The horrific terrorism attacks in Paris during the week of January 5th are a clear reminder to risk managers of the growth in risks which are intangible and hard to manage, according to FERMA President Julia Graham. Others that have come onto the scene in the last year are the conflict and sanctions related to Russia and the Ukraine, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
“The risks are rare events and almost impossible to manage specifically, so they tend to get put into the category of ‘too difficult’, but we must not ignore the potential for catastrophic risks like these. Although the same thing may never happen again, other events could be equally devastating and have long term consequences. Ebola, for example, is an epidemic. The possibility of an influenza pandemic remains, even though the last outbreak was ultimately less serious than feared. Our role needs to be one of helping our organisations identify vulnerabilities and build resilience to serious threats whatever they are,” says Julia.
FERMA joined AMRAE in expressing solidarity and condolences with the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on the magazine Charlie Hebdo and others. Other FERMA members have also experienced terrorism in their cities. “Freedom of opinion and expression are fundamental values which should be protected without fail and with the greatest determination,” states FERMA.
Gilbert Canameras, President of AMRAE, quotes the words the 18th century French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire: “Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai jusqu’à la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire.” (I do not agree with what you say but I shall fight to the death to retain your right to say it.)
Says Gilbert, “As President of AMRAE, in the name of the French community of risk managers, I thank very much all those throughout the world who sent us messages of sympathy during those terrible days of terror. Liberty to think and freedom to express our views are fundamental republican and democratic values, and we must protect them with the highest determination and without failure.
“Risk managers are aware and worried about the increase of terrorism risks, but this is a risk already integrated into companies’ policies. Many companies are used to working in countries where this risk is present, not only in the Middle East, but also in many other places. It is the role of risk managers to be aware of the strength of the security measures taken by companies and ensure they are appropriate for the level of threat.”