Risk-Informed Development




Risk-Informed Development

May 28, 2019

Over the past decade, important progress has been made on poverty reduction, disease control and access to healthcare, education and services. However, these gains are fragile, and are undermined by new and emerging threats, including climate change, economic and financial instability, antibiotic resistance, transnational criminal networks and terrorism, cyber fragility, geopolitical volatility and conflict. These threats are interconnected, they cross national borders and they are occurring simultaneously.

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 risk-informed. Risk-informed development is a risk-based decision process that enables development to become more sustainable and resilient. It pushes development decision-makers to understand and acknowledge that all development choices involve the creation of uncertain risks, as well as opportunities.

This report highlights the need for:

  • a move away from single hazard risk analysis to an explicit acknowledgement of the interactions between multiple threats, including economic and financial instability, geopolitical volatility, natural hazards and climate change;
  • systematic assessments of complex threats and risks, opportunities, uncertainties, risk tolerances, perceptions and options to ensure that development is sustainable and  resilient;
  • identifying who has responsibility to act upon risk management, with what resources, by when and how those actions are to be monitored;
  • analysis of the potential trade-offs of development policies and investment actions, including social and environmental impacts, feasibility and cultural and ethical outcomes;
  • the provision to policy-makers of a robust evidence base around the role that unsustainable development plays in creating risk;
  • understanding and acknowledging that all development and investment choices involve trade-offs.