Background & History

As the world is now living in a new and uncertain geological era, the Anthropocene, large scale disasters, which are caused by many known and unknown human and natural causes and exceed the current coping capacity of even the most capable socio-ecological systems, are increasingly threatening broad sustainability objectives adopted by UN in 2012.

To better govern global systemic risks, a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary community of natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, policy makers and other practitioners as well as educators from around the world is needed in order to deal with high degree of complex and inter-connected disaster chains.

The Integrated Risk Governance Project (IRG Project) was initiated by Chinese scientists in 2006, approved by IHDP in 2010 and officially launched in 2011 with a mission of “improving the management of new risks that exceed current human coping capacities, by focusing on the transitions in and out of the occurrence of relevant risks and by combining case study, modeling, and survey methods. Since its inception, IRG Project has been developed to support academic research community to share models, data sets, knowledge and open source technologies and coordinate training and educating for the global risk governance education community.

In early 2015, IRG Project successfully transferred as Future Earth’s core project. Under Future Earth’s framework, IRG Project identifies the following challenges, i.e., reducing the number of casualties as well as the impact on productive capacity in developing countries, dealing with new kind of global risks and overcoming the limitations of current economic analysis in the face of new systemic risk.

To successfully achieve the goal of identifying situations where opportunities for a sustainability transition can be created and realized precisely by facing the risks of global environmental change, IRG Project will focus on the tasks including: enhancing capability of managing conventional disaster risks available to more and more countries and people on earth and developing new ways of thinking and institutions of risk governance for new systemic risks of planetary relevance, pandemics, mass extinction of species, climate change, global financial breakdowns, etc., by engaging stakeholders, designing and developing research with them while helping them to solve practical problems.