Lorentz Center - Multilateral Governance of Technological Risk from 22 May 2017 through 24 May 2017
  Current Workshop  |   Overview   Back  |   Home   |   Search   |     

    Multilateral Governance of Technological Risk
    from 22 May 2017 through 24 May 2017


Description and Aim


Various existing and emerging technologies create risks that are not confined by national borders. While they add to the institutional complexity of the global system, they also contribute to the emergence of new forms and practices of governance. New forms of risk governance have been developed that go beyond the nation-state. The need for multilateral governance of risk does not only arise when consequences of technological risks are cross-boundary (such as in a nuclear accident) but also when the risk itself is created internationally; think of civil aviation or the use of GMO in agriculture. Yet in other situations, multilateral collaborations are indispensable for managing or reducing certain risks (such as in water pollutions). In conceptualizing multilateral risk governance, we aim to shed light on the differences between different types of transboundary risks, their associated uncertainties and the required regulatory responses at the international and national level. Since the multilateral regime often determine the scope of national regulatory responses, it is highly important to understand the multitude of different multilateral regimes, their usefulness for each type of risk as well as their effectiveness and limitations.


Addressing such complex international and multi-level governance of technological risk requires the engagement of different disciplines in articulating and tackling the underlying ontological, epistemological, methodological and ethical dimensions. This project brings together scholars from sociology, philosophy and ethics, Science and Technology Studies, anthropology, history, law, political science as well as the engineering sciences. We will inquire and compare the key challenges for multilateral governance that stem from existing, expanding and emerging large-scale technological systems. What are the major political, technological, economic and environmental challenges to global or multilateral governance of technological risk? What are the new theoretical approaches for multilateral institutional cooperation for risk governance?


We aim to contribute to a new (academic) research agenda for multilateral risk governance, while helping steer policy-making in the direction of the new challenges. With an interdisciplinary group of scholars we wish to focus on the following questions:

1.       What are the key questions and challenges of multilateral risk governance in your own field of research, and when you consider other (adjacent) fields? (synergy)

2.       Where should we be headed in the next ten years? (academic prospects)

3.       What can the world of policy-making learn from the academic insights, when it comes to new challenges of multilateral risk governance? (societal prospects)