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Global Risk Governance : Concept and Practice Using the IRGC Framework - Ortwin Renn

Global Risk Governance

Concept and Practice Using the IRGC Framework

By: Ortwin Renn (Editor), K. Walker (Editor)

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Published: 5th November 2007
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The establishment of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) was the direct result of widespread concern that the complexity and interdependence of health, environmental, and technological risks facing the world was making the development and implementation of adequate risk governance strategies ever more difficult. This volume details the IRGC developed and proposed framework for risk governance and covers how it was peer reviewed as well as tested

The International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) is an independent organization whose purpose is to help the understanding and management of emerging global risks that have impacts on human health and safety, the environment, the economy and society at large. IRGC focuses on emerging, systemic risks for which governance deficits exist and aims to provide recommendations for how policy makers can correct them. The IRGC takes a broad, interdisciplinary approach; it draws specialists from practice and academe, and from natural sciences as well as social sciences. In Global Risk Governance: Concept and Practice Using the IRGC Framework, Ortwin Renn presents a risk management framework that aims to provide a comprehensive and transparent approach to managing physical risks with global or ubiquitous consequences. This framework is the result of extensive international consultation with risk managers and the academic community. The framework has four stages beginning with pre-assessment where stakeholders and experts help decision makers frame risks. Here, managers increase institutional activity in risk by, for example, establishing agreed standards and early warning systems that identify questionable deviations from the norm. The second step is risk appraisal, which includes two phases: first, scientists estimate the consequences of a potential threat, and second, social scientists consider civil society's understanding of the risk. The third stage is tolerability and acceptability judgement where managers weigh the empirical evidence against different social values and perceptions. The final step is risk management. Typically, this step requires significant stakeholder involvement. The book notes that by including the public in the process, managers can increase transparency in decision-making and distribute the responsibility for risk reduction between governments and society. When risk managers are unable to reach a consensus, constant communication and transparent monitoring can often help stakeholders agree on provisional solutions. Given the nature of risk governance, the IRGC's framework is a recurring process as depicted in the accompanying figure. Renn suggests that one of the most important risk policy issues is the treatment of different actors' risk perceptions. Availability and assessment biases, over- and under-estimation of risks, and risks spread over time (even over generations) challenge the traditional, straightforward risk calculations and projections. Renn argues for better integration of lay views with those of experts. On the balance, he favours the latter; however, both have to be considered in order to generate stable risk-management solutions and a lasting sense of security. The framework also includes clear definitions of key terms, including the distinction of different types of risks. The framework distinguishes, for instance, between risks that are highly complex; uncertain; or ambiguous. Complex risks are those which are difficult to quantify, largely because of the multitude of potential causal agents at work. Uncertain risks refer to a state of knowledge in which the likelihood of any adverse effect or the effects themselves cannot be described precisely even though the factors influencing the issues are identified. Ambiguous risks-perhaps the most contentious aspect of the book-give rise to several meaningful and legitimate interpretations of accepted risk assessment results. Managers can rely on expert judgement when society agrees on the values underpinning a decision and the tolerability of the risk. When risk is considered complex, managers need an accepted method by which to compare available evidence. When risks are judged to be uncertain, Renn advocates a precautionary approach. When a risk is ambiguous, he suggests that a broad societal discourse will help overcome differences in values and perceptions. The book has limitations. First, it is relatively new. While several chapters include very interesting case studies from around the world, the authors of these chapters in most instances have applied the framework in an after-the-fact approach. It will be important to see the impact that the framework will have when it is applied in a detailed and systematic way to new and emerging risks. This will take time. Second, its somewhat academic tone and style make it a little less accessible to a broader audience. Third and perhaps most importantly, the framework's strength can also be its weakness. While consultation is an important part of the process in a democratic society seeking stable risk management solutions, as Loefstedt and van Asselt as well as North note in their respective chapters, it is often difficult to build consensus, and therefore consultation can also be expensive and time consuming. Indeed, conducting the appropriate amount of consultation might be a bit more art than science. This is a significant challenge for most risk management processes; again, more time and research will suggest the extent to which the framework can accommodate multiple and competing views, and do so in an acceptably efficient manner. For more information on the International Risk Governance Council's research on this and other policy files, please visit their website, www.irgc.org. Notably, the IRGC has recently published Managing and Reducing Social Vulnerabilities from Coupled Critical Infrastructures, a copy of which is available on their website.

