Press release

ASRA Expands Team to Address Unprecedented Need for Systemic Risk Assessment and Response

27 July 2023: The Accelerator for Systemic Risk Assessment (ASRA) is pleased to announce the expansion of its team with the addition of Dr. Ajay Gambhir, Director of Systemic Risk Assessment, and Sarah Hendel-Blackford, Director of Systemic Risk Policy and Response. ASRA is a new initiative mobilizing a diverse network of risk professionals, including next-generation practitioners, to advance the field of systemic risk analysis and improve decision-making about current and future challenges.

The cascading impacts of climate change, COVID-19, drought, war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and other crises show how the challenges of addressing systemic risk go beyond conventional risk management and governance. The intensifying and volatile impacts of these multiple crises – the polycrisis – are also unfolding at a speed and scale that outstrips all prior predictions. ASRA aims to address the accelerating gap between the risks to which society and the environment are being exposed, and our capacity to deal with the consequences by advancing the field of systemic risk assessment and response. The expansion of ASRA's team signifies a crucial milestone in this mission. 

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ajay Gambhir and Sarah Hendel-Blackford to the ASRA team.

Prior to joining ASRA, Gambhir worked on climate change for 17 years, both at Imperial College London and in the UK Government, where he was one of the architects of the 2008 UK Climate Change Act, the world’s first national framework legislation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

At ASRA, Gambhir is responsible for directing the initiative’s approach to science, evidence and data, to risk assessment, and to the broader stakeholder landscape of systemic risk. 

As Director of Systemic Risk Policy and Response, Hendel-Blackford’s role will be critical to cultivating partnerships and cross-sectoral linkages, as well as surfacing the pragmatic solutions decision-makers, from parliamentarians to business and community leaders, need to respond to systemic risks, from prevention to preparedness. Her 20 years of experience in climate policy and legislation, as well as positions at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and EIT Climate-KIC, will be key to this role. 

"The addition of these individuals with deep experience and expertise to our team marks a significant step forward for ASRA," said Ruth Richardson, Executive Director, ASRA. "Their commitment to ASRA’s mission will bolster our capacity to build a collaborative network of practitioners and thought-leaders drawn from across continents, cultures, disciplines, genders, and generations who recognize how systemic risk assessment and response can not only prevent and manage crises but also enable transformative systems to emerge.” 

An initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation, today’s news builds on the momentum ASRA is gaining: from hosting a series of in-depth workshops with the emergent ASRA network to recent participation in a special session at the 23rd International Futures Conference. 

Keep up to date on ASRA’s updates: | @asranetwork 

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