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Medics and military personnel in Bern

Lessons for future crises

COVID-19 and Preparedness

April 2021, Number 11.02

“Despite warnings of the devastating effects on societies and globalized economies, a pandemic was not at the top of the list of risks in January 2020 when the World Economic Forum presented the 15th “Global Risks Report.” The survey focused predominantly on environmental risks. An infectious disease outbreak was considered unlikely, and the impact of epidemics/pandemics ranked last on a risk chart. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic took national and international crisis management agencies by surprise, shattered the self-confidence of societies, and challenged international cooperation and multilateral organizations. The world was taken completely unaware and the results were devastating. How could this have happened? And what can we learn to prepare for similar events? The coronavirus pandemic was still raging as this was written and a comprehensive evaluation of the handling of the crisis can be made after the world emerges on the other side, with the necessary objective distance. However, experiences to date and lessons already identified allow us to begin to consider how states and their governments could improve crisis management systems…”

Excerpt from Bernhard Wigger,“COVID-19 and Preparedness,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 11, No. 2, 2021: 16-21.

Dr. Bernhard Wigger is the head of the core planning team for Swiss Security Network Exercises at the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. He earned a Ph.D. in current history from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and holds a certificate from the International Training Course at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy as well as the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the Marshall Center. His areas of expertise include strategic crisis management and exercises, terrorism, partnership for peace, civil-military relations, national security network, and political counseling.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.