During the week of 30 June – 5 July, the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery organized the Understanding Risk Forum (URF) in London. My overall impression from the event was very positive. It presented new insights, interesting speakers, and a high professional level of participants.

The Forum attracted leading experts, research centers, universities, national policy-makers, international development and humanitarian organizations, and private sector representatives from across the globe.

Should we invest in understanding and managing threats and opportunities beforehand or simply respond to shocks resulting from unmanaged risks afterwards? To me, and luckily many others working in development, this is a rhetorical question.

This dilemma has confronted development cooperation for decades and it was also the primary focus of a recent discussion on risk management for development, hosted by the international development organization, Cordaid, together with the World Bank.  As CEO of Cordaid, Simone Filippini, said during the discussion in The Hague on 11 February 2014 “… being risk averse is sometimes more expensive than taking risks.”

In any situation, there is a chance you might lose and a chance you might win. We start a new blog on management of risks, within and beyond development cooperation.

Dear reader,

We are starting a regular blog fully dedicated to the management of the risks we face in different aspects of our life. Why is this important? Simply, because we ALL have to deal with risks. Those who are better at avoiding threats and at seizing opportunities are more successful at achieving their objectives. In less fortunate situations we have a tendency to blame all sorts of factors: the changing economic or political context, the lack of capacities of different stakeholders, changing climate, and many others. But the truth is, in any situation, there is a chance you might lose and a chance you might win.

A variety of uncertainties are challenging development interventions on a daily basis. The necessity and demand for increased effectiveness and efficiency of these interventions is greater than ever. This article argues that the success of development interventions depends to a large extent on the ability of development organisations to face uncertainties and manage risks.


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