Chatham House Report

Author: 

Bernice Lee and Felix Preston, with Gemma Green

  • The frequency of high-impact, low-probability (HILP) events in the last decade such as Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the nuclear crisis and tsunami in Japan, signals the emergence of a new 'normal' – the beginning of a crisis trend.
     
  • This report argues that governments and businesses remain insufficiently prepared to manage HILP crises and shoulder their economic, social and humanitarian consequences.
     
  • The report sets out the economic costs of HILP events and how the impacts of a shock spread across sectors and countries in today's globalized world. 
     
  • The report explores two critical dimensions of the decision-making environment during a crisis – omnipresent questions of scientific and technological uncertainty, and the competing economic and political interests of key stakeholders. 
     
  • Effective messaging and communications have never been more important in the management of high-impact events. The report draws on systemic analysis of social media to understand how the public discourse is shaped; highlights the window of opportunity to influence media messaging; and draws lessons for how the media should handle scientific uncertainties.

Podcast

Listen to Bernice Lee introduce the report in this podcast:

High-Impact Low-Probability Events
2:33 | Download Podcast