The 2nd International Workshop on Risk Governance of the Maritime Global Critical Infrastructure was held in Kyoto in November 2010

The 2nd International Workshop on Risk Governance of Maritime Global Critical Infrastructure co-organized by the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) and Kyoto University was held in Kyoto on 5-6 November 2010. The workshop built upon the work carried out during a 1st Workshop, also held in Kyoto in 2009. The workshops provided a neutral platform for global multi-stakeholder dialogue on the risk governance of maritime global critical infrastructure (MGCI) using the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (hereafter referred to as the Straits) as a case study. The straits of Malacca and Singapore are not only the most important artery in worldwide trade and the major driver of the economy of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore but also a passage of strategic importance and an area of prime ecological interest. As such they constitute a prime example of a maritime global critical infrastructure. Although the straits dispose of a rather complete set of technologies and processes to ensure undisrupted navigation, notably through traffic separation, the geographical constraints of the deep sea channels, the proximity to critical land infrastructure and economic activity give the straits a significant vulnerability to hazards of natural, technical, human or malicious origin.

The two workshops were attended by participants from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, China, India, Canada, and the European Union. Key stakeholders who participated shared their knowledge and concerns from the perspectives of the littoral states (along the Straits), user states, port authorities, and shipping, logistics and insurance companies. The first workshop used the IRGC Risk Governance Framework [IRGC, 2005, 2008] to structure discussions and to identify risk governance issues in the Straits. The second workshop focused analysis on specific scenarios of high impact events that have never been experienced in the Straits of Malacca but are real concerns for all stakeholders to identify risk governance deficits and recommendations.

A scenario-based approach was used and allowed stakeholders to imagine events that would lead to some worst-case outcomes. The scenario development was grounded by expert knowledge and where possible, supported by evidence from current and reputable data sources to ensure that concerns were based as much as possible on factual information. Participants performed an initial impact assessment to evaluate the existing mechanisms in terms of resiliency and coping capacity in responding to events in the imagined scenarios. This assessment exposed risk governance deficits as defined within IRGC’s risk governance framework [IRGC, 2009, 2010].

The scenario-based analyses demonstrated that beyond traditional incidents (e.g. simple collision or sinking) significant unexplored threats and risk cascades, affecting both sea and land, gain from being explored. Given the systems of systems nature of the straits and the multiple stakeholders – from local level to regional straits countries, consideration of a wider scope including the user countries and global – as well as the private sector, international organisations and the population, the scenarios have revealed potential risk governance deficits, in insufficient awareness to new threats, potential lack of early warning, the unequal organisational capacity and the difficulty of dealing with dispersed responsibilities among stakeholders with diverging interests, to cite only a few. There are numerous existing measures such as the Cooperative Mechanism that have proven effective in preventing and mitigating hazards in the straits, notably in the cases of piracy or oil spills. However, some need to be strengthened, particularly, because not all scenarios and new emerging risks are covered, which leads to some major recommendations. Their implementation does not necessarily require the creation of new institutions, but could build on the existing frameworks and organizations. These include:

1) Extend the scope of the existing emergency response system from oil spills to an all hazard approach, with the definition of processes and command chains, including an appropriate joint emergency operations centre performing regular exercises.

2) Develop standard methodologies, tools and procedures for risk assessment of maritime infrastructure and operations, that start with all possible triggering events, notably in terms of security (i.e. man-made attacks, including cyber-security), based on generally accepted frameworks.

3) Put in place a contingency plan in case of closure of the straits, including alternative routes (navigational charts, navigation aids, …)

4) Conduct a comprehensive joint risk governance assessment of the environmental impact of the navigation in the straits with the aim of verifying the appropriateness, consistency and sufficiency of existing policies and their implementation.

5) All these efforts could benefit from an observatory, embedded within some existing institution or potentially the emergency operations centre suggested above, that would act as a neutral platform collecting and evaluating data into an impartial knowledge system and providing advice as a think tank.


The 2nd Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM2011) was successfully held at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, USA, on 14-16 July 2011. The theme of the conference was “Reframing Disasters and Reflecting on Risk Governance Deficits.” More than 100 participants attended the event including several well-known national and international speakers including Kathleen Tierney, Director of the Natural Hazards Center in Boulder, CO, USA; Detlof von Winterfeldt, Director, IIASA, Austria; James Featherstone, Director of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department; and George Apostolakis from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Prof. Adam Rose from USC and Profs. Norio Okada and Hirokazu Tatano from the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) of Kyoto University were co-organizing this important event.
Among the conference topics, there were two specials sessions on the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan of 11 March 2011. Other topics covered included post-disaster reconstruction and recovery; resilience as an approach to integrated disaster risk management; megacities and disasters; critical infrastructure vulnerability; climate change adaptation, linking climate change and weather-related disasters; conjoint natural and technological (Natech) disasters; social vulnerability and socio-economic strategies for disaster risk reduction; I; information management and sharing in disaster contexts; the future and limitations of catastrophe models; and among others.
Every year, the IDRiM conference hosts a special “young scientists research session”. This year’s young scientist sessions included both oral and poster presentations.

IDRiM Journal

A Special IDRiM Journal Issue of the IDRiM 2013 Conference will be published in 2014 based on papers presented at the conference.

Call for abstracts

Abstracts should be submitted as a word file via to

Important Dates
Abstract deadline: 15 July 2010 (extended)
Early registration deadline: 31 July 2010
Notification of abstract acceptance: 21 July 2010

IDRiM 2010 – Tenth Annual Conference on Integrated Disaster Risk Management: Sharing IDRiM experiences under different socio-economic and cultural contexts will take place at BOKU University, in Vienna, Austria from 1-4 September 2010.

The conference is being co-organized by
BOKU University
the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) of Kyoto University
and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

The conference will be held at BOKU (18th district), Vienna, Austria

Call for abstracts
Abstracts of 250-300 words in the following topics on Integrated Disaster Risk Management are encouraged:

  • Disaster risk assessment
  • Concern assessment and participatory disaster risk management
  • Stakeholder involvement and communication
  • Disaster vulnerability assessment
  • Disaster prevention and mitigation
  • Disaster recovery and reconstruction
  • Enhancing resilience
  • Business continuity
  • Institutional/ organizational arrangements
  • Risk governance
  • Policy for integrated disaster risk management
  • Financing risk (e.g., catastrophe insurance)
  • Economics and cost/benefit analysis
  • Natural hazards, made-made hazards and multi-hazards
  • Flood protection
  • Earthquake risk management
  • Natechs
  • Climate change
  • Disaster reduction hyperbase (DRH)
  • Lessons learned from extreme events (e.g., volcanic ash cloud, oil spill in Gulf of Mexico)

Abstracts should be submitted as a word file via to

Important Dates
Abstract deadline: 15 July 2010 (extended)
Early registration deadline: 31 July 2010
Notification of abstract acceptance: 21 July 2010