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Trends in Risk Communication Policies and Practices

image of Trends in Risk Communication Policies and Practices

Good risk communication is crucial for raising awareness among citizens and business about the risks their countries face. However, many countries have seen their risk communication tools fail in the past, leading to persistently low levels of risk awareness, especially in the absence of recent disasters. This OECD report surveys current trends in risk communication policies and practices across OECD and partner countries. It seeks to understand why risk communication tools have failed and what OECD countries can do to improve the effectiveness of their risk communication policies. Based on an OECD-wide survey, the report evaluates the degree to which countries have used  risk communication tools to not only increase risk awareness, but to inform stakeholders about potential preparedness and prevention measures they can take to boost their resilience to future risks.

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Risk communication: Theory, policy and practice

This chapter introduces the concept and objectives of effective risk communication. It distinguishes between the traditional focus of emergency or crisis communication and the more comprehensive risk communication approach, which uses risk communication before an event to strengthen prevention and mitigation efforts. While a significant amount of evaluations have been done on the effectiveness of crisis communication, much less work has been carried out on the use of risk communication to strengthen risk prevention and mitigation. The chapter provides an overview of the two policy frameworks this report is based on, the EU Council Conclusions on an Integrated Approach to more Effective Risk, Emergency and Crisis Communication and the OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Critical Risks. Finally, it presents the risk communication framework established to inform the design of an OECD survey instrument to assess countries’ risk communication policies and practices.

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