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The world has more to lose than ever before from massive failure of critical infrastructure. To improve efﬁciency and lower cost, various systems have been allowed to become hyperdependent on one another. The failure of one weak link – whether from natural disaster, human error or terrorism – can create ripple effects across multiple systems and over wide geographical areas.
Large-scale power outages might be the most visible illustration. The initiating event in the August 2003 power failures in the United States occurred in Ohio but the worst consequences were felt by 55 million people in the north-eastern part of the United States and Canada. The July 2012 India blackout was the largest in history, affecting 670 million people, about 10% of the world population, and was partially triggered by high demand during a heat wave.
In many countries, infrastructure has not been maintained well enough to withstand the kinds of catastrophes that could spark such cascading effects. This is often the result of procrastination, the perception that the risk is so small that it is not worth considering or crowding out by other priorities, and the fact that investing in preparedness is rarely immediately rewarded in the electoral process. The challenge is ﬁnancial, and incentives are misaligned. For example, in the United States, over 80% of infrastructure is owned or managed by private sector ﬁrms, which are not responsible for the negative externalities that failure of their part of the infrastructure could have elsewhere.1 To increase investment in infrastructure, a coordinated, global, long-term and multistakeholder approach is required. Upgrading infrastructure is essential, in recognition that resilient infrastructure has become the backbone of a competitive economy.
Es ist zwar inhaltlich nicht beruhigend, wenn man von einer großen Organisation bestätigt wird, aber dennoch ein Hinweis, dass man nicht auf dem Holzweg ist.