Infrastructure plays a vital role in the economic growth, well-being and health of the community and contributes to the overall socio-economic development of modern societies. Destruction of infrastructure can lead to severe economic and social impacts and can also lead to the loss of lives. This is especially true today, in an increasingly interconnected and hence interdependent environment, where welfare and prosperity depends on the continuous and reliable services provided by critical infrastructure. These critical infrastructure interdependencies have become increasingly complex and require a ‘system of systems’ approach to properly assess and understand the nature of impact resulting in failure and cascading effects on to other related infrastructures. To minimise such impacts and reduce risk, it is vital to identify vulnerabilities and improve the resilience of critical infrastructures.
Critical infrastructure Resilience in the context of EU CIRCLE is defined as the ability of a CI system to prevent, withstand, recover and adapt from the effects of climate hazards and climate change. Having conducted an extensive review of the literature on existing resilience frameworks, EU CIRCLE proposes a novel 4 layered approach to CI resilience: 1) Climatic hazard, climate change; 2) Critical infrastructure, their networks and interdependencies; 3) risks and impacts from climate change; and 4) capacity of critical infrastructure.
Figure 1: EU CIRCLE Resilience Framework
The 4 layers in the EU-CIRCLE resilience framework which determine what constitutes critical infrastructure resilience and their key components are summarised briefly below:
Resilience of what – the context which is critical infrastructure, their networks and interdependencies as incorporated in Layer 1
Resilience for what – the disturbance which is climatic hazards, including current and future climate change represented in Layer 2
Risks and Impacts – which includes the consequences of a hazard and the likelihood of the occurrence, detailed in Layer 3
Capacities of critical infrastructure such as the ability to anticipate and reduce the impact; ability to buffer and bear; ability to be repaired easily and efficiently included in the final Layer 4
Resilience parameters i.e. properties that indicate different capacities are also included in Layer 4
The EU-CIRCLE resilience framework thus has multi-dimensional components, incorporating risks and capacities with the focus on critical infrastructure, their networks and interdependencies and climate hazards including current and future climate change.
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