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The Changing Face of Strategic Crisis Management

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Strategically managing crises is an essential responsibility of governments. Often critical  decisions need to be made swiftly under difficult and complex conditions, as crises’ impacts may spread beyond national borders and can trigger significant economic, social and environmental  knock-on effects.  Governments have a significant role to play in strengthening the resilience of their populations, communities and critical infrastructure networks. This report highlights the changing landscape of crises that governments are confronted with today. It discusses new approaches to deal with both traditional and new kinds of crises, and invites reflection on how best governments can adapt to change. Topics covered include capacity for early warning and “sense-making”, crisis communication and the role of social media, as well as strategic crisis management exercises. Finally, the review proposes practical policy guidance for strategic crisis management.

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Executive summary

Governments play a crucial role in strengthening the resilience of their populations, communities and critical infrastructure networks: managing crises is a key part of this. Recent crises, such as industrial accidents, large-scale flooding, terrorist attacks, cyber attacks, global pandemics, earthquakes and tsunamis, have challenged political leadership and risk managers in many countries. The icelandic volcanic ash cloud, the great east japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami and Fukushima crises, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the sinking of the ferry Sewol in Korea, the Tianjin industrial blast in China or the European refugee crisis are vivid examples of challenging crises.

English

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