Resilience in 2019 will be much broader than preparedness

Today, the word “resilience” is used frequently in many contexts, from community readiness to health to business continuity. Frankly, I am enjoying the resilience buzzword because I believe it says something about our time and place. Strong resilience is sought because today’s adversity is real. The literal meaning of resilience is broad: to have the capacity to recover quickly from stress, challenges or misfortune.

I am enjoying the resilience buzzword because I believe it says something about our time and placeToday, people, communities and organizations must have the capacity to handle adversity in its many forms, to have capacity to carry on in a “normal” state. At Calian we have a unique perspective on resilience because of our diverse business lines. We urge people and organizations to invest in resilience because we have seen the ROI first-hand: failure to rebound from challenges or misfortune bears very real costs – and not only financial.

For resilience in 2019 I would like to make a few predictions and observations. Resilience goes beyond your traditional emergency management and preparedness. In my view, it extends to community capacity building, health, cyber security, business continuity and critical infrastructure.

Regardless of size or geographic location, communities must have the capacity to be aware of threats, be prepared to handle them, and respond and recover quickly from disasters or other challenges.

Community resilience

While community resilience was big in 2018 — I predict it will be even bigger in 2019. We witnessed worst-case scenarios this year in California as wildfires wiped out entire communities. British Columbia’s devastating wildfires set a record-high annual burn area in the province of more than 1.35 million hectares. In the Ottawa region, a tornado ripped through surrounding communities, damaging or destroying approximately 200 buildings and leading more than 2,000 people to register for assistance with the Quebec branch of the Canadian Red Cross.

When it comes to resilience, the goal is to return the community to as-close-to “normal” as quickly as possible – and to establish a “new normal” that is more resilient than what the community had previously.These are just a few examples of many events that damaged or devastated communities around the globe this year. Achieving community resilience depends on needs, resources and community involvement. Regardless of size or geographic location, communities must have the capacity to be aware of threats, be prepared to handle them, and respond and recover quickly from disasters or other challenges. When it comes to resilience, the goal is to return the community to as-close-to “normal” as quickly as possible – and to establish a “new normal” that is more resilient than what the community had previously.

The wildfires in Western Canada were concerning for northern, remote and many Indigenous communities. These communities can be disproportionally affected by disasters such as floods and wildfires. First, they are not as accessible for the provision of emergency services. Second, they may lack local administrative and technical capacity, affecting response and coordination capabilities. Third, First Nations may rely more on the local ecosystem for food, resources and cultural well-being – which may become diminished or inaccessible following a disaster.

> See also: It's time to fix our broken public warning system by Kelly McKinney

When the risks are higher, the need for preparedness, response and mitigation planning is elevated. Communities need professional advisory and training services, adapted to their culture or unique circumstances, to help build capacity and enable resilience. In 2019 I expect demand for these services to better reflect community needs.

One in five Canadians experience a mental illness or addiction problem annually, according to the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Health

Health will be central to the resilience story in 2019, as it was in 2018 – particularly mental health. One in five Canadians experience a mental illness or addiction problem annually, according to the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). I anticipate two big health stories in 2019: mental health and military veterans’ health.

In mental health generally, so much work has been done to reduce the mental health stigma and share important research about the complex links between childhood development, trauma, addiction and mental health. I anticipate these discussions to expand as mental health resilience becomes a key resilience topic in 2019. Access is paramount. Canadians need access to professionals to help them deal with trauma-related disorders and addiction issues, among other top challenges.

First responders must have access to training and health services that help them cope with stressful incidents and events that they deal with on a daily basis.Veterans and military family health will again be prominent in 2019. I was very happy to see the Government of Canada single out resilience in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy, where it emphasizes “well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families.” It was heartening to see Canada’s Defence Policy expand beyond capabilities, recognizing people as a key national resource. What better way to support the resilience of the nation than to support the health of our serving members, veterans and their loved ones. I expect we’ll hear more about this theme in 2019.

The very people who practice resilience on the front lines during emergencies must also demonstrate resilience. Based on our extensive work with the military, veterans and the RCMP, Calian’s health professionals understand the unique demands and stresses of such vocations. First responders must have access to training and health services that help them cope with stressful incidents and events that they deal with on a daily basis. In parallel, they need training to deal with situations involving people with serious mental health issues. On a personal note, I also feel a need to help society’s most vulnerable. The people most at risk should get the help they deserve – be they first responders, police officers, military veterans or people in Canada’s First Nations communities who may be risk of suicide or self-harm.

