"The short-term risk landscape is dominated by energy, food, debt and disasters. Those that are already the most vulnerable are suffering - and in the face of multiple crises, those who qualify as vulnerable are rapidly expanding, in rich and poor countries alike. In this already toxic mix of known and rising global risks, a new shock event, from a new military conflict to a new virus, could become unmanageable. Climate and human development therefore must be at the core of concerns of global leaders to boost resilience against future shocks," said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
The report, produced in partnership with Marsh McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, draws on the views of over 1,200 global risk experts, policy-makers and industry leaders. Across three timeframes, it paints a picture of the global risks landscape that is both new and eerily familiar, as the world faces many pre-existing risks that previously appeared to be receding.
At present, the global pandemic and war in Europe have brought energy, inflation, food and security crises back to the fore. These create follow-on risks that will dominate the next two years: the risk of recession; growing debt distress; a continued cost of living crisis; polarized societies enabled by disinformation and misinformation; a hiatus on rapid climate action; and zero-sum geo-economic warfare.
According to the report, unless the world starts to cooperate more effectively on climate mitigation and climate adaptation, over the next 10 years this will lead to continued global warming and ecological breakdown.
Failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation represent five of the top 10 risks - with biodiversity loss seen as one of the most rapidly deteriorating global risks over the next decade. In parallel, crises-driven leadership and geopolitical rivalries risk creating societal distress at an unprecedented level, as investments in health, education and economic development disappear, further eroding social cohesion. Finally, rising rivalries risk not only growing geo-economic weaponization but also remilitarization, especially through new technologies and rogue actors.