Risk communication

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Risk communication is the interactive process of exchanging information and opinions on risk among risk assessors, risk managers, and other interested parties.[1]


Risk communication is an integral part of risk assessment, risk analyses, and risk response activities. Interested parties include government agencies, corporations and industry groups, unions, media, scientists, professional organizations, public interest groups, and individual citizens when relevant [2] Effective risk communication, sensitization and adequate risk management may help to correct negative effects from public risk (mis-)perception and hazard over- or underestimation, which is also essential for the legitimacy of urban planning. Effectiveness of risk management is greatly enhanced when societal risk perception and views are included in risk communication strategies if the general public is effected [3].

Approaches how to address it

General considerations:

  • To be effective, risk communication should be planned and implemented systematically, based on an overall risk communication strategy. Decisions on risk communication include "What?", "Whom?" and "How?".
  • Cooperate with stakeholders (e.g. government agencies, corporations, organizations, public media etc.) to elaborate comprehensive risk communication strategies.
  • Consider risk communication as an integral part of project planning and the whole planning and development procedure.

If the general public is concerend or effected by an incident:

  • Involve public interest groups and representatives of the public from the beginning; in the planning phase as well as in the development phase of projects.
  • Inform public interest groups, representatives of the public, and citizens on risks of planned objects before construction.
  • Use citizen participation methods to involve citizens in the planning procedure, in particular local open dialogue methods and planning for real.
  • A foundation for optimizing public risk communication in addressing citizens’ felt risks to urban infrastructure and their needs to protect that infrastructure.

Related subjects and further information

Footnotes and references

  1. WHO (2012): Food safety. Risk communication. Retrieved from: URL: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/riskcommunication/en/ [2012-10-17].
  2. Renn O. (1991): Risk communication and the social amplification of risk. In: Kasperson R.E. , Stallen P.l .M. (eds.), Communicating the Pu.blic. 287-324. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  3. OECD: OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies. Future Global Shocks. Improving Risk Governance. Preliminary Version. OECD Publishing, 2011. Online: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/24/36/48256382.pdf.