Craig O'Blenis is a recent graduate of Dalhousie University's Masters of Public Administration program. For more information on this article, please contact him at craig.oblenis@gmail.com

Foreword - A Business Perspective on IRGC's Riskp. xv
Foreword - Fresh Thinking for Risk Management Practitionersp. xix
Foreword - A Better Platform for Global Risk Debatesp. xxi
Introductionp. xxiii
Acknowledgementsp. xxix
A Framework for Risk Governance
White Paper on Risk Governance: Toward an Integrative Frameworkp. 3
Purpose and Objectives of This White Paperp. 3
Target Audience of This White Paperp. 4
Scope of the Proposed Frameworkp. 5
Risk in a Broader Contextp. 6
Before Assessment Startsp. 10
Risk Assessmentp. 14
Generic Challenges for Risk Assessmentp. 18
Risk Perceptionp. 21
Risk Appraisalp. 25
Characterising and Evaluating Risksp. 28
Risk Managementp. 32
Risk Management Strategiesp. 36
Managing Interdependenciesp. 40
Stakeholder Involvement and Participationp. 43
Risk Communicationp. 48
Wider Governance Issues: Organisational Capacityp. 52
The Role of Political Culturep. 55
Conclusionsp. 58
Glossary of Termsp. 60
A Framework for Risk Governance: Critical Reviews
A Framework for Risk Governance Revisitedp. 77
Introductionp. 77
The IRGC Framework for Risk Governancep. 78
Receptionp. 78
Strengthsp. 79
Critiquep. 80
The Need for Further Simplificationp. 80
The Need for Adequate Positioningp. 81
The Need for Rethinkingp. 81
Conclusionsp. 84
Enterprise Risk Management Perspectives on Risk Governancep. 87
Comments on the IRGC Framework for Risk Governancep. 93
Overviewp. 93
Context and Purposep. 94
Comments on Strengths and Weaknessesp. 96
Next Steps and Outreachp. 98
Concluding Quotep. 99
White, Black, and Gray: Critical Dialogue with the International Risk Governance Council's Framework for Risk Governancep. 101
Introductionp. 101
Presuppositional and Scope Issuesp. 102
Definitional Clarity: Defining Riskp. 103
General Coherence of Frameworkp. 104
Uncertainty in Risk Estimationp. 109
Political Implications and Unintended Consequencesp. 114
Conclusionsp. 116
Synposis of Critical Comments on the IRGC Risk Governance Frameworkp. 119
Introductionp. 119
General Commentsp. 119
Conceptual/Theoretical Issuesp. 119
Purpose of the Frameworkp. 120
Scope of the Frameworkp. 121
Exploring Risk Governancep. 121
Categorisation and Quality of Risk-Related Knowledgep. 122
Benefits and Costsp. 123
Vulnerability and Resiliencep. 124
Comments about the Phases of the IRGC Risk Governance Frameworkp. 124
Overall View of the Four Phases of Risk Governancep. 124
Pre-Assessmentp. 125
Risk Appraisal: Risk Assessment and Concern Assessmentp. 125
Tolerability and Acceptability Judgementp. 126
Stakeholder Involvement and Sharing Knowledgep. 127
Risk Communicationp. 128
Revisiting and Testingp. 129
Conclusionsp. 129
A Framework for Risk Governance: Case Study Applications
Risk Governance of Genetically Modified Crops - European and American Perspectivesp. 133
Introduction and Backgroundp. 133
Analysis of Risk Governance of GM Crops in Accordance with the IRGC Frameworkp. 134
Risk Governance Contextp. 135
Risk Pre-assessment - Framing New Technologyp. 136
Risk Appraisalp. 138
Risk Characterisation and Evaluationp. 142
Risk Managementp. 144
Risk Communication and Stakeholder Participationp. 145
Conclusions and Recommendationsp. 146
Experience in Applying the IRGC Framework to the Development of GM Cropsp. 147
Further Development of the IRGC Frameworkp. 148
Risk Governance of Innovative Technologiesp. 151
Nature-Based Tourismp. 155
Introduction and Backgroundp. 155
Analysis of Risk Governance for Nature-Based Tourismp. 158
Risk Governance Contextp. 159
Risk Pre-Assessmentp. 162
Risk Appraisalp. 163
Characterisation of Risks as Simple, Complex, Uncertain, or Ambiguousp. 167
Tolerability and Acceptability Judgementp. 167
Risk Managementp. 168
Risk Communicationp. 172
Stakeholder Participationp. 173
Conclusionsp. 174
Lessons Learned and Recommendationsp. 175
Listeria in Raw Milk Soft Cheese: A Case Study of Risk Governance in the United States Using the IRGC Frameworkp. 179
Introduction and Backgroundp. 179
Risk Governance Contextp. 181
Pre-Assessmentp. 182
Problem Framingp. 182
Monitoring and Early Warningp. 185
Institutional Pre-Screeningp. 186
