Societal resilience is often described as the ability of a society to withstand and recover from shocks and stresses. It is a complex concept that encompasses a wide range of factors, including the strength of a society's infrastructure, the resilience of its systems, and the ability of its communities to come together before and during times of crisis. This panel discussion will explore the end-state of societal resilience from multiple perspectives.
The world is facing a growing number of complex and interconnected risks, from natural disasters to climate change to cyber threats. This panel explores the current progress of achieving all hazards resilience and identifies areas where current strategies, policies, operations, and cultures may be challenged. The panel will identify blind spots that need attention and action to go further together.
Communities need companies, and companies can advance the whole community. Threats, hazards, and risks challenge them both as the world becomes more complex. Organizing to identify shared risks, develop goals, and assess what adjustments are needed requires multi-sector commitment. This panel explores how to work together with a common vision, tenacity, and resources across sectors.
Historically marginalized and vulnerable communities face greater risks of harm and suffer disproportionately during and after disasters. In light of recent civil unrest and discourse, more and more organizations and individuals have stepped up to improve fairness in disaster response. As the frequency and severity of disasters keep increasing, how do we ensure that resilience is incorporated into the whole community? Have the actions that have been taken to improve disaster resilience been impactful to all communities?
Many organizations, including the Small Business Administration, are organizing to meet the growing need of small businesses to build resiliency with appropriate tools before, during, and after disasters. This session will explore how small businesses across the U.S. are coping with increased disasters, including those located in regions with a higher probability of disasters—notably hurricanes, extreme weather, and wildfires.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long made building smart, modern, resilient infrastructure among our top priorities. The benefits to costs for various pre-disaster mitigation approaches to harden infrastructure and prepare ahead of the next crises are as much as 6 to 1. More tools are needed to capture this value and make the business case for resilience and pre-disaster mitigation from the range of hazards, including drought, floods, heat, and wildfires – across public and private sectors.
Emerging technologies are transforming how we live and work, and they have the potential to play a critical role in building resilient communities. From AI-powered early warning systems to trusted supply chain management, technology is changing how we approach and respond to disasters and crises. But what are the opportunities and risks that come with these new technologies? And how can we ensure that they are accessible and applicable to make a positive impact in all communities?
The world is facing a number of complex challenges, such as climate change, infrastructure fragility, and eroding social cohesion. Adapting organizations, communities, lifeline systems, and other aspects of society to meet these smartly will require new and evolving public-private partnerships to shape effective adaptation strategies. Actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerabilities of shocks and stresses will require implementation by businesses, communities, and governments.
Traditional risks and geopolitical threats are converging in new and complex ways. Public, private, and non-profit sectors must build partnerships to mitigate risk while navigating this dynamic atmosphere. A solution to managing the tension between geopolitical risks and traditional hazards may be to cultivate foresight of what’s at stake economically, security options for consideration, and understand the resilience consequences of deliberate action or waiting for recognized impacts.
As disasters increase in frequency and severity, the costs are becoming more burdensome for individuals, communities, and the economy. This panel will explore innovative solutions to reduce risk and the costs of disasters while building community resilience, with all options on the table and stakeholders around it.
The exercise immerses participants in the deepening effects of a catastrophic drought scenario. As water scarcity intensifies, sectors and regions grapple with limited resources. Agricultural companies and farmers face declining crop yields and constrained irrigation options, while industries reliant on water struggle to secure supplies. Local governments implement rationing measures, while dust storms exacerbate the challenges, impacting energy generation and public health. Companies specializing in water management, precision farming, and renewable energy play pivotal roles in adaptation. Governments and community organizations focus on emergency response and support for vulnerable populations. The combined moves emphasize the urgency of coordinated actions across sectors to mitigate impacts and build resilience.
An After-Action Review (AAR) is a critical component of evaluating the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts after a crisis or disaster. In an era of permanent crisis and complexity, it is essential to identify lessons learned from each successive event of the last two years and apply them to the future when coordination across public, private, and non-profit sectors is essential. While the threats and hazards may be different, proactively identifying common themes across events can shape action plans for improving our collective preparedness.
There are more resilience-oriented programs available now than ever before. To assist communities of all sizes in making sense of this, an exploration of feedback from stakeholders on the effectiveness and gaps of technical assistance provided to communities is needed to successfully meet grant requirements. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and suggestions on how technical assistance can be improved and made more accessible to communities of all sizes.
The second half of the exercise explores escalating competition for water resources and transition towards recovering with resilience and developing solutions to exit the crisis. Geopolitical tensions rise as governments and international bodies engage in diplomacy and negotiation limited resources. The private sector plays a crucial role in developing sustainable livelihoods amidst the crisis and implementing projects addressing drought. Humanitarian organizations provide essential aid to regions affected by water-related conflicts and crises. Governments, policy think tanks, and research institutions focus on long-term strategies for resource management, climate adaptation, and drought preparedness. International collaborations foster sharing and capacity building, knowledge ensuring sustained progress in resilience and water security for the future.
Disruptions from a range of acute shocks, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, infrastructure failure, and loss of key industries, are becoming more frequent and intense. Chronic stressors, such as economic inequities, aging infrastructure, pervasive chronic disease, lack of quality affordable housing, and natural resource depletion, worsen the impacts of shocks and undermine our ability to recover and thrive. However, the connection between stressors and shocks is often not reflected in disaster and community planning efforts. The session will describe the vision, principles and concepts that underlay how we can collectively build community and national resilience. During this highly interactive session, participants will provide feedback on these concepts along with their stories of innovative resilience partnerships, successes, and challenges that will help inform development of FEMA’s new National Resilience Guidance.