Risk Characterization and Quantification: An Operational Perspective on Concepts, Needs and Opportunities for the Developing World

Gerhardus Schultink


Objective, comparative risk assessment is an essential requirement in strategic policy formulation that seeks to address cost-effective risk reduction and mitigation strategies. This paper offers a conceptual framework and risk assessment approach to integrate the bio-physical and socio-economic considerations and complexities from a spatial and temporal perspective, with emphasis on the developing world. It is suggested that this framework is not only useful in the identification of relative risk scenarios given principal public policy and quality-of-life concerns such as food security and safety, or environmental impacts and associated health risks, but also can be used to communicate long-term risk factors, and identify effective risk prevention and mitigation strategies. As such, major relative needs and intervention opportunities are identified associated with principal risk themes. With emphasis on the developing world, they include: food security and health impacts exacerbated by global warming; the need for generating local energy and the potential use of biomass as a supplemental and safer energy source in food preparation using clean combustion; the need to reduce environmental impacts and associated health risks in resource extraction; and the need to preserve biodiversity and environmental capital to promote eco-tourism and sustainable economic development, and preserve both genetic diversity and medicinal potential.


Comparative Risk, Vulnerability, Risk Quantification, Risk Mitigation, Policy Formulation

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