While there are many aspects to the cyber security story, in 2019 I believe the “human firewall” will become better recognized for its effectiveness.

Cyber security

The world of cyber security continues to evolve quickly – in terms of both threats and security solutions. The growing threat landscape is leading more organizations, large and small, to recognize that they must be prepared for the next cyber attack or breach. The Government of Canada has clearly identified this priority with its investment in cyber operations and the hiring and training of cyber operators.

Ottawa’s new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security will provide a single window for expert advice and services for governments, critical infrastructure operators, and the public and private sectors, to strengthen their cyber security.

While there are many aspects to the cyber security story, in 2019 I believe the “human firewall” will become better recognized for its effectiveness. Calian’s cyber security practitioners observe that an organization’s people – its security awareness — continues to be the weakest link. Today, to go without proper cyber security and awareness training for staff is to take on much higher risk. All levels of the organization must be educated and trained on the risks and threats related to data and network security. This “human firewall” provides the best ROI when it comes to cyber security – which is why I predict we will see an increasing number of groups conduct security awareness training in 2019. It is critical to cyber security resilience.

The toolkit to respond to an emergency also now includes the usual planning and training for anticipated emergencies as well as a more flexible approach to tackle unanticipated, extreme events.

Nuclear power

The accident at Fukushima Daichi in 2011 was a harsh lesson for nuclear power plants across the world – and the industry has responded. Over the last few years, nuclear plants have improved their ability to adapt, survive extreme conditions and recover from events. Nuclear plants now own flexible standby equipment that can be deployed to restore the powering or cooling of essential equipment. The toolkit to respond to an emergency also now includes the usual planning and training for anticipated emergencies as well as a more flexible approach to tackle unanticipated, extreme events.

In 2019 and beyond, resilience will be a world-wide concern for the nuclear industry. Nuclear capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with about 50 reactors currently being constructed in 15 countries, including China, India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Given this growth, our nuclear experts at Calian predict resilience in 2019 will involve additional focus on severe accident management guidelines, emergency mitigation equipment, and innovative training solutions involving simulations. Look for these themes to be important aspects of resilience in 2019.

The Earth’s population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates that food production must grow by 70% to meet this demand

Food security

As a final topic for resilience in 2019 I would like to highlight food security – an issue Calian is familiar with through our AgTech products. Population growth is putting upward pressure on world agriculture resources. The Earth’s population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimates that food production must grow by 70% to meet this demand.

Around the world agricultural producers will need farmland resilience to ensure their yields remain high. The issue is more acute in developing countries where food security may be an issue. Globally, ag producers have an opportunity to take advantage of technology to improve both yield and revenues –and thereby resilience. We believe there is significant value in using technology to solve issues like the tracking and monitoring of food and agriculture products. These technologies can prevent spoilage, increase traceability and support overall food security. I expect the AgTech story get some attention in 2019.

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The Next Great Smart City Challenge: Public Health

These days, smart city stories are ubiquitous. But few are talking about the way smart city technology can affect public health.

As current transportation and infrastructure-focused smart city initiatives find success, many researchers now are studying how those same technologies can help address systemic challenges in health and the environment in major cities around the world. In fact, organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation are providing grants to cities to specifically focus on the issues of resiliency, sustainability and public health using technology.

A key to the recent focus on public health initiatives is the increase in affordability of sensors. High-quality sensors were once too expensive for most cities, but rising demand and improving technology have resulted in the availability of more affordable sensors that are able to collect the detailed data needed to make a public health or sustainability-focused project successful. In fact, according to a recent report from IDTechEx Research, the market for environment sensors is expected to be worth more than $3 billion by 2027.

Read entire article The Next Great Smart City Challenge: Public Health | Dominie Garcia | Government Technology

Plague 101 | National Geographic

What is plague? How many people died from the Black Death and the other plague pandemics? Learn about the bacterium behind the plague disease, how factors like trade and urbanization caused it to spread to every continent except Antarctica, and how three devastating pandemics helped shape modern medicine.

