Expert Workshop on Public Sector Governance of Emerging Risks

Expert Workshop on Public Sector Governance of Emerging Risks

IRGC organised an expert workshop on 17th and 18th of September 2012, in Lausanne, inviting authors of case studies, representatives from governments, as well as a few external experts, to discuss on possible guidelines for how to improve risk management of emerging issues by governments and public sector agencies. 


The overall expectation from government representatives participating in this project is to analyse real-life experiences and understand what are the hallmarks and drivers that make the difference between risk governance approaches. Based on an analysis of 8  key pointsfor enhancing the capacity of existing ‘risk management framework’(which were discussed at a scoping meeting in March 2012), the project aims to guide decision-makers (at the level of deputy heads of departments) on how to improve their ‘pro-active’ anticipation of and early response to uncertainty and emerging issues.

Papers (‘case studies’) on six emerging risks (or issues of concern) were made available to participants, with the purpose to highlight, in specific cases, elements of success and failures of risk management, in order to delineate future strategies. Besides the governance regimes, they specifically look at behaviors, incentives and interactions on a cross-organisational basis, which can lead to effective or failed risk management.

A background document has been prepared by Piet Sellke, University of Stuttgart, and IRGC Secretariat,  as a comparative analysis along the 8 points mentioned above.

Workshop agenda and presentation

  • Welcomeby Marie-Valentine Florin, Managing Director IRGC
  • Discussion facilitatedby  Michel Maila, Migem Consulting and IRGC Board Member & Ortwin Renn, University of Stuttgart and Member of IRGC’s Scientific and Technical Council

Questions and answers with authors of the case-studies – possible transferable lessons to other sectors- Illustration of the ‘8 points’

Panel discussion with external experts

  • Simon Pollard (pdf presentation), Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Cranfield University
  • Mathieu Trépanier, Tsquared Consulting Partners Inc.
  • Marc Saner, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa
  • Leena Ilmola, IIASA
  • Pierre-Alain Schieb, OECD International Futures Programm
  • Wändi Bruine de Bruin (pdf presentation), Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School & Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Alex Wittenberg, Oliver Wyman

Discussion with representatives of participating countries

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Singapore


The workshop report for this project is available here:

Public Sector Governance of Emerging Risks: Hallmarks and drivers (Workshop report), IRGC 2013 [PDF]


Feedback from Workshop Participants

“I would like to thank you for organising such a thought provoking and valuable event. I look forward to the follow up work and we are already considering how best to incorporate the issues discussed over the two days into UK central government risk management practice. I look forward to working with you in the future.” – Steve Treece, HM Treasury, United Kingdom

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