With high certainty, extreme weather events will intensify in their impact within the next 10 years due to climate change-induced increases in hazard probability of occurrence and simultaneous increases in socio-economic vulnerability. Data from previous mega-disasters show that losses from disruptions of critical services surpass the value of direct damages in the exposed areas because critical infrastructures [CI] are increasingly (inter-) dependent. Local events may have global impacts.
... lobal impacts. Systemic criticality, which describes the relevance of a critical infrastructure due to its positioning within the system, needs to be addressed to reduce the likelihood of cascading effects. This paper presents novel approaches to operationalise and assess systemic criticality. Firstly, the paper introduces systemic cascade potential as a measurement of systemic criticality. It takes the relevance of a sector and the relevance of its interdependencies into account to generate a relative value of systemic importance for a CI sector. Secondly, an exemplary sectoral assessment of the road network allows reflecting the spatial manifestation of the first level of cascading effects. It analyses the impact of traffic interruptions on the accessibility of critical facilities to point out the systemically most critical segments of the municipal road network. To further operationalise the spatial dimension of criticality, a normative assertion determining the worthiness of protection of system components is required. A nationwide spatial flood protection plan incorporates this aspect in Germany for the first time. Its formal approval process was initiated in February 2020.