, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 231–246

Coping with Complexity, Uncertainty and Ambiguity in Risk Governance: A Synthesis

  • Ortwin Renn
  • Andreas Klinke
  • Marjolein van Asselt

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-010-0134-0

Cite this article as:
Renn, O., Klinke, A. & van Asselt, M. AMBIO (2011) 40: 231. doi:10.1007/s13280-010-0134-0


The term governance describes the multitude of actors and processes that lead to collectively binding decisions. The term risk governance translates the core principles of governance to the context of risk-related policy making. We aim to delineate some basic lessons from the insights of the other articles in this special issue for our understanding of risk governance. Risk governance provides a conceptual as well as normative basis for how to cope with uncertain, complex and/or ambiguous risks. We propose to synthesize the breadth of the articles in this special issue by suggesting some changes to the risk governance framework proposed by the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) and adding some insights to its analytical and normative implications.


AmbiguityCommunicationComplexityRisk governanceScience–policy interfaceUncertainty

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ortwin Renn
    • 1
  • Andreas Klinke
    • 2
  • Marjolein van Asselt
    • 3
  1. 1.Department for Social Sciences VUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Domain of ETH)DuebendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Technology and Society StudiesMaastrichtThe Netherlands