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water

Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.

Posted on BBC

A 10-month long drought dried up this lake near Istanbul

The plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about – water scarcity. Despite covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress”.

According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.

Read entire article The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town | BBC

Growing old gracefully with a new ISO technical committee for ageing societies

The world’s population is ageing, just like us. As we enter the era of “super-aged societies”, governments, communities and businesses need to adapt. A new ISO technical committee has just been formed to help.

Posted on ISO.org | By Clare Naden

In 2017, the number of people aged 60 years or over worldwide was more than twice as big as in 1980, and it is expected to double again by 2050 to reach nearly 2.1 billion). The changing demographics of our society brings with it pressures and challenges ranging from everything to healthcare to the local bus. But opportunities, too, are rife.

The recently formed ISO technical committee ISO/TC 314, Ageing societies aims to develop standards and solutions across a wide range of areas, to tackle the challenges posed as well as harness the opportunities that ageing populations bring.

ISO/TC 314 comes as a result of extensive work in this area by ISO, including the development of International Workshop Agreement IWA 18, Framework for integrated community-based life-long health and care services in aged societies, which led to the creation of the ISO Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) on Ageing Societies.

Growing old gracefully with a new ISO technical committee for ageing societies

Read entire article Growing old gracefully with a new ISO technical committee for ageing societies | ISO.org

Listeria contamination of ready-to-eat foods and the risk for human health

Listeria cases have increased among two groups of the population: people over 75 and women aged 25-44 (believed to be mainly pregnancy-related).

Posted on European Food Safety Authority

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria cases have increased among two groups of the population: people over 75 and women aged 25-44 (believed to be mainly pregnancy-related). This is one of the main conclusions of an EFSA scientific opinion on Listeria monocytogenes and risks to public health from consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat food. The opinion covers the period 2008-2015.

Experts began work on the scientific opinion after the 2015 EU summary report on foodborne zoonotic diseases identified an increasing trend of listeriosis over the period 2009-2013.

EFSA experts concluded that the higher incidence of listeriosis among the elderly was likely linked to the increased proportion of people aged over 45 with underlying health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.

Most people get infected through the consumption of ready-to-eat foods.

Read entire article European Food Safety Authority | Listeria infections increase in vulnerable groups

Putting the logic into hydrological

Global mobility, intensive farming and urban developments that have spread into once uninhabitable areas have made water access, use, and reuse, critical areas for International Standards.

Posted on ISO.org | By Barnaby Lewis

It may be hard to imagine, but a vast number of people simply don’t have any drop to drink, let alone sufficient water for cooking, washing or growing food. It’s an injustice that led to a dedicated United Nations sustainable development goal (SDG 6) on clean water and sanitation.

Prominent inclusion in the SDGs underlines the importance of water to the future of our development, as do the three ISO technical committees that deal with different aspects of water. These are: ISO/TC 147, Water quality; ISO/TC 224, Service activities relating to drinking water supply systems and wastewater systems – Quality criteria of the service and performance indicators; and ISO/TC 282, Water reuse.

In common with the SDGs, the work done in these ISO technical committees, and the standards that they are developing (currently, there are more than 80 in the pipeline), go a lot wider than just water, touching on areas from farming and food production to smart cities. Here, we focus on the issue of water reuse: How can International Standards provide guidance that means that water is fit for purpose and used in the right way?

How can International Standards provide guidance that means that water is fit for purpose and used in the right way?

Read entire article Putting the logic into hydrological | ISO.org

The troubling talk of toilets

When we think about the most dire threats to our planet, poor sanitation rarely tops the list. Yet it’s a significant (and in some cases immediate) contributor to sickness and pollution in both rural and urban areas. So how can ISO help deliver sustainable sanitation to the 2.3 billion people who lack access to basic services?

Published on ISO.org | By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

Going to the toilet is something we tend to take for granted. And yet for approximately 2.3 billion people around the world who lack any sanitation whatsoever, the only option is “open defecation”. More than two hundred million tonnes of human waste go untreated every year. In the developing world, 90 % of sewage is discharged directly into lakes, rivers and oceans. All this untreated sewage is estimated to cause more than 500 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

The United Nations (UN) has called on countries to “radically” increase investments in water and sanitation infrastructure, not only to protect their populations from deadly diseases but also to ensure that they are able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 6 of the SDGs aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. It is a comprehensive goal that addresses the entire water cycle, from access to use and efficiency, to the integrated management of water resources and water-related ecosystems.

