July 28, 2022
President, Berglind-Manning L.C.
Vice President of Social Impact and The UPS Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many cracks in both the domestic and global emergency response measures. However, it also provided an opportunity for the public and private sectors to come together and collaborate on short-term solutions and long-term preparedness.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 11th Annual Building Resilience Through Private-Public Partnerships Conference, Timothy Manning, the President of Berglind-Manning L.C., a public policy consulting agency, sat down for a fireside chat about the preparedness lessons learned from COVID-19.
The United States and Its Global Partners Need to Build Greater Resilience
Two years into the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest takeaway for Manning is a solution that has been proven difficult to execute. Both the United States and its partners need to create more resilient and forward-thinking solutions.
“We need to take resilience deeper into our planning, and in some cases … accept a little higher cost in order to prevent the massive disruptions that we've seen,” said Manning.
“We will certainly continue to see, with shifting weather patterns [and] changing climate causing … wildfires in different places, flooding in different places — we have a lot of challenges ahead of us and hopefully we'll recognize the critical role of resilience and building less brittle systems plays,” he added.
The Public and Private Sector Should Be Sharing Information
According to Manning, there's a common misconception of a divide between the private sector and the government. However, he noted that at every turn, both sides understood the critical importance of the pandemic and stepped up to work together.
Going forward, Manning suggests that both the private and public sectors develop solutions for sharing information to prevent future delays.
“A lesson to be learned and carried forward is the need to have the institutions in place to protect that information,” said Manning. “[We need] to provide the confidence to the C-suite that [the government] can take in very sensitive information, use it to help save lives and use it in a way that protects it from negatively impacting their efforts.”
The Government Must Rethink How It Handles Emergency Management
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most severe crisis the world has faced in recent history, it won’t be the last. Manning noted that climate change will lead to more public health issues, and the U.S. government will need to rethink the way it works with its internal organizations and with other entities across the globe.
Manning emphasized the need for a consistent, holistic approach to handling a crisis through various authorities and agencies on both sides of the aisle.
“Our understanding has shifted on us,” said Manning. “Our understanding of what kind of rainfall patterns might exist in water availability — through reservoirs and mining aquifers — overlays with the water availability for people and for manufacturing processes. [The amount is] based on a historical record that has shifted dramatically and … in a way that isn't going to change anytime [soon].”
“We need to be thinking through kind of those long-term impacts across the board and prevent and be prepared for all manner of shock,” Manning added.