Simon Maxwell

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Can we move from a risk framework to an opportunities framework in international development?, ODI Blog, October 2008

In thinking about the future of international development, under the rubric of our ‘What’s Next?’ theme, I’ve found it very useful to make use of risk management frameworks, like the global risks analysis pioneered by the World Economic Forum. An example of what they do is pasted in below, taken from the Global Risks 2008 Report. This charts 26 core global risks by likelihood and by severity of economic loss. An asset price collapse is in the top right-hand corner, seen as reasonably likely and very expensive. Extreme inland flooding is in the bottom left hand corner, seen as rather unlikely and somewhat less expensive. The Report was published in January 2008. I don’t know whether the WEF tracks the accuracy of its analysis, but this year has been marked by both an asset price collapse and severe inland flooding, both very expensive in money terms and in human misery. It is worth looking at some of the other risks in the table: pandemics, nanotechnology, transnational crime, war. Not all bad things have happened at the same time. Yet..............

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