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How to Rank Programme Risks

Individually rank each risk identified according to its frequency/likelihood and its severity.
Enter information into white cells. Shaded cells will calculate automatically.

Step 1 Rank the frequency/likelihood of a given risk from 1 to 4 using these criteria:

4 = Very Likely - Almost certain to occur over the life of the project (or a 10 year period - whichever is shorter)
3 = Likely - Probably will occur during a 10-year period
2 = Unlikely - Probably will NOT occur during a 10-year period
1 = Very Unlikely - Almost certain NOT to occur during a 10-year period

Step 2 Rank the severity of a given risk from 1 to 4 using these criteria:

4 = Very High Would prevent goals and objectives from being achieved
3 = High Would cause significant problems or delays in objectives being achieved
2 = Medium Would cause relatively minor problems or delays in objectives being achieved
1 = Low Would probably not affect project implementation

Step 3 Compute the average frequency/likelihood and average severity ranking for each risk category.
The risk assessment tool will calculate and display these averages automatically.

Step 4 Add the average frequency/likelihood and severity ranking for each risk category.
The risk assessment tool will calculate and display these sums automatically.

Step 5 Determine whether each risk category is high, medium, or low according to the following thresholds:
6-8 High Risk (red) You should have a detailed mitigation action and perhaps consider modifying your goals and objectives
4-5 Medium Risk (yellow) You should have a clearly defined mitigation action
1-3 Low Risk (green) No mitigation action required (or a very basic action if you think it is necessary)

The risk assessment tool will determine and display whether each risk is high, medium or low automatically.
High risks categories will automatically turn cells red, medium risks will automatically turn yellow, and low risks will automatically turn green.

How to develop Risk Mitigation Actions

For risks that are essentially internal (e.g. Capacity, Leadership, Partners) you should focus on taking action to reduce the risk.
For risks that are external to the project (e.g. Political, Economic) your response will more likely be to develop contingency plans and monitor the risks.

Your overall risk mitigation strategy should be simple, clear and manageable with the resources available.
Input SPECIFIC risks that your team
Programme Risk Assessment Tool identifies when discussing questions
for consideration.

Risk Category/Questions for Consideration Identified Risks (Notes) Risk Likelihood Risk Severity Risk Ranking
1) Partner (non-government) 2 3 5
a) Has a full stakeholder analysis been Example: Programme does not 3 2
completed? (Step 1.4) know which partner organizations Likelihood of Risk Severity of Risk
Occurring
are critical to its success. 4 = Very High Would
(Note: Sample scores are filled in 4 = Very Likely Almost prevent goals and objectives
for 2 columns at right to certain to occur over the life of from being achieved
the project (or a 10 year
demonstrate how tool operates. period, whichever is shorter) 3 = High Would cause
Delete all contents of white cells in significant problems or delays
this column and 2 columns at right 3 = Likely Probably will in objectives being achieved
occur during a 10-year period
before using tool. Do not delete 2 = Medium Would cause
formulas in blue cells.) 2 = Unlikely Probably will relatively minor problems or
NOT occur during a 10-year delays in objectives being
period achieved

b) Are all of the necessary partners engaged in Example: Lack of engagement with 2 Almost
1 = Very Unlikely 3 probably
1 = Low Would
the process? indigenous group X. certain NOT to occur during a not affect project
10-year period implementation
c) Do the partners completely support the Example: Key partner Y does not 4 2
vision, goals and objectives of the programme? agree on long-term vision and goals.
(Steps 1.2 and 2.1)
d) Have strong governance structures or Example: Lack of strong 2 4
agreements been developed for partner governance structures and
involvement and interaction? (Step 3.4) agreements.
e) Is there a reliable process in place to resolve Etc 1 1
disagreements between partners?
f) Is the programme overly dependent on 1 or 2 1 4
key partners?
2) Political (including government partners) 3 2 5
a) Is the political situation stable in each 4 1
country or region that the programme spans?

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Input SPECIFIC risks that your team
identifies when discussing questions
for consideration.

