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The Role of Governance in Crisis and Emergency Management with Aaron Marks

Aug 04, 2023
Politicians Talking on a Conference Table

Emergency and crisis management are complex fields that constantly evolve and challenge old ideas. As the world faces escalating crises and disasters, leaders and on-the-ground responders must adapt to meet the changing needs of communities.

In a recent podcast interview with Aaron Marks, the topic of governance in emergency and crisis management was discussed at length. The conversation tackled three important things:

  • understanding the changing risk factors that communities face,
  • the role of governance, and
  • the need for transparency and communication

Understanding Changing Risk Factors

Climate change, societal and cultural shifts, and technological advancements are reshaping our reality. These phenomena contribute toward an evolving risk ecosystem that impacts how communities function.
To understand and manage these risks, professionals must be able to anticipate changes and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Marks uses the example of California, where insurance companies have stopped providing coverage for wildfires. This is due to the increased risk posed by several factors like climate change, which makes wildfires more frequent, and a changing regulatory environment complicating management and mitigation efforts. With a seemingly perpetual crisis at hand, the local community is forced to reorient and find new ways to adapt. And one crucial element of adaptation is to have a governance approach better suited to addressing new challenges.

The Role of Governance

Governance plays a critical role in helping communities adapt to changing risk factors. This includes everything from public education to legal frameworks and rules. One important aspect of governance that Marks emphasized is the need for educating the public about expectations, roles, and responsibilities.

Governance must be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs while providing a stable decision-making foundation. However, Marks argues that assumptions can be made that members of the community already understand the logic behind decisions, which can result in misinterpretations. Therefore, it is essential to clarify and communicate the reasoning behind governance decisions to ensure a common understanding among the public.

Moreover, Marks explains that one of the challenges of governance is balancing the need for risk mitigation with the need for community engagement. Engagement requires transparency and communication to build trust between communities and institutions. But this becomes especially challenging in a changing environment, where the status quo is no longer an option.

Transparency and Communication

Marks believes transparency and communication are vital to building trust between communities and institutions. This means having clear and open communication about the reasoning behind decisions and the justification for actions taken. It also requires a willingness to engage with community members and listen to their concerns and feedback.

To effectively build trust, Marks points out that institutions must be willing to engage in a dialogue with communities. Leaders and policymakers must listen to feedback and incorporate it into decision-making. There should also be accountability—being able to admit to mistakes and take corrective action.

Adapting to a Changing Environment

Emergency and crisis management requires a flexible and adaptive approach. As part of a bigger whole, effective governance plays a critical role in helping communities adapt to changing risk factors. Thus, governments must be willing to communicate transparently and openly with community members. More importantly, there should be a system that incorporates feedback into decision-making.

To listen to the episode, visit our podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. If you liked what you read, consider following CBI in our channels and subscribing to our newsletter to stay updated on fascinating discussions, events, and developments in crisis and emergency management.


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