Governments need a Chief Risk Officer

Global Challenges

Governments need a Chief Risk Officer


Source: Tagesspiegel (Berlin)



“  …
In order to combat such and similar risks to humanity in a timely and decisive manner, we need better risk management on the part of policymakers and more professional cooperation between governments and industry.

Because one thing is clear: In view of the new threats, it will not be enough to tighten a screw here or slide a board there.

We need to think faster and more radically – we need to anticipate risk and uncertainty.

This requires interdisciplinary, scientifically sound and long-term oriented action. This is difficult to sustain in the day-to-day political life of a legislative term.

That is why, in order to nevertheless establish risk management at the center of government action in a rapidly changing world, a government chief risk officer should be appointed.

He or she would assess risks to society as a whole with scientific help and, with the help of an interdisciplinary staff,
systematically record possible natural disasters, impending environmental damage,
health crises and the competitive consequences of technical progress – and work out solutions with the help of experts.

Such a staff under a Chief Risk Officer would be far superior to the new, hectically deployed ad hoc expert commissions.
In addition, a chief risk officer could prevent governments from simply ignoring the long-term consequences of action or inaction  …  ”

Translated with (free version)


Some of the consequences in DRR:

  • Innovations in DRR, including their comprehensive implementation on european, national, regional and local levels need all-of-society and high rank political consideration, especially when the huge deficits in DRR RISK information Management become so obvious to society as in the time of COVID Pandemic
  • “We need to think faster” is not just a science problem, it is a problem of overall participative governance, elaboration of strategies, specification of roadmap(s), and corresponding implementations, based on legal acts (on EU level: Directive(s), Regulation(s), as well as funding for Interoperability, e.g. Digital Europe Programme¹)
    Interoperability standards development needs to be discussed with respect to expected scenarios of applicability (standardizing “situations”/topic domains rather than single topics). Essential Information Management question (also of core interest to “those affected”) is “time-to-maturity”.
    We need objective comparison for the decision of adequate way forward comparing national/CEN/ISO standards development compared with very successful and operational effective open/FAIR standards development on legal/administrative basis (cf. INSPIRE Directive and EU4HEALTH Regulation)
  • “establish risk management at the center of government” needs to be complemented by a very active UN Sendai Framework National Platform that primarily has the task of bringing actors, stakeholders and society “those affected” together (I compare with an institution like the German Council for Susatinability² )
  • The complexity of the task still seems to be underestimated: While in many cases, civil protection still is seen in the scope of the UN HYOGO Framework of Action, the full scope of the UN SENDAI Framework is much more comprehensive, including man-made-hazards. In technical and administrative terms, Information Infrastructure thus needs to serve Safety as well as Security because of the large operational and information-related overlap.
    The Directorates General of the European Commission involved in DRR show such complexity:   see “Useful Links” section (in fact there may be even more units involved, e.g. Civil-Military Cooperation, “Oceans at Risk”)
  • Handling such information complexity is most of all a management challenge, not to be solved by science domains alone. The demands from all-of-society need adequate takeup from politics, administration, practitioners, humanitarian and technical NGOs, private sector and science to discuss potential ways of mid- and long-term action with regard to all phases (not only first aid) of disaster/risk domains of action
  • What do we need for reaching goals in 5, respectively in 10 years ? The Information Infrastructure regulations and concepts need to be designed on sustainable innovation principles that would be effective in 5 or 10 years. While even the state-of-the-art of applied informatics is not available in the domains under question, there is currnetly also not sufficient information infrastructure innovative principles R&D (e.g. application of innovative graph data structures, extending from semantics models to full semiotics models by using ProcessModelNotation, decision, action, workflow and complex analysis choreographies etc.)
    (cf. paper )
  • Competences and Capabilities needed for Information Infrastructure standardization: Since in the majority of cases public authorities / law enforcement agencies are in charge for operational implementation (core, or at least co-leading partner), active participation in standardization as well as in implementation and operational use of Information Infrastructure components, web services and decision support is in very urgent public interest.
  • To make sure that implementation and operation of Information Infratsructures are “binding” for those involved, there are legal acts necessary (on EU level Directive(s), Regulation(s) etc.) with consequences also to provide workpower, finances, training and sustainable long-term availability