International medical and security specialist SOS has identified Afghanistan as the potentially most dangerous country in the world to visit in 2022.
The organization’s recently released Risk Outlook 2022 named Syria the second most dangerous destination to visit, followed by Libya, the Central African Republic and Iraq.
The same countries were in the top five in last year’s forecast for 2021, with only Afghanistan and Libya swapping places as 2022 approaches.
Mali, Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as parts of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Ukraine, are also listed among other countries with a security risk. also classified as “extreme”.
In its annual update of risk ratings, International SOS drew attention to several changes, including the travel risk rating for the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince which has gone from high to extreme due to the increased gang activity and crime, with Myanmar’s overall rating dropping from average too high.
The organization says that a categorization of “extreme security risk” means that government control and law and order may be minimal or nonexistent over large areas, and that there could be a serious threat of violent attacks. by armed groups targeting international visitors.
In addition, government and transport services are barely functional and large parts of the country may be inaccessible to foreigners.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Norway has been named the safest destination right now, followed by Finland, Switzerland, Denmark and Luxembourg.
âIn 2022, organizations must be aware that perennial security concerns such as crime, civil unrest, terrorism or other geopolitical concerns have not disappeared due to the pandemic. In many cases, the risks associated with these concerns have actually increased, âsaid Mick Sharp, director of group security services at International SOS.
Covid-19 related triggers aside, natural disasters, geopolitics, national conflicts and crime will continue to impact organizations around the world.
âTensions around pandemic lockdowns, vaccine deployments and perceived violations of civil liberties have fueled civil unrest and violence in some places. With the increased use of mandates or vaccine restrictions on unvaccinated people around the world, we can expect to see tensions escalate throughout 2022.
âIn addition to the triggers related to Covid-19, natural disasters, geopolitics, national conflicts and crime will continue to impact organizations globally. This impact will further increase in 2022 with an increasing return to travel and an increased focus on the due diligence requirements of a workforce in the country. ”
Invest in support
The organization’s Risk Outlook 2022 also includes the results of several studies, including a survey of nearly 1,000 risk professionals, which found that more than half of companies (56%) plan to increase their investments. to support the mental and physical health of employees.
Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has been identified as the leading expected cause of declining employee productivity in 2022, while more than a third of those surveyed said they expected mental health issues to lead to a drop. significant increase in productivity, placing it in second place.
Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions came third, transport issues fourth, and threats to security and civil unrest rounded out the top five concerns.
Meanwhile, 28% of respondents in Europe expect travel risks to increase in 2022, 44% expect risk levels to stay roughly the same and 28% expect that the risk levels decrease.
The numbers were broadly similar among respondents in the Americas and Asia, with 24% and 30% respectively expecting risk levels to increase, and 38% and 41% expecting risk levels to decrease. .
âIn 2022, we face an environment of layered threats. Entering the third year of the pandemic, as Covid-19 and the fallout from lockdowns continue to be major disruptors, other risks come to the fore as travel resumes, âsaid Dr Neil Nerwich , group medical director at International SOS.
âWith many experts predicting that 2022 will be the year of the ‘big resignation’, organizations must act to ensure they are providing the necessary support to employees. Investing in supporting both emotional health and physical well-being will be critical for employee retention. It will also help avoid a vicious cycle of productivity issues.
âThose who can best help employees navigate changing work environments will be rewarded with increased employee resilience, loyalty and productivity. ”