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Heading into 2021, and reflecting on 2020, we highlight what’s changed on our Security Risk Map, examining the key drivers behind the changes to our risk ratings for each region of the world.
Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, operational considerations have overtaken security concerns in many parts of the world, with containment measures, curfews and the curtailing of international travel having a catastrophic impact upon economies and inhibiting global business practises. With this in mind, comparably, we made fewer changes to our security risk ratings globally than in previous years, as security environments were relatively static.
This is not to say there have been no fluctuations in security environments. In fact, it is likely that some deteriorations or improvements were lost for many security managers among the focus placed upon the COVID-19 outbreak.
One of the more publicised security crises has occurred on the Armenian and Azerbaijani border, in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Thousands of people were displaced with hundreds killed, primarily military personnel, during the conflict. The area is populated by ethnic Armenian’s and controlled by a separatist authority, but remains part of Azerbaijani territory. Azerbaijani troops were able to seize control of numerous areas from Armenian control prior to a Russian-brokered peace deal. Due to the conflict, we raised our security risk rating for the Nagorno-Karabakh territory to Extreme.
In the MENA region, our only risk rating change was to the countrywide rating for Algeria, which we decreased to Moderate from High. There has been a lack of drivers which would necessitate a High rating throughout 2020, with the security forces proving effective at identifying and targeting any extremist elements. In urban centres such as Algiers, Oran and Constantine, security risks have remained Moderate, with the only concerns coming from the potential for militant activity in the country’s vast and sparsely populated interior.
A deterioration in the security environment in Burkina Faso dominated our changes in the Africa region. The eastern region of Burkina Faso, including Est, Yatenga, Loroum, Soum and Oudalan, was moved to Extreme owing to the proliferation of numerous Islamist groups, and attacks on the Boungou Mine in Est which killed 39 people highlighted the Extreme risks to both travellers and assets in the area. The overall security risk rating for Burkina Faso was increased from Moderate to High accordingly. Areas within 50 miles of the Burkina Faso border in Ghana were also increased to Moderate, owing to the raised risk of cross-border militancy following an attack in Sikolo prefecture.
APAC and the Americas
We made no changes to security risk ratings in the regions of APAC and the Americas. For both regions, we made numerous changes to the Evacuation Watch levels owing to the operational considerations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but in general, security environments remained stable. As the pandemic continues into 2021, and the development and distribution of the vaccines increases in tempo, while operational issues triggered by COVID-19 will slowly decrease, security issues could concurrently begin to resurface.
The Healix Security Risk Map 2021, along with our Risk Oracle report, can be downloaded here.
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