Covid-19 Resources: ensuring the resilience of critical infrastructure

It has never been more important to have infrastructure networks that are resilient. Infrastructure is vital for supporting functions on which society relies (e.g. healthcare and food production). To assist all those in the infrastructure value chain currently affected by the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have created this resource page to identify learning from our work that can contribute to three key areas.

Learning from crisis

Recognising that we have a unique opportunity to learn from current events to improve infrastructure resilience going forward.

Strengthening supply chain resilience

Which is especially important to deliver the food and supplies that we need to keep society and our critical infrastructure running.

Building long-term resilience

Where following the crisis, measures can be implemented that will help to ensure our resilience to future shocks and stresses.

Learning from crisis

Learning from Cape Town's water crisis

"Communication builds trust ... more information and knowledge is helpful, rather than trying to keep quiet about it"

Learning resources

The Cape Town experience showed how severely trust is eroded by the absence of data and information from authorities, and also how this can be fixed by giving citizens clear, regularly updated data and information.

Modules of particular interest:

  • Module 2 – Data, information, communication, trust: importance of information and data sharing to instil trust between organisations and the community. Disparity between truth and not truth. Severity not communicated effectively.
  • Module 8 – inequality and social cohesion in a crisis: challenges with sharing of water points and toilets with the community – impact of isolation currently.

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Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative: Spotlight series

The Drought Response Learning Library provides a number of interviews with key people involved in the Cape Town Day Zero crisis, which will have similarities in dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis.

Specifically, the following videos may currently be of interest:

Leadership, data and calling a crisis: data and information availability is important to help focus decision-making on crises. Day zero forecasting undertook simulation modelling to say when it was thought that Cape Town would potentially run out of water.

Behavioural nudges: identifies experience of mechanisms to change societal behaviours to reduce water demand in this case.

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EARTH EX global resilience exercise

“Excellent exercise! It helps us to prepare for potential disasters and to know what we’re not yet prepared for”

Consideration of implications for electric and water sectors. Consideration of knock-on impacts. E.g. loss of water and power could lead to hospitals being uninhabitable. Ensuring that there is facility backup power available.

Improved cross-sector coordinated planning and all sector emergency communication is key for significant events.

Lessons for infrastructure resilience from the reconstruction of Christchurch

“What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”

Provides learnings from Christchurch's response to the 2011 earthquake. For example, findings showed that the community should be regarded as a system in its own right. The importance of data availability for allowing the area to build back better after crisis was a particular limitation. It is important to obtain the perspectives of those that have lived with and gone through this crisis. Some lessons learned are similar to those of Cape Town after its water crisis.

Useful posts from our blog archive

TEDxCountdown to set the scene for ‘Resilient Leadership’. Register for launch event

During a crisis, what does it mean to be resilient? What should leaders focus on to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future? The Resilience Shift is launching its new report: ‘Resilient Leadership: Learning from Crisis’ Register for TEDxResilienceShift: 14 October, 15.45-17.00 BST (GMT +1) and sign up for a preview copy of the full report.

Strengthening supply chain resilience

Resilience and Complex Interdependencies within and between Global Food Supply Networks and Transportation Infrastructure

We contributed to this paper in the journal Cereal Foods World that discusses the importance of considering the resilience of the food supply network from a whole systems approach. Provides some essential principles for enhancing food transportation system resilience.

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At a time when the resilience of ports for food and commodities supply is most important, this primer identifies opportunities for building resilience in this sector.

Having a clear understanding of the governance of the food supply chain and having transparent decision making is important during crisis.
Use of public-private collaboration for supply chain resilience.

Intermodal (e.g. rail, air, road) integration of transport infrastructure and understanding the resilience of this during a time of crisis.

Useful posts from our blog archive

A pivotal moment for the transport sector – and lessons for resilience

Roads and transport are critical for maintaining the movement of essential goods, supplies, services and workers, and ensuring integrity of the supply chain. We share emerging issues from the World Road Association (PIARC)’s series of COVID-19 webinars that have enabled their global community to share real-time pandemic impacts and responses.

“Resilience, diversification, and innovation are needed to safely feed the world”

“There is a very tense situation currently with a huge number of people dying every day from starvation, and 70% of our planet not yet exploited for food. Food safety is all about resilience”. Vincent Doumeizel from Lloyd’s Register Foundation, talks about education, innovation and the potential of seaweed.

From field to fork – global food supply and its dependence on resilient infrastructure

The global supply of food is an incredibly complex system, involving multiple actors and a diverse value chain from production through to consumption.  Every part of the chain is dependent on infrastructure systems. We share six principles for enhancing the resilience of food transportation systems from our contribution to Cereal Foods World.

Building long term resilience

Provides information on common operational measures from around the world to support the resilience of the potable water system.

 

The City Water Resilience Approach can help to develop a detailed plan and an ability to prioritise key actions in cities. Tools are provided to help this process (e.g. City Water Resilience Framework and OurWater).

 

 

Identification and consideration of additional threats to the electricity system that, during a time of crisis, could lead to further systemic issues. Adaptation examples are provided, and highlights importance of having emergency agreements in place.

Importance of the value chain in the energy sector that is vital to ensure electricity is provided to the end user. Sharing lessons learnt for increasing resilience of the system.

 

Support on preparedness – having incident response and contingency plans in pace. Availability of diversionary routes.

Lessons learned – e.g. use of technology for monitoring use of alternative routes. Existing and new relationships and communication channels with single point of contact within each organisation.

Undertaking vulnerability and risks analyses of networks, with examples provided in primer.

Importance of systems thinking – linking to food supply chain resilience, role in intermodal transport, and the operation of other infrastructure sectors.

OurWater

OurWater can help map processes, governance, stakeholders and infrastructure networks that make up a city’s water system. This will help enable a more coordinated response to crisis.

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Resilience Toolbox

The Resilience Shift has assessed a wide range of tools and approaches to help implement resilience across all stages of an infrastructure lifecycle. The Resilience Toolbox provides a list of available tools and approaches and links to the tool developers.

Open Toolbox

Useful posts from our blog archive

TEDxCountdown to set the scene for ‘Resilient Leadership’. Register for launch event

During a crisis, what does it mean to be resilient? What should leaders focus on to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future? The Resilience Shift is launching its new report: ‘Resilient Leadership: Learning from Crisis’ Register for TEDxResilienceShift: 14 October, 15.45-17.00 BST (GMT +1) and sign up for a preview copy of the full report.


 

External resources

The resources below are taken from the Things We Like section of our site, a wide-ranging and regularly updated database of links to useful resilience information.

Future Earth Survey

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Future Earth has published a rapid foresight survey on Covid-19 exploring global risks and opportunities for recovery and transformation. With this survey, Future Earth, the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment, and other partners seek to spark critical reflection on the challenges, but also the opportunities, that this global crisis presents, and to contribute to what will soon emerge as a global conversation on where we go from here. 

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Oxford Covid-19 Impact Monitor

15 Apr 20

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The Oxford Covid-19 Impact Monitor is a new online tool from Oxford researchers. Data from mobile phones is being used to understand and predict the impact of the UK’s Covid-19 social distancing measures on population movements nationwide

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Water system preparedness and best practices for pandemic influenza

01 Jan 09

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Journal of the AWWA: Water system preparedness and best practices for pandemic influenza (01 Jan 2009) According to public health experts and the medical community, an influenza pandemic could occur at any time. The authors conducted a literature review, interviews, and a survey of Ohio water systems to assess how prepared U.S. water systems were for a pandemic flu outbreak and found varying preparedness levels. 

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