Future Global Shocks - OECD.org

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Future Global Shocks IMPROVING RISK GOVERNANCE Recent global shocks, such as the 2008 financial crisis, have driven policy makers and industry strategists to re-examine how to prepare for and respond to such events in the future, whether they arise in financial, natural, public health or even political systems. Global leaders are acutely aware that another systemic shock could severely challenge economic recovery, social cohesion and even political stability. Visible indicators of vulnerability persist in the forms of economic imbalances, volatile commodity prices and currencies, colossal public debts and severe budget deficits. Less visible than these metrics are the drivers of vulnerability that tightly weave interconnections between commercial supply chains, technological systems and investment vehicles underlying the global economy. Unanticipated events such as natural disasters, failures in key technical systems or malicious attacks could disrupt these complex systems and produce shocks that propagate around the world. There is a palpable sense of urgency to identify and assess risks arising from vulnerabilities in these crucial systems, and to develop policies that will bolster efforts for prevention, early warning and response to ensure sustained economic prosperity. The present report responds to this urgency with strategic advice on preparing for and responding to potential global shocks mired in uncertainties. Chapter 1. Definition and drivers of future global shocks Chapter 2. Risk assessments for future global shocks Chapter 3. Tools to prepare for future global shocks Chapter 4. Emergency management of future global shocks Chapter 5. Strategic approaches for managing future global shocks In the same series

ISBN 978-94-09520-5 42 2011 09 1 P




Étude de l’OCDE sur la gestion des risques d’inondation, Bassin de la Loire, France (2010) OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Italy, Review of the Italian National Civil Protection System (2010) OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Japan, Large-Scale Floods and Earthquakes (2009) OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Sweden, The Safety of Older People (2007) OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Norway (2006) Large Scale Disasters, Lessons Learned (2004) Emerging Risks in the 21st Century: An Agenda for Action (2003)

OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies

Future Global Shocks


OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies

OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies


Foreword – 3

Foreword The International Futures Programme’s project on “Future Global Shocks” originated in 2009 with a series of consultations among partners focusing on follow-up work to the decade-long research into risk management. The awareness of risk management in government and the private sector has risen dramatically in recent years. Large-scale disasters have been recognised as challenges to public policy, usually at the national or regional level. The concept of “global shocks” takes account of a different pattern of risk: cascading risks that become active threats as they spread across global systems, whether these arise in health, climate, social or financial systems. Little work has been done on risks present in large-scale system interdependencies and the propagation of risks across global systems. Among the more important findings of this work for public policy is recognition that surveillance has now emerged as a key component in risk assessment and management. New knowledge management tools, modelling and data arrays provide unprecedented opportunities for anticipating some important global threats, and are increasingly sought by public policy managers worldwide. Secondly, there is a heightened role for security agencies in collaboration with regulatory agencies to use, adapt and implement risk-as