Climate crisis and increasingly fractured societies top global risk concerns as predominantly pessimistic outlook prevails – WEF

Climate risks are the most dominant long-term global risk concerns, with societal divides, livelihood crises and mental health deterioration of most significance in the short-term, according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Risks Report. The annual report reflects a pessimistic outlook for the next three years, forecasting a volatile and uneven global economic recovery.

“Health and economic disruptions are compounding social cleavages. This is creating tensions at a time when collaboration within societies and among the international community will be fundamental to ensure a more even and rapid global recovery. Global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated multistakeholder approach to tackle unrelenting global challenges and build resilience ahead of the next crisis,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director, World Economic Forum.

The report explores four areas of emerging risk: cybersecurity; competition in space; a disorderly climate transition; and migration pressures, each requiring global coordination for successful management.

Carolina Klint, risk management leader, Continental Europe, Marsh, commented: “As companies recover from the pandemic, they are rightly sharpening their focus on organisational resilience and ESG credentials. With cyber threats now growing faster than our ability to eradicate them permanently, it is clear that neither resilience nor governance are possible without credible and sophisticated cyber risk management plans. Similarly, organisations need to start understanding their space risks, particularly the risk to satellites on which we have become increasingly reliant, given the rise in geopolitical ambitions and tensions.”

Peter Giger, group chief risk officer, Zurich Insurance Group, added: “The climate crisis remains the biggest long-term threat facing humanity. Failure to act on climate change could shrink global GDP by one-sixth and the commitments taken at COP26 are still not enough to achieve the 1.5C goal. It is not too late for governments and businesses to act on the risks they face and to drive an innovative, determined and inclusive transition that protects economies and people.”

See the next issue of CIR Magazine for more in-depth analysis of the WEF's latest Global Risks Report

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