Risk governance

All change entails risks, but the potential for harm is often tightly intertwined with potential benefits and opportunities. Risk governance allows societies to benefit from change—helping to create the necessary conditions for innovation to take place—while minimising the negative consequences of any associated risks. The governance of global, systemic risks is a particular challenge, requiring cohesion between countries and the inclusion and collaboration of government, industry, academia and civil society.

At the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC), we take a pragmatic, problem-driven approach and therefore adapt our definitions if this is necessary to respond to the specificities of particular risks, domains or activities. We define some of the key concepts in this area as follows:

Risk: the uncertain consequences of an activity or event with respect to something that humans value.

Governance: the actions, processes, traditions and institutions by which authority is exercised and decisions are taken and implemented.

Risk governance: the application of governance principles to the identification, assessment, management and communication of risks.

These concepts provide the foundation for IRGC’s work, which involves developing frameworks and guidelines and adapting them to help respond to particular policy challenges. Read more about the full range of our activities on the rest of our website. Some of our key publications are highlighted in the list below.

The IRGC Risk Governance Framework

Risk governance deficits

Governance of emerging risks

Governance of systemic risks

Risk regulation