Scientific Conventionsp. 186
Risk Appraisalp. 187
Risk Assessmentp. 187
Concern Assessmentp. 196
Tolerability & Acceptability Judgementp. 200
Risk Characterisationp. 200
Risk Evaluationp. 205
Risk Managementp. 209
Decision Makingp. 209
Implementationp. 210
Risk Communicationp. 212
Conclusionsp. 215
Nagara River Estuary Barrage Conflictp. 221
Introductionp. 221
The Nagara River Estuary Barrage Conflictp. 222
Nagara River Estuary Barragep. 222
Purpose of the Barragep. 222
Evolution of Conflict: Changes in Issues and Key Stakeholdersp. 223
Retrospective Analysis Using the IRGC Frameworkp. 225
Pre-Assessmentp. 225
Risk Appraisalp. 226
Tolerability and Acceptability Judgementp. 227
Risk Managementp. 227
The Cyclic Nature of the IRGC Risk Governance Framework; the Risk Management Escalator and Stakeholder Involvementp. 227
Discussion and Conclusionsp. 228
Acrylamide Risk Governance in Germanyp. 231
Introductionp. 231
Acrylamide History and Toxicityp. 232
Events in Sweden up to 24 April 2002p. 234
International Response to the Press Conferencep. 237
Evaluation of the Events in Swedenp. 240
Summary of the Characteristics of the Acrylamide Case: Relevance for Risk Governancep. 243
The Institutional Structures of Consumer Health Protection in Germanyp. 244
Risk Governance in the Acrylamide Case in Germanyp. 247
Pre-Assessmentp. 248
Risk Appraisalp. 251
The Beginning of the German Acrylamide Casep. 253
Tolerability and Acceptability Judgementp. 259
Risk Managementp. 261
Summary and Conclusionp. 265
Index of Abbreviations and Translated Namesp. 267
Energy Security for the Baltic Regionp. 275
Introductionp. 275
Baltic Energy Security Viewed from the IRGC Framework: Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguityp. 276
Baltic Energy Security; IRGC's Four Phases of Risk Analysis and Managementp. 281
Summaryp. 283
Quotations from Leaders and Leading News Media Writers on Energy Security with Respect to the Use of Russian Natural Gas in Europe, 2006p. 284
Assessing Risks in Long-Term Planning: Probabilistic Scenario Analysis with Generalised Equilibrium Energy Modelsp. 287
Nanotechnology Risk Governancep. 301
Introductionp. 301
Purpose and Backgroundp. 301
Promises of Nanotechnologyp. 303
Risk Governance of Nanotechnology: An Application of the IRGC Risk Governance Frameworkp. 304
Pre-Assessment: Categorisation of Nanotechnology into Two Frames of Referencep. 304
Deficits in Nanotechnology Risk Governance Todayp. 306
Risk Appraisal for Nanotechnologyp. 308
Risk Management Strategies for Frame 1 and Frame 2p. 311
Risk Management Strategies for Stakeholder Participationp. 314
Risk Management Strategies for Risk Communicationp. 316
Risk Governance Strategies and the Potential Future Role for International Bodiesp. 319
Reception of the IRGC Risk Governance Framework for Nanotechnology: Feedback from an International Conferencep. 321
Framing the Debate on Potential Risks from Nanotechnology: Views on Frame 1 and Frame 2p. 321
Risk Management Recommendationsp. 322
Implementation of the Recommendations from the Frameworkp. 323
Risk Communicationp. 323
Non-First-World-Perspectivep. 324
Benefits of Nanotechnologyp. 324
Concluding Remarksp. 325
A Framework for Risk Governance: Lessons Learned
Lessons Learned: A Re-Assessment of the IRGC Framework on Risk Governancep. 331
Introductionp. 331
Conceptual Issuesp. 331
Underlying Concept of Risk in the IRGC Frameworkp. 331
Risk Governance: Defining Different Concepts and Levelsp. 334
Examining the Purpose and Scope of the IRGC Risk Governance Frameworkp. 336
Purposep. 336
Scopep. 338
Distinctions between Complexity, Uncertainty, and Ambiguityp. 342
The Structure and Content of the Overall Risk Governance Frameworkp. 347
Pre-Assessmentp. 347
Risk Appraisalp. 350
Characterising and Evaluating Risks: The Need for a Simpler Risk Evaluationp. 352
Risk Managementp. 354
Risk Communicationp. 355
Stakeholder Involvement and Public Participationp. 356
The Importance of Contextp. 359
Conclusionsp. 361
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781402067983
ISBN-10: 1402067984
Series: International Risk Governance Council Bookseries
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 370
Published: 5th November 2007
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.76