to address multiple-hazard scenarios, including around the best approaches to risk governance in the face of systemic risk, strengthened preparedness and multi-sectoral coordination. The webinar aims to discuss these issues while providing a platform for exchange and knowledge.

Session objectives:

Have a clear understanding of the systemic nature of risk, and the need to integrate a systemic approach to risk into strategies, policies, plans, etc.
Assess how existing strategies, plans (including new recovery ones) and tools, can be useful for the current crisis and to prepare to the upcoming hurricane season and other climate-related events in the region.
Frame the economic recovery post-COVID-19 in a context of systemic risk and upcoming hurricane season in the Caribbean.
Share experiences from the national level on how the Latin-America and the Caribbean countries are facing the pandemic and preparing to face other recurrent (hurricane season, floods, drought) and latent hazards (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc.).

Discuss the type of economic and social policies needed in this context, and about how to approach them from the public but also the private sector.


  • Allan Lavel (FLACSO, Costa Rica)
  • Enrique Guevara Ortiz (CENAPRED, Mexico)
  • Andria Grosvenor (CDEMA)
  • Keith Nurse (Sir Arthur Lewis College, St. Lucia)
  • Raul Salazar (UNDRR)
  • Patricia Ghany and Melissa Pierre (AMCHAM, Trinidad & Tobago)

This event is the first part of the webinar series "Climate Change and Resilience in times of COVID-19"  organized by the United Nations Inter-Agency Issue Based Coalition on Climate Change and Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean. 


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