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Crisis In Sight: Global Risk Analysis, March 2021

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ACAPS Global Risk Analysis outlines a number of key contexts where a notable deterioration may occur within the next six months, leading to a spike in humanitarian needs


Risk is a function of probability and impact. ACAPS defines a risk as the probability of a hazard or multiple hazards occurring, combined with the estimated impact of the hazard(s). The risk level (low, medium, or high) posed by a hazard rises as either the probability of it occurring or the severity of the expected impact increases, or both.

Overall, the occurrence of a risk prompts a change from the status quo, which leads to a notable deterioration in the humanitarian situation and a higher number of people in need, or a higher severity of need.

The ACAPS risk methodology combines probability with impact for each hazard or combination of hazards. This gives us the risk. Risks fall into one of three categories: low, medium, or high.

In this report, some risks are raised as ‘new trends’ and others as ‘rapid and marked deterioration’. A deteriorating humanitarian situation that continues at the same rate is considered a trend rather than a risk; these are not included in the report.


Risk analysis requires a solid understanding of the context and an investigation of how the variables that could cause or resist change interact.

Risk analysis is not an exact science. An event identified as a hazard might not evolve or materialise as expected, or not have the projected impact. Events or factors (triggers) that were expected to drive a shift or change in the current situation may not occur or new factors might arise, preventing the expected change or shift in the situation from happening.

The probability of a risk does not need to be high for it to be a concern. A hazardous event estimated to have a 50% probability of occurring should be a cause for concern for humanitarians. In some cases, a probability as low as 30% (a less than one-in-three chance of occurring) may be of concern.