London First Global Resilience Summit

Emerging challenges - a glance ahead to the biggest issues that face our global cities.

All the ingredients for urban terror attacks are in place. We need to plan now to protect our cities, says Dr Peter Rehwinkel ahead of next month's Global Resilience Summit.

Risks have always been part of our cities. But fortunately they have demonstrated enormous resilience in the face of natural hazards. Still, growing populations and elevated density are placing big pressure on services and land.

Climate change is a reality threatening cities once again. And new challenges clearly emerge.

"Just ask yourself how many countless locations are there worldwide that present themselves as extremely soft targets for terrorists"

Today, terrorist attacks are a reality. Whether it’s Tunis, Paris, Copenhagen, or for that matter, any nation or city, terrorists strike at will. I’d say that in a world replete with religious zeal, poverty, and inequality, carnage is inevitable. In dozens of nations, the hatred is palpable. The people are angry and mad! Manufactured enemies have become the unfortunate targets of this anger.

Denying access to individuals to known terrorist groups — whether inside or outside their nation — is the most effective means of reducing terrorism.

My contention is that the domestic terrorist is already residing in the nation and growing angrier by the day. Also, the domestic terrorist has easy access to an assortment of weapons.

Some individuals will be radicalised by foreign religious groups. But it’s also possible for individuals to be radicalised by widespread domestic extremism as well.

London First's Global Resilience Summit: Securing the Future of Our Cities is on 15-16 October. For details and to book a place visit

The reason I fear there’s going to be a spate of terrorist attacks worldwide — no nation or city is immune — is because all the key ingredients of a terrorist attack are already in place. These ingredients are:

  • Amateur perpetrators without advanced training.
  • Soft targets that permit for easy access and crucially, maximum potential for damage.
  • High public visibility.

Just ask yourself how many countless locations are there worldwide that present themselves as extremely soft targets for terrorists to harm dozens of people while cell phones and cameras capture the carnage.

The forthcoming London First Global Resilience Summit in London on 15th October, will be centred on urban terrorism, crisis management, business resilience, and city policing - highly actual themes. We will be facing in October the challenges that, once again, threaten the future of our cities!

Dr Peter Rehwinkel is Director and Founder of International Disaster and Crisis Management

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