Anticipation  of major risks is crucial; yet it is not sufficient if it does not lead to a significant improvement of local resilience.

Defining resilience as a fundamental component of any development model, the Ocean Open University has elaborated a 5-step method to develop resilience, especially in island eco- and human-systems:

Before the risk materializes:

1 - Anticipation: Anticipation is at the heart of the foresight exercise. It makes it possible to know elements of possible futures (trends, ruptures, emergence), to understand the images of the future that individuals, collectives and cultures form (prospective anthropology), to set the criteria on the basis of which an event can be considered "major" and to consider the multiple risks and means of preventing them that may exist, in the most participatory way possible.

2 - Prevention of major risks: Prevention of specific risks consists of a set of measures designed to prevent a risk by eliminating or reducing its probability of occurrence. Nevertheless, this field of knowledge is rarely applied to major risks. Widely applied to natural disasters and epidemics, prevention is still poorly applied to face socioeconomic, political or chronic risks. Hence the need to integrate it into a systemic approach of risks.


During the occurrence of the event.

3 - Crisis management [1]: Major public (e.g. the French ORSEC) and non-governmental aid and rescue organisations (the International Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, etc.) have already developed effective protocols for managing major risks and crises (earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, chemical accidents, major fires). However, those are rarely confronted and capitalized, remaining little known and therefore difficult to coordinate in times of crisis.

[1] Not to be confused with risk management, see ISO 31000:2009

After the risk has materialized.

4 - Post-crisis management: In the VUCA period, the duration of a crisis tends to last overtime. Yet crisis management protocols only function, in most of cases, during the short period of risk realization (first aid, for example). Thus, a new no man's land needs to be managed, between first aid delivery and the return to normal, hence the interest of a post-crisis management. This post-crisis management focuses on the management of the shortage and disorganization of services, the resumption of the economy, the monitoring of sudden deterioration of the situation (epidemics, famines, etc.).

5 - Implementation of resilient development: There is currently no model or specific way of action relating to the transformation of a given local economy (in the broad sense, including living conditions) into a resilient economy after a crisis. Hence the frequent recurrence of the same damage, disaster after disaster. It therefore appears necessary to develop new concrete ways of action to face this issue, particularly adapted to the impacts of climate change and the biotope irreversible degradation.

While island territories are most exposed to risk, all the coastal socio-economies are concerned by resilience.

© 2019 by OOU