Chokepoints: The Challenges of Improving Surveillance of Emerging Biological Hazards Across the Indo-Pacific Region

Jack Thomson, Paul Barnes, Nicholas Thomson, Paul Arbon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


On the most fundamental level, our ability to better anticipate future disaster risk determines our ability to mitigate resultant cascading impacts and reduce the cost to human life. But while pandemics and broader emergent biological hazards (EBH) have long been a predicted outcome of increased global connectivity and disruption to human-ecological systems (HES), the unfolding impacts of SARS-CoV-2 would appear to have been met with disproportionate warning and preparedness. Post-COVID-19, One Health and pandemic surveillance initiatives will attract a rush of short-term attention and associated resource investment. This will merge with a myriad of technological advances promoted as platforms for improving early identification and warning of pending health crises. While there is a clear rationale for improved human–animal–environment health surveillance, the effective scale of strategic investment required and how and where it needs to be best implemented is not yet fully understood. Within the Indo-Pacific Region (IPR) as elsewhere, a number of transboundary corridors meet at physical migration, trade, and transport chokepoints. These chokepoints are frequently tropical regions also characterised by rapid and significant land-use changes creating ideal conditions for emergent biological hazards. These chokepoints, whether they be intranational or international, offer significant opportunity on a systemic and practical basis to improve strategic early warning and mitigate against cascading hazard impacts. But equally, they present a number of persistent governance challenges that must be prioritised in order to avoid undermining future hazard surveillance and containment capability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplex Disasters
Subtitle of host publicationCompounding, Cascading, and Protracted
EditorsAnna Lukasiewicz, Tayanah O'Donnell
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811924286
ISBN (Print)9789811924279
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameDisaster Risk, Resilience, Reconstruction and Recovery
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2662-5660
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5679


  • Biological hazards
  • Early warning
  • Transboundary governance


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