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  • IRGC 2011 annual event on risk governance Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
    International Risk Governance Council

    Date: 03 Nov 2011
    Country: Switzerland
    City/State: Lausanne

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IRGC 2011 annual event on risk governance

MAIN ORGANIZER(S): International Risk Governance Council

MAIN HOST(S): Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Type: Meeting or Conference Date: 03 Nov 2011 Location: Switzerland (Lausanne) Venue: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

As part of its Annual Event on 3 November 2011, IRGC is convening a selected number of experts and practitioners for two parallel roundtable discussions hosted at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). A public conference will also take place.

Roundtable 1: The anticipation of and early response to emerging risks

One of IRGC’s missions is to help organisations in the public or private sectors to improve their anticipation of emerging risks. In a context of globalisation and systemic risks, this proves to be a challenge to many. IRGC’s assumption is that new or emerging risks are not the same for all organisations. The context and the culture in which an organisation operates will determine to a large extent the risks that may affect it.

IRGC is conducting a project on emerging risks that takes place in two phases. Phase 1 focused on how and why risks emerge. It was concluded with the publication of a report on “Contributing Factors to Risk Emergence”. Phase 2 is starting now. Its purpose is to develop practical guidelines for practitioners in business and the public sector, helping them improve their own capabilities to understand, anticipate and respond to emerging risks.

The roundtable will be a dialogue between scientists and practitioners on some of the issues raised in this project.

1. Presentation of IRGC’s concept of ‘contributing factors’ to risk emergence
2. Insights on specific aspects of emerging risk management
3. How to provide guidance to pactitioners on emerging risk management

Roundtable 2: How to provide more consistent science and technology advice in support of risk governance and sustainable innovation.

- How can we improve the provision of more consistent science and technology advice in support of risk governance and sustainable innovation?

- Managing the crucial relationship between technological innovation, risk governance and public acceptability

Today’s risk governance in fields related to or involving science and technology requires:

- Enabling of scientific and technological developments, for the benefits that they can bring to society;
- Regulation, to mitigate the potential attendant risks;
- Social acceptability, implying a good collaboration between science and society;
- Building effective bridges between these three components.

The roundtable will be a dialogue between scientists and practitioners on some of the issues that are involved in the provision of Science and Technology advice for policy, innovation and risk governance.

Expert contributions will be organised along two themes:

- Theme 1: Institutions for technically-based risk and policy analysis: an overview of the situation in the US, in Europe and in Asia (India and China)
- Theme 2: Public and private regulation and incentives

Public conference

It appears from the March 2011 Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident in Japan and based on the many indirect and often far reaching consequences in other countries that:

- Capabilities for adaptive risk assessment to deal with large scale industrial accidents (for example those involving large releases of nuclear materials) need to be improved
- Decision-makers should be better able to understand and manage public risk perception
- Risk communication in situations of high uncertainty and emergency should be improved

The main topic of this conference is: lessons learned from past accidents. For example, following the core meltdown at one of the reactors at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power station and the industrial accidents that occurred at chemical and pesticide plants in Seveso and Bhopal, risk managers made major progress in improving safety and risk governance. The TMI accident resulted in the creation of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) which has dramatically improved US nuclear power operations and safety. Bhopal and Seveso led to a wide range of changes and improvements in the chemical industry including the creation of the ICCA Responsible Care Initiative.

Following some key note presentations, a panel of experts and practitioners from Europe, the US and Asia will be invited to discuss on how we have learned from and built better risk governance institutions and processes in the wake of past disasters, with a view to elaborate recommendations for improving safety, communication and overall risk governance of highly risky industrial activities.

Event website:,298-.html

Target Audience

Academics, government and private sector representatives