GIZ partnership offers opportunity to promote a systemic understanding of COVID-19

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
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A new agreement between UNDRR and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will focus on understanding systemic and cascading risks in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic through drawing learnings for future crisis prevention and preparedness.

Under the project, UNDRR, with the support of GIZ, will investigate systemic and cascading risk in the outcomes of the COVID 19-crisis and will develop policy options for risk prevention and preparedness.

Both partners are working closely to document, unpack, and understand the interconnectedness of underlying risk factors and geographies, and how the COVID-19 pandemic is causing differential and increasing impacts on vulnerable populations.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of UNDRR, Mami Mizutori, said: “Now is the time for multi-stakeholder dialogue and action to refine, extend and enhance the ability to understand and manage systemic risks. The need has never been clearer, or more urgent.”

COVID-19 has led to a global crisis threatening the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable by increasing poverty and fragility, exacerbating inequalities, and damaging long-term economic growth prospects. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for new approaches to improve understanding and management of risk drivers at all scales.

To understand the dynamic nature of zoonotic pandemics and other systemic risks requires attention on the interactions and interdependencies between physical, technological, social and environmental systems, known as the One Health approach.

Significant underlying drivers that were either unknown, underestimated or whose connections were not considered, are shaping current and future impacts. It has taken visible global failures to come to terms with the limitations of a hazard-by-hazard, siloed, fragmented view of risk management.

Under the cooperation UNDRR will: develop a conceptual model to support the analysis of systemic and cascading risks by understanding systems, decision-making processes and other factors that contributed to making vulnerable communities more at-risk; document and understand how existing social protection systems contributed to the prevention and preparedness reducing risks of vulnerable communities; develop case studies to more concretely situate the conceptual models based on specific country-level experiences and realities; and develop national policy recommendations strengthen analysis, identify signals for the prevention of future outbreaks; and help national governments to better plan and strengthen resilience.

UNDRR, and GIZ have enjoyed a strong cooperation to date, covering areas of common concern such as comprehensive risk management, risk-informed development, risk governance disaster risk finance and resilient infrastructure.

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