Governments in 25 per cent of countries are not trusted to provide safe food, water and power
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll has revealed that governments across the world are failing to win the confidence of their populations in the provision of critical basic infrastructure including food, water and power.
Government Safety Performance Index (GSPI)
Governments in every country use a wide range of regulations, laws or codes to help keep people safe. The World Risk Poll survey includes three questions that ask people whether they think their governments are doing a good job of keeping them safe in three key areas: food safety, water safety and safety of powerlines – a measure of critical infrastructure – in the areas where they live.
The combined responses to these three questions have been used to create the World Risk Poll Government Safety Performance Index (GSPI). The higher the score on this measure, the more people thought their respective governments are doing a good job keeping their food, water and critical infrastructure safe.
Twenty-nine counties registered a GSPI score of 75 or higher, suggesting most people living in these countries approve of their government’s performance on critical infrastructure.
The most trusted governments in the world on critical infrastructure are Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the Philippines.
The World Risk Poll also reveals that 35 countries displayed very low levels of confidence in their governments on critical infrastructure. Globally, the four least trusted governments are Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq.
Overall high-income countries tend to have a higher level of trust in their governments than low economy countries. Whilst the country’s economic, social, cultural and political climate all play a significant role, individual characteristics such as education levels, gender and feelings about household income contribute to perceptions of how likely their government is to keep them safe.
“When we arrived in Fukushima, six months after the nuclear accident the people there told us they had had plenty of scientific lectures on radiation and associated risks but they still didn’t know whether they could drink the tap water or eat the local fish from the market.”
Governments have a responsibility to create safe environments for the people they represent. What is clear is that the populations of far too many countries do not trust those in power to fulfil this key role. In any situation where people need to make decisions about their safety, the sources of information they trust are critical. If people hear multiple competing narratives, they are disempowered and may not take decisions that keep them safe. In many cases governments need to be more nuanced about the way they communicate vital information, using trusted sources such as medical professionals and celebrities, instead of relying on existing official channels.
Trust in government on food, water and power
The Government Safety Performance Index summarises views on government’s performance on keeping critical infrastructure safe. (Country’s score out of 100)