The biggest threat to the stability of the world in the next ten years comes from the risk of international conflict, according to the 10th edition of the Global Risks report, which was published by the World Economic Forum in late January. The report, which annually features an assessment by experts of the top global risks in terms of likelihood and potential impact over the coming ten years, identifies interstate conflict with regional consequences as the number one global risk in terms of likelihood. In looking at global risks in terms of their potential impact, the nearly 900 experts that took part in the Global Risk Perception Survey rated water crises as the greatest risk facing the world.
The Report covers 28 global risks grouped into five categories – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological. It has become apparent that more environmental risks are among the top risks than economic ones. This comes as a result of a marked increase in experts’ negative assessment of existing preparations to cope with challenges such as extreme weather and climate change.
The top five global risks in terms of likelihood are: interstate conflict with regional consequences, extreme weather events; failure of national governance, state collapse or crisis and high structural unemployment or underemployment.
The top five global risks in terms of impact are: water crises, rapid and massive spread of infectious diseases, weapons of mass destruction, interstate conflict with regional consequences and failure of climate-change adaptation.
In addition to assessing the likelihood and potential impact of these 28 global risks, Global Risks 2015 examines the interconnections between risks, as well as how they interplay with trends shaping the short- to medium-term risk landscape. It also offers an analysis of three specific cases which emerge from the interconnections maps: the interplay between geopolitics and economics, the risks related to rapid and unplanned urbanisation in developing countries and the case of emerging technologies.
The Report consists of three parts. Part 1 explores the results of the Global Risks Perception Survey 2014. It explains the distinction between risks and trends, visualises the likelihood of interconnections between risks, and analyses the difference in risk perceptions over different time horizons.
Part 2 dives deep into three topics that emerged strongly from the interconnections between risks and trends: the interplay between geopolitics and economics, rapid urbanisation in developing countries, and emerging technologies.
Part 3 discusses risk management and risk resilience: it presents views of survey respondents on which risks have been addressed most successfully over the past ten years, and shares practices from the public and private sectors that offer ways forward to address global risks.
(World Economic Forum/sri)