Development and implementation of a global risk research agenda for 2030

The project aims to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda through support for interactions-based research and policy prioritization and programming at all levels of governance.

Covering man-made as well as natural hazards, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction expanded the scope of disaster risk reduction to biological, environmental, geological, hydrometeorological and technological hazards and calls for a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk reduction. This reflects the increasingly interconnected risk landscape of today, where hazards occur simultaneously, cascade or cumulate over time, and which demands much better understanding of the underlying interdependencies and amplification of hazards and vulnerabilities.

Global Risks Perceptions Initiative – 2021 report

The unprecedented disruptions emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn attention to the critical importance of global risks around the world. We know that global risks are increasingly complex, uncertain, systemic, and dynamic. To tackle global risks effectively, we need a stronger understanding of the likelihood, impact, and linkages between a wide range of risks.

The 2021 edition of the Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey, conducted in partnership between Future Earth, the International Science Council (ISC), and Sustainability in the Digital Age, is designed to complement the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Risks Report, which reports on the global risk perceptions of leaders from business, economics, and government. This survey will contribute to the discourse that has been shaped through the WEF’s important work with an international analysis of scientists’ perceptions of global risks.

The goal of this survey is to spark dialogue, identify knowledge gaps, and support the growth of a multi-sectoral scientific community working to better understand and provide solutions to global risks. This is a survey of scientists with, at minimum, a Masters degree or equivalent, and respondents will be asked about your experience and level of expertise in evaluating different types of risk. This information will be used to help assess the perceptions of scientists as a group, and the perception of experts on particular types of risk. 

The survey uses the WEF’s definition of global risk, which is “an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years”. Respondents will be invited to evaluate the likelihood and potential negative impact of the 35 global risks identified in the WEF Global Risks Report 2021, and to assess their interconnectedness and their potential for leading to a global systemic crisis.


Key milestones

✅ 17 – 30 May 2021: Open call for nominations to participate in the 2021 Future Earth – ISC Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey

✅ 13 December 2021: Launch webinar and publication of the Global Risks Perceptions Report 2021

Global Risks Perceptions Report 2021

A collaboration between Future Earth, Sustainability in the Digital Age, and the ISC

Launch webinar of the Global Risks Perceptions Report 2021

⬅ Watch the recording


Scientific Advisory Committee

  • Dr. Midori Aoyagi, Principal Researcher, Social and Environmental Systems Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
  • Prof. Melody Brown Burkins, Associate Director, The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding; Adjunct Professor, Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College, USA
  • Dr. Kalpana Chaudhari, Assistant Professor, Shah And Anchor Kutchhi Engineering College; Vice President, Institute for Sustainable Development and Research (ISDR), Mumbai, India
  • Prof. Terrence Forrester, Professor of Experimental Medicine, UWI Solutions for Developing Countries, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica 
  • Prof. Matthias Garschagen, Professor, Department of Geography, Human-Environment Relations, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
  • Dr. Paul Hudson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Prof. Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston; Director of Center for Governance and Sustainability and Director of the Global Environmental Governance Project, USA
  • Prof. Edward Maibach, University Professor, George Mason University; Director, Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, USA
  • Prof. Damon Matthews, Professor and Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Concordia University; Scientific Co-Director, Sustainability in the Digital Age, Canada
  • Anne-Sophie Stevance, Senior Science Officer, International Science Council, France
  • Dr. Sylvia Wood, Lead Scientist for Research and Development, Habitat, Canada

Future Earth & Sustainability in the Digital Age

  • Jennifer Garard
  • Seth Wynes

Global research agenda for systemic risk reduction and risk-informed development

UNDRR and the ISC requested the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk program (IRDR) to lead on the development of a global research agenda for systemic risk reduction and risk-informed development. The aim of this process was to identify knowledge and capacity gaps within the global scientific community and identify research priorities to guide impactful international disaster risk research, international scientific cooperation and research funding over the next 5-10 years.


Key milestones

✅ October 2020 – April 2021: Consultations with expert review group, indigenous scholars, and survey of stakeholders

✅ June 2021: IRDR conference presented the Science Framework

✅ November 2021: Publication of the report entitled A Framework for Global Science in support of Risk-informed Sustainable Development and Planetary Health

A Framework for Global Science

In Support of Risk-informed Sustainable Development and Planetary Health


Next steps

🟡 Discussion on a possible phase 2 of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme


You might also be interested in:

  • Achieving Risk Reduction Across Sendai, Paris And The SDGs, providing a crucial set of key messages for policy-makers based on the synergies between the major global agreements of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda with specific reference to systemic and cascading risks
  • Disaster Loss Data In Monitoring The Implementation Of The Sendai Framework – listing seven key policy recommendations, from improving partnerships between intragovernment agencies, academic, private sector, NGOs and insurance authorities to ensuring standardized disaster loss data quantification is adequately able to identify gaps in risk assessment.


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