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Gill Blog

Monday, June 23, 2003

13th World Conference: Day 1 Notes

A great opening day at the conference with plenty of fodder for great conversation. The conference kicked off with an address by Bob Runcimen, the Minister of Public Safety and Security for the Province of Ontario (Canada). He reminded the audience that the ultimate purpose of terrorism is economic disruption and that its perpetrators are very sophisticated in identifying the channels that support and disrupt economic activites. He noted that Canada is the the largest trading partner of 38 of the 50 states in the US: that striking an unsuspecting target, an act that would close borders, would serve the end goal of terrorism. Something for Canadians to think about.

Vice Admiral Michael L. Cowan, Surgeon General for the US Navy delivered a fascinating speech that put the whole field of disaster response and business continuity into its proper historical context. Did you know that the event that launched this broad field was the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when the US Army in the Pacific was called in by the Mayor and the Governor? Interestingly, the field made no significant advances until, if you can believe it, the late 1980's! Its no small coincidence that this roughly coincided with the end of the cold war. The irony here is that at the conclusion of the cold war, people around the world thought the world was safe, but in fact it has become a much more complicated and dangerous place. Hence the need for robust planning that addresses both short term disaster recovery, as well as longer term planning. We have always maintained that Real Estate Continuity is long term in its scope, thus a key component of the latter strategy.


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