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Before the pandemic, the UK’s approach to risk assessment and risk management was widely lauded around the world for its rigour. The 2019 Global Health Security Index even placed the UK as among the best-prepared countries in the world for a pandemic, ahead of Japan or South Korea. With Covid-19, however, the UK’s risk management system was shown to be inflexible and deficient for protecting national needs.
Yet, there are many other risks that the UK could face – and possibly more extreme ones – aside from the pandemic. The UK has also had to reckon with severe supply chain disruption and threats to its fuel supply during this time. This has brought concerns about the fragility of the just-in-time networks on which the UK’s food, fuel and essential services rely. The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August 2021 increased fears about regional security and the renewed threat of global terrorism. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 brought the spectre of war to Europe’s doorstep.
All of this has called for the UK to assess and strengthen its national resilience, to ensure it is better prepared for the next crises.