Round table PRIMO Europe Amsterdam

Within the frame of the Risk Survey 2009 of PRIMO Europe the roundtable has been organised to discuss the common “playground” of public risks for public organisations, universities and companies. We discussed the state of “the art” of Risk Management. This in the middle of the current crises we face. The round table was divided in two themes: society & safety and infrastructure. Main questions were: What do you consider large risks in our society right now? What is the art of risk management? How should we manage these risks and what should be the highlights for the upcoming year? Cyber crime, the pandemic flu, the credit crisis and climate change were identified as current important risks. Participants spoke about the miscommunication between politicians and other levels. “On a lower level people know what to do, but on a higher level people decide to do something else” said Peter Boorsma, professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The North South line is a good example of risk management of infrastructural projects. Amsterdam is midway through this construction project. There are huge problems. Bert Roelofs, Chairman of RISNET, pointed out that this project also is not an engineering problem, but a political and managerial problem right from the beginning. The participants stressed that there is a huge need to really consider the post impact of risks, the “what if” scenario. “You have to think about worst-case

scenarios and let the contractors respond to it. Worst-case scenarios often have to be realistic. This is  paradox, because when you think of realistic scenarios you will practise what you already know and what you already can do, because it is realistic. So you have to go through unrealistic scenarios even though that doesn’t make any sense”, said Professor of International Emergency Management Eelco Dykstra, project manager of the Katrina project.