The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the consequences of systematically underinvesting in resilience. Even before the world brings the COVID-19 disaster under control, we will all be demanding: “Never again.” We can never go back to business as usual. At the same time, we know that there is another crisis unfolding – the climate emergency. Climate extremes and slow onset events due to climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity than expected. The human race has never before faced such large and complex threats. Today, 90% of disasters are linked to hydrometeorological hazards. Disasters caused by natural hazards displace more people globally than war. Strengthening resilience of and integrating risk-centred approaches into all sectors and societies is critical. We must recover and build back better so that we are prepared for the future.
The impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 crisis underline the systemic, cascading and compound nature of risks and the need to strengthen the resilience of our societal systems in the face of the evolving and complex nature of risks. The socio-economic impacts of the pandemic crisis have added to existing stresses and shocks, including those linked to climate change. More than ever before, it is now vital to address this systemic nature of risk, strengthen resilience and adapt our societies to these new realities.
The European Green Deal, at the heart of the EU’s recovery plan, is an opportunity for the EU to lead and put risk reduction approaches for climate action at the centre of its governance framework. As such, the revised EU Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation, setting out an ambitious and tangible roadmap of transformative actions, can strengthen resilience today for the risks of tomorrow.