Thursday 30th of April 8:48 AM

The importance of maintaining vital structures during a pandemic: Lessons learned from DRM


The current COVID-19 pandemic presents a major challenge for the global community and national governments. The disease has serious implications on individuals and societies and its rapid spread imposes a severe burden on many healthcare systems. Besides China, the coronavirus has so far spread especially rapidly in countries of the Global North (USA, UK, Germany, Italy and others), but the number of cases in developing countries is expected to rise with significant detrimental effects on the people and societies. The political, social and economic structures in many developing countries are lacking resilience to external shocks. Coordinated global and national action and the sharing of knowledge and resources are essential to avoid the exponential spread; especially, as the capacities to meet the challenges of a pandemic vary globally. Therefore, international solidarity and cooperation is needed to support countries less prepared and/or more affected by the pandemic.

Immediate crisis communication, medical and humanitarian assistance have to be linked with stabilizing economic and political measures to prevent the collapse of health systems, lessen the impact of economic recession and avert the emergence of fragility, conflicts and irregular migration. Decision-making and implementation processes need to consider vulnerable or marginalised groups as well as gender-responsive measures to foster resilience against risks. Migrants, refugees and people living in informal settlements are especially at risk as access to basic services is oftentimes lacking. In addition to the immediate health risks relating to the virus, quarantine, physical distancing and associated impacts (such as social isolation, rising unemployment or increased stress levels) can place a burden on the mental or physical health of individuals as well as the social and economic situation of individuals and societies. Considering the duration, spread and these complex consequences of pandemics, the coordinated implementation of health, social and economic measures is key.

Measures and instruments from comprehensive disaster risk management can offer useful lessons learned to maintain vital (infra-)structures and strengthen capacities during a pandemic. Disaster risk management is a cross-sectoral issue as disasters – similar to pandemics – have impacts on a variety of areas such as public health, governance, critical infrastructure (such as hospitals, transport, water, communication etc.) or the economy. GIDRM is determined to promote these lessons learned in the coming weeks and months to support actors and partners worldwide in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and foster risk-informed development.

Knowledge sharing

On 22nd April 2020, the webinar series “Tourism in Crisis” was launched with its first session on “Corona-Crisis: how is the tourism sector dealing with the pandemic? – Asia focus”. Tourism is one of the economic sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which is uniquely impacting source markets and destinations alike. It is expected that worldwide up to 75 million jobs will be lost due to the current crisis. In these unprecedented times, information and knowledge exchange is even more important than normally. Therefore, the webinar series aims to bring together various stakeholders in order to exchange on lessons learned and best practices to deal with the crisis and ensure business continuity and sustainable development in the long run. The webinar series is organized in collaboration between the Sector Project Cooperation with the Private Sector and GIDRM commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

More information:

Here you can learn more about how GIZ is supporting developing countries and emerging economies in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.