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COVID-19 ISO Insights

A Look at Global Civil Unrest Related to Covid-19 Supply Chain Disruptions

August 9, 2022

By Katie Sanchez

Key Takeaways:

  • A recent study indicates global civil unrest has been growing significantly in the past 15 years and seems to have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Recent reasons cited for protests include a lack of food, increased cost of living, and inflation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has likely been a factor helping to increase in the number of civil unrest events seen on an international scale, a trend also shown by the Verisk Maplecroft’s Civil Unrest Index and commented on by a 2020 Verisk Perspectives article.

Of note, per the International Mutual Fund (IMF), the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on both inequality and civil unrest. According to the IMF, historically, pandemics have the potential to foster civil unrest, and Covid-19 is no different. Reportedly, countries more impacted by the pandemic are the most likely to experience increased civil unrest. Protesters within these countries cite many conditions that are likely attributed to or exacerbated by pandemic-related supply chain disruptions such as inflation, a lack of food, rising fuel prices, and an increased cost of living. In some countries, the protesters claim that poor governmental response to these issues led to civil unrest events.1

Recently, many of these events have been at the forefront of the news cycle, with unrest occurring in numerous countries. Some of these are as follows:

Covid 19 Supply Chain Disruptions

The Maplecroft Food Security Index indicates that 26 countries would likely see a surge in unrest by the end of 2022.14 Furthermore, the Civil Unrest Index provided by Maplecroft projects that 75 countries will experience major protests by the end of 2022.15 According to a Columbia University study conducted in 2021, protests have been on a noticeable upward trend over the past 15 years.16

“In 2006, just 73 protest movements were recorded by the study. In 2020, there were 251 — higher even then after the 2008 financial crisis or the Arab Spring revolts of 2011.”17

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rufaskamau/2022/07/11/inflation-protests-span-sri-lanka-albania-argentina-panama-kenya-ghanahow-long-before-they-hit-the-united-states/?sh=dc3392474c2d
  2. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/albania-thousands-join-opposition-protest-price-hikes-86397392
  3. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/argentine-anti-government-protests-build-president-calls-unity-2022-07-10/
  4. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/high-school-fire-violent-protests-by-kids-rock-chile-2022-07-05/
  5. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chilean-students-protest-capital-early-test-president-boric-2022-03-25/
  6. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/01/may-day-rallies-in-europe-urge-more-help-as-inflation-bites.html
  7. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/police-disperse-protest-over-economic-hardship-ghana-2022-06-28/
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jul/12/on-the-street-and-online-social-media-becomes-key-to-protest-in-kenya
  9. https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/latest-news/news/2020/06/02/impact-of-covid19-on-food-supply-chains-in-sri-lanka
  10. https://www.politico.eu/article/dutch-farmer-protest-manure-roadblock-agriculture-what-to-know/
  11. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/20/what-is-behind-largest-protests-in-panama-in-years-explainer
  12. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-08/protests-build-across-africa-over-surging-fuel-prices-shortages
  13. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-61028138
  14. https://www.verisk.com/insurance/products/emerging-issues/perspectives/a-dangerous-new-era-of-civil-unrest-is-dawning-in-the-united-states-and-around-the-world/
  15. Ibid
  16. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/11/04/protests-global-study/
  17. Ibid

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