2015 was the most lethal year for terrorist violence in Europe in nearly a decade as terrorists increasingly target private citizens and public gatherings, according to a study by Aon Risk Solutions. This marks the first net increase in global terrorism risk ratings since 2013, with the risk ratings of 18 countries experiencing an increase and 13 countries seeing a decrease.
For the first time since Aon's Terrorism and Political Violence Map was first created in 2007, shootings have overtaken bombings in the western world, while the targeting of civilians in public spaces has become more commonplace. Since January 2015, nearly one-third (31%) of all attacks in the western world targeted private citizens and public gatherings.
The global threat posed by Islamic State dominates many of the map findings this year, as the group entered a more aggressive phase of mounting mass casualty attacks in 2015 and early 2016, with the United States, France, Turkey and Belgium all affected. The terrorist organisation’s activities have contributed to sustaining or increasing risk levels in more than a dozen countries worldwide. Far-right activism as well as civil unrest risks stemming from the European migrant crisis and the increasing influence of extremist parties have also driven rating increases.
“Our 2016 map demonstrates increasing regional instability and a growing spectrum of potential risks,” said Scott Bolton, director in Crisis Management at Aon Risk Solutions. “The threats highlighted in the map should encourage business leaders with global footprints to adopt a more strategic risk management approach to limit the impact of attacks on their people, operations and assets. Understanding how they are exposed to the peril is key to achieving this outcome.”
With all this as a backdrop, it is easy to see why acts of terror have increased as a concern for business continuity professionals according to the Business Continuity Institute’s latest Horizon Scan Report. In this report it was ranked as the fourth greatest threat with 55% of respondents to a global survey expressing concern about the prospect of an act of terror impacting on their organization. It is therefore essential that organizations have business continuity plans in place that will enable them to manage through the disruption caused by a terrorist event, whatever form it may take.