International SOS just published the annual Travel Risk Map for the year 2023. Designed to help organisations and their mobile workers better understand the risk level of each country around the world. With the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the security conflict in Ukraine, the risk map provides invaluable information to enable organisations to recognise and understand the specific ways these risks may impact their employees. As global risks continue to evolve around the world, using data-driven tools like the Risk Map can help organisations maintain their Duty of Care responsibilities in these often-uncertain times.
The map provides a layer illustrating mental health illness globally using external data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease. It shows the estimated percentage of a location’s population suffering from mental health disorders. This allows organisations, particularly large multinationals, to understand which locations may be particularly vulnerable to mental health issues. This data reveals the extent of the mental health epidemic that employees are facing and that employers must mitigate. Estimates are that around 14% (1-in-7) of people across the world are currently experiencing one or more mental or substance use disorders.
One of the notable improvements in medical risk is the Caribbean islands, largely due to the easing of COVID-related travel restrictions.
The medical risk for Mali has increased to ‘Very High’ as the security environment is complex. This has led a challenging humanitarian situation and is resulting in the weakening of healthcare systems against increased demand.
The Risk Map also provides a better understanding of the wider security situation in countries which mobile workers may be travelling through or working in. Which in turn, helps inform organisations to be able to create tailored solutions to mitigate the specific risks that their workforces may encounter.
Security: Crisis in Ukraine Brings Variation to the European Security Situation
The major security crisis from the past year has undoubtedly been the conflict in Ukraine. This has been reflected in the security focused map, as parts of Ukraine are now marked as having an ‘Extreme’ level of security risk.
Despite the wide-reaching impact of the Ukraine conflict and the rise in social unrest associated with cost-of-living increases, the underlying security risk environment across Europe has not changed.
Outside of Ukraine the most notable risk rating increases have been in the Sahel where extreme security risk zones have expanded due to the rising risk of militancy – a trend also notable in Mozambique and other parts of Africa.
Whilst in Colombia, a rise in criminality resulting in part from the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in high-risk zones.
Employees are more attuned to risks, and many are now more anxious about travel than pre-pandemic. Organisations must account for risk rating changes and trends in their planning. Managers should ensure employees have access to reliable information about the risks they may face, support with effective mitigation measures, and provide clear communication plans for employees before and during higher risk travel.