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Risk-informed development: From crisis to resilience

Source(s):  Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (SDC )
United Nations Development Programme - Headquarters (UNDP)

Despite increasing understanding of some complex risks among risk reduction practitioners, global commitments to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, development planning and programming still do not adequately consider or act upon these risks. Current approaches to global threat and risk management within development often look only at one threat at a time (usually a natural hazard), rather than acknowledging multiple, concurrent threats or emerging global threats. This does not constitute risk management, fails to understand emerging complex risks and ignores the role of development decisions and pathways in risk creation. It also fails to harness the potential benefits of sharing experience between different communities of policy and practice, and misses opportunities for coordinated implementation of development objectives that could deliver resilience to a wider range of threats and risks.

Growing awareness of these challenges is leading to calls by governments, the international development community and donors for an approach to development that takes account of these complex risks: that is, in other words, risk-informed. Most critically, risk-informed development is a risk-based decision process that enables understanding of multiple concurrent threats and complex risks to and arising from development decisions and acting on that knowledge. 

Risk-informed development allows for development to become a vehicle to reduce risk, avoid creating risks and build resilience. Only resilient development can become sustainable development; sustainable development initiatives will fail unless they are risk-informed. Risk, resilience and sustainability knowledge and actions need to go hand-in-hand. This publication analyses risk in a rapidly changing world, explores why development choices matter, examines complex and interconnected risks, discusses avenues for becoming and acting risk-informed and evaluates next steps for enabling risk-informed decision approaches for resilient and sustainable development.

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  • Risk-informed development: From crisis to resilience
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Opitz-Stapleton, Sarah et al.
  • Number of pages 51 p.

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