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p-Glossary

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Before the Great Depression of the 1930s, any downturn in economic activity was referred to as a depression. The word recession was subsequently used to differentiate periods like the 1930s from smaller economic declines that occurred in 1910 and 1913. This leads to the simple definition of a depression as a recession that lasts longer and has a greater decline in business activity. For many economists and others, there is no single clear definition of a recession. A good rule of thumb for determining the difference between a recession and a depression is to look at the changes in GDP. A depression is any economic downturn when real GDP declines by more than 10%. A recession is an economic downturn that is less severe. Many agree that a recession is widely understood as a decrease in GDP for two consecutive quarters. Some interpret recession as a decline in real GDP that is well below 10%.

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See also: Depression

Responsible Care is the worldwide chemical industry program for continuous improvement of safety, health, and environmental performance. It was started in Canada in 1984 and was adopted in the USA in late 1988 and in Western Europe and Australia in 1989/90. Today, Responsible Care is being implemented in 40 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region it is being implemented in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the Republic of China, Japan, and India.

Risk as a business concept denotes a potential negative impact on an asset or a business arising from current processes or any future event. In daily usage, risk is often used synonymously with the chances or probability of a loss. In professional risk assessments, risk combines the probability of an event occurring with the impact that the event would have and with its diverse resulting circumstances. While risk is often associated with avoidance of negative outcomes, in game theory or finance it can be a measure of variance of possible outcomes. It is easier to understand as insurance, where the purchaser buys insurance to reduce risk and is protected from potential loss that may result in the future.

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See also: Risk management

Risk management involves measuring and assessing risk and developing strategies to manage it. Strategies may include avoidance, transfer to another party, reducing possible negative effects, and accepting some or all of the consequences. Traditional risk management focuses on risks arising from physical or legal causes (e.g., natural disasters or fires, accidents, deaths, and lawsuits). The concept of risk is evolving rapidly, moving beyond the corporate management of liability and financial risk to an enhanced understanding of the impacts of less tangible risks, which can profoundly impact markets, corporate profitability, reputation, and brands.
Risk management helps create immediate value from the identification and reduction of risks that lower productivity. In risk management, a prioritization process is followed whereby the risks with the greatest loss and the greatest probability of occurrence are dealt with first, and risks with lower probability of occurrence and lower loss are handled later. Balancing between risks with a high probability of occurrence but lower loss and against a risk with high loss but lower probability of occurrence can be challenging to organizations.

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See also: Risk

Rural rapid appraisal (RRA) is a social science approach that emerged in the early 1980s. A multidisciplinary team employs simple, nonstandard methods and the knowledge of local people to elicit, analyze, and evaluate information and hypotheses on rural life and rural resources relevant for planning action. RRA techniques are an attractive alternative to conventional survey methods because they allow relatively rapid assessment of local knowledge, needs, and community potential with the aim of devising strategies to solve the problems identified.

Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) can be described as a family of approaches, methods, and behaviors enabling people to express and analyze the realities of their lives and conditions, plan for themselves which actions to take, and monitor and evaluate the results. Its methods have mainly evolved from RRA. The major difference is that PRA emphasizes processes that empower local people, whereas RRA is mainly seen as a means for outsiders to gather information. The outsiders act mainly as supporting facilitators, while the local people own and use the results of the study. This enables local communities to assume responsibility for implementing the activities based on such results. PRA methods are successful within the scope of programs that support participatory development cooperation.

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