Briefing Note on Systemic Risk

Opportunities for research, policy and practice from the perspective of climate, environmental and disaster risk science and management

Systemic risk is associated with cascading impacts that spread within and across systems and sectors (e.g. ecosystems, health, infrastructure and the food sector) via the movements of people, goods, capital and information within and across boundaries (e.g. regions, countries and continents). The spread of these impacts can lead to potentially existential consequences and system collapse across a range of time horizons.

This Briefing Note represents an integrated perspective of climate, environmental and disaster risk science and practice regarding systemic risk. It provides an overview of the concepts of systemic risk that have evolved over time and identifies commonalities across terminologies and perspectives associated with systemic risk used in different contexts.

Key attributes of systemic risk are outlined without prescribing a single definition, and information and data requirements that are essential for a better and more actionable understanding of the systemic nature of risk are discussed. Finally, the opportunities to connect research and policy for addressing systemic risk are highlighted, followed by recommendations for future work in science, policy and practice on systemic risk.

Systemic risk briefing note cover

Systemic Risk

Sillmann, J., Christensen, I., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Huang-Lachmann, J., Juhola, S., Kornhuber, K., Mahecha, M., Mechler, R., Reichstein, M., Ruane, A.C., Schweizer, P.-J. and Williams, S. 2022. ISC-UNDRR-RISK KAN Briefing note on systemic risk, Paris, France, International Science Council,

Read the press release.

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