Developing hedging strategies for the unexpected

Planning for unforeseeable contingencies
Developing strategic resilience in response to recurrent societal turbulence
One of the major challenges to policy makers concerned with sustainable development is how to cope with surprises and discontinuities, whether favourable or adverse, and how to develop contingency plans or "hedging" strategies that take into account not just the probable trends, but also the unexpected. Recent examples of surprises include the discovery of the Antarctic "ozone hole", the catastrophic accidents at Chernobyl and Bhopal, the dramatic spread of the AIDS epidemic worldwide, or the scientific discoveries leading to the rapid development of biotechnology. Such surprises often produce a huge societal response and rapid shifts in science and technology priorities. None of these events are foreseeable, especially as to their timing relative to many other political or technological developments.
Proposed development strategies or technology options must be assessed not only with respect to their expected benefits, costs and risks under existing trends but also with respect to their sensitivity to unanticipated events, both favourable and unfavourable.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal