“We have to stop treating these events as exceptional”: Canadian Red Cross CEO Conrad Sauvé on how to prepare for the next global emergency

Sauvé has been the organization’s CEO since 2008, and says shocks are getting more frequent and severe — so it’s time to invest in preparedness

Why It Matters

Major crises like climate disasters and pandemics are, and will continue to, increase in frequency. The good news, though, is that organizations responding to these crises and their aftershocks can use learnings from this pandemic to prepare for the next emergency.

This story is in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.

The Canadian Red Cross has had an extremely — and increasingly — busy several years. 

From flooding in Calgary back in 2013 to forest fires throughout B.C. earlier this year to responding to tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes overseas. The crises are getting more frequent and more severe, says Conrad Sauve, who’s served as the CEO of the Canadian Red Cross since 2008. 

And, of course, these emergencies are compounded by the big one: COVID-19. 

Sauvé’s the first to admit that, like many other civil society organizations helping those affected by major crises, the Canadian Red Cross was not prepared for the pandemic and all its repercussions. But he has some ideas for how the sector could apply what it’s learned during this time in order to be better prepared for the next big

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