Report: Strategic policy to understand global catastrophic risk

From the report: How governments can better understand global catastrophic risk

As a first step in addressing global catastrophic risks (GCR), governments must take action to better understand GCR and implement structures and processes that enable decision-makers to be more informed about the risk. A better understanding of GCR includes understanding the set of threats and hazards, the vulnerabilities to GCR, pathways and scenarios of risk, and their factors and implications. 

Governments could take the following actions to improve their understanding of GCR.

Risk assessment: identify and analyze GCR holistically to sufficiently inform policies for prevention, preparedness and response.

  • Develop centralized all-hazard risk assessment process
  • Understand the country’s contribution to the manifestation of global catastrophic risk
  • Conduct a capability and resilience assessment

Futures analysis: improve practice and use of futures analysis, including horizon-scanning, forecasting and foresight activities, to alert policymakers to emerging threats and trends.

  • Increase and improve futures analysis through central unit or agency that leads regular foresight and horizon-scanning activities
  • Inject futures analysis into government policy-making processes

Intelligence and warning: improve intelligence and warning capability on extreme and global catastrophic risk to inform governments on threats and trends in the global landscape.

  • Devote specific resourcing towards analyzing and warning about existential threats and global catastrophes
  • Regularly publish intelligence products on issues relating to GCR
  • Establish GCR monitoring and warning system

Science and research: Increase government’s science and research capability on GCR so that policy solutions are supported by cutting-edge technical expertise.

  • Develop in-house science and research on GCR
  • Improve linkages between science and policy for GCR
  • Support academic research on extreme and global catastrophic risk