ISOfocus asked industry experts for their perspective on these issues and what needs to be done to tackle the toilet problem and ensure that going to the toilet is safe and sanitary – with help from the future ISO 30500.

Can ISO help deliver sustainable sanitation to the 2.3 billion people who lack access to basic services?

Read entire article The troubling talk of toilets | ISO.org

Managing a precious resource

Why do we need to manage global water resources? According to environmental scientist Dr Debbie Chapman, our health and well-being depend on it – and the payback is tremendous.

Posted on ISO.org | By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

Dr Debbie Chapman, Director of the UN Environment GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre
University College Cork, Ireland.

Water is one of the basic necessities of our life. We always hear about how much water we should drink daily, but we don’t hear much about the amount of water we are wasting, water scarcity, or how we can reduce usage.

Here’s a startling figure. Only 1 % of the world’s freshwater is easily accessible. To make matters worse, it is not evenly distributed around the globe and is vulnerable to contamination from human activities. Even more disturbing, the long-standing concept that freshwater is a renewable resource is now compromised by the ongoing deterioration in water quality, leading to the degradation of aquatic ecosystems on which human health, livelihoods and development depend.

Freshwater scarcity and quality deterioration rank among the most urgent environmental challenges of this century. According to UN Water, a United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater and sanitation issues, Earth is facing a 40 % shortfall in water supply by 2030, unless we dramatically improve its management.

ISOfocus recently had the opportunity to talk to environmental scientist Dr Debbie Chapman, who has been associated with GEMS/Water for over 30 years and is well known the world over for her role in promoting water quality monitoring and assessment.

Read entire interview Managing a precious resource | ISO.org

New edition of ISO/IEC 17025 published

The most popular standard for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories has just been updated, taking into account the latest changes in laboratory environment and work practices.

ISO/IEC 17025:2017, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, is the international reference for laboratories carrying out calibration and testing activities around the world.

Producing valid results that are widely trusted is at the heart of laboratory activities. ISO/IEC 17025:2017 allows laboratories to implement a sound quality system and demonstrate that they are technically competent and able to produce valid and reliable results.

Producing valid results that are widely trusted is at the heart of laboratory activities.

Read entire article
New edition of ISO/IEC 17025 just published | ISO.org

New International Standard to reduce mining accidents

There’s no question that mining has been made safer over the years, but mines are still one of the most hazardous places to work.

The causes can be numerous, from explosive dust and toxic gases to collapse of mine shafts, and the consequences severe, with thousands of fatalities each year.
ISO 19434 Mining – Classification of mine accidents

ISO 19434:2017 establishes a classification of mine accidents by their origin or causes, by the type of accident, and by their results or consequences. The latter includes only the accidents resulting into consequences on people, not equipment or machinery.

When an incident does occur in a mine, it can be hard to understand precisely what’s happened. Because many factors are at play, a wide range of accidents can occur. A key step in preventing these accidents is to classify them by type and by cause, and that’s where ISO 19434 comes in.

With the entire industry working to further improve the safety of their operations, there are clear advantages of a unified system to understand the main types of accidents.

Pollution kills nine million people a year

Pollution has been linked to nine million deaths worldwide in 2015, a report in The Lancet has found.

Almost all of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, where pollution could account for up to a quarter of deaths. Bangladesh and Somalia were the worst affected.

Air pollution had the biggest impact, accounting for two-thirds of deaths from pollution

Brunei and Sweden had the lowest numbers of pollution-related deaths.

Most of these deaths were caused by non-infectious diseases linked to pollution, such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge – it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing,” said the study’s author, Prof Philip Landrigan, of the Icahn School of Medicine, at Mount Sinai in New York.

The biggest risk factor, air pollution, contributed to 6.5 million premature deaths. This included pollution from outdoor sources, such as gases and particulate matter in the air, and in households, from burning wood or charcoal indoors.

The next largest risk factor, water pollution, accounted for 1.8 million deaths, while pollution in the workplace was linked to 800,000 deaths globally.