Risk Category/Questions for Consideration Identified Risks (Notes) Risk Likelihood Risk Severity Risk Ranking
b) Do the governments or agencies involved 1 4
have competing agendas?
c) Do all political partners completely support Likelihood of4Risk Severity of Risk
1
Occurring
the vision, goals and objectives of this 4 = Very High Would
programme? (Steps 1.2 and 2.1) 4 = Very Likely Almost prevent goals and objectives
certain to occur over the life of from being achieved
d) Is there a reliable process in place to resolve the project (or1a 10 year 1
period, whichever is shorter) 3 = High Would cause
differences between governments or significant problems or delays
government agencies? 3 = Likely Probably will in objectives being achieved
occur during a 10-year period
3) Economic 3 2 = Medium3 Would cause 6
2 = Unlikely Probably will relatively minor problems or
a) Is the programme subject to inflationary risk 3 a 10-year
NOT occur during 3
delays in objectives being
in any country where activities or fundraising period achieved
takes place? 1 = Very Unlikely Almost 1 = Low Would probably
certain NOT to occur during a not affect project
b) Is the programme subject to foreign 10-year period
3 implementation
3
exchange risk in any country where activities or
fundraising takes place?
c) Is the programme subject to interest rate risk 3 3
in any country where borrowing or lending
takes place?
4) Infrastructure 2 2 4
a) Does the country or region have the 2 2
appropriate infrastructure to carry out and
support programme implementation?
b) Is there an appropriate management and/or 2 2
HR/recruitment structure in place that can be
leveraged to roll out the programme?
c) Is there an appropriate banking and financial 2 2
structure to distribute and control funding?

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Input SPECIFIC risks that your team
identifies when discussing questions
for consideration.

Risk Category/Questions for Consideration Identified Risks (Notes) Risk Likelihood Risk Severity Risk Ranking
d) Is the appropriate basic infrastructure 2 2
available for programme personnel (food,
transportation, and other basic services)? Likelihood of Risk Severity of Risk
Occurring
e) Is a basic communication infrastructure in 2 4 = Very High2 Would
place? 4 = Very Likely Almost prevent goals and objectives
certain to occur over the life of from being achieved
5) Technical the project (or1a 10 year 2 3
period, whichever is shorter) 3 = High Would cause
a) Is the scientific basis for this conservation 1 2
significant problems or delays
programme well understood? 3 = Likely Probably will in objectives being achieved
occur during a 10-year period
b) Is there a clear definition of programme 2 2 = Medium1 Would cause
2 = Unlikely Probably will relatively minor problems or
success in scientific terms? (Steps 1.3 and 2.1) NOT occur during a 10-year delays in objectives being
c) Is there agreement between partners on the period 1 achieved 2
targets, threats, and root causes or drivers of the 1 = Very Unlikely Almost 1 = Low Would probably
threats? (Steps 1.3 and 1.4) certain NOT to occur during a not affect project
10-year period implementation
6) Capacity 3 3 6
a) Has a realistic assessment been done to 3 3
quantify skills and systems capacity
requirements for all key activities? (Step 2.3)
b) Among your core team, are the technical, 3 3
management and leadership skills available to
fully implement the programme? (Step 2.3)
c) Are the necessary technical and management 3 3
skills available within other partners to
implement the programme? (Step 2.3)

d) Can the programme be implemented in the 3 3


timeline envisioned?
7) Financial 1 2 3

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Input SPECIFIC risks that your team
identifies when discussing questions
for consideration.

Risk Category/Questions for Consideration Identified Risks (Notes) Risk Likelihood Risk Severity Risk Ranking
a) Has a comprehensive financial model been 1 2
created that accurately reflects all costs for
activities and assesses any funding gaps? (Step Likelihood of Risk Severity of Risk
2.3) Occurring
4 = Very High Would
4 = Very Likely Almost prevent goals and objectives
b) What if funders/investors are not as interested 1
certain to occur over the life of
2
from being achieved
in funding the program as expected? the project (or a 10 year
period, whichever is shorter) 3 = High Would cause
c) Is funding significantly affected by the other 1 1
significant problems or delays
risks (political stability, partner disagreement, 3 = Likely Probably will in objectives being achieved
occur during a 10-year period
lack of infrastructure, etc)? 2 = Medium Would cause
2 = Unlikely Probably will relatively minor problems or
8) Leadership/Management 3 a 10-year
NOT occur during 2
delays in objectives being 5
a) Is there a working governance structure in period 1 achieved 4
place to manage the programme? (Step 3.4) 1 = Very Unlikely Almost 1 = Low Would probably
certain NOT to occur during a not affect project
b) Is there a strong leader in place that 10-year period
4 implementation
1
establishes clear accountability for the success
of the programme?
c) Are there clear indicators that can be used to 4 1
measure progress and success? (Steps 1.3 and
2.1)
9) Other 1 1 2
a) 1 1
b) 1 1
c) 1 1
10) Other 3 4 7
a) 2 4
b) 4 4
c) 4 4

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Programme Risk Summary & Mitigation Tool
Insert rows as required to add risks within a category or separate risk mitigation strategies assigned to multiple responsible parties.

Risk Category Risk Description Score Ranking Risk Mitigation Strategy Responsible Party

1) Partner (non-government) 5 M

2) Political (including 5 M
government partners)
3) Economic 6 H
4) Infrastructure 4 M
5) Technical 3 L
6) Capacity 6 H
7) Financial 3 L
8) Leadership/Management 5 M
9) Other 2 L
10) Other 7 H
Average Programme Ranking 5 M

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