World Economic Forum new report identifies risks of global relevance and offers leaders from business, government and civil society a tool to understand them as well as a way of identifying interconnections between them.
Taking a 10-year outlook, the report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place.
The risks are grouped under five categories – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological – and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact.
Risks in the economic category include fiscal and liquidity crises, failure of a major financial mechanism or institution, oil-price shocks, chronic unemployment and failure of physical infrastructure on which economic activity depends.
Risks in the environmental category include both natural disasters, such as earthquakes and geomagnetic storms, and man-made risks such as collapsing ecosystems, freshwater shortages, nuclear accidents and failure to mitigate or adapt to climate change.
The geopolitical category covers the areas of politics, diplomacy, conflict, crime and global governance. These risks range from terrorism, disputes over resources and war to governance being undermined by corruption, organized crime and illicit trade.
The societal category captures risks related to social stability – such as severe income disparities, food crises and dysfunctional cities – and public health, such as pandemics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the rising burden of chronic disease.
The technological category covers major risks related to the growing centrality of information and communication technologies to individuals, businesses and governments. These include cyber attacks, infrastructure disruptions and data loss.
Global Risks 2014, Ninth Edition is published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with:
- Marsh & McLennan Companies
- Swiss Re
- Zurich Insurance Group
- National University of Singapore
- Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford
- Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania