Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

21 January 2014

World Economic Forum: Global Risks 2014

The following is our selection from Part 1 of the Global Risks 2014 report of the World Economic Forum. A list of reports and full texts is available here.

A global risk is defined as an occurrence that causes significant negative impact for several countries and industries over a time frame of up to 10 years. A key characteristic of global risks is their potential systemic nature – they have the potential to affect an entire system, as opposed to individual parts and components…

This report considers a core set of 31 global risks in five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, technological, and societal.

Economic Risks

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.

Environmental Risks

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.

Geopolitical Risks

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.

Societal Risks

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.

Technological Risks

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.

The core set of global risks considered in this report is not exhaustive, and the Forum attempts to continually refine it as the global risks landscape evolves. The list also includes “vulnerabilities”, or those trends that are already manifest and that affect other risks – for example, an ageing population represents a vulnerability potentially affecting a country’s fiscal situation…

Ten Global Risks of Highest Concern in 2014

Economic, societal and environmental risks dominate the list of global risks that the respondents are most concerned about, with fiscal crises emerging as the top issue.   Source: Global Risks Perception Survey 2013-2014.

1.  Fiscal crises in key economies
2.  Structurally high unemployment/underemployment
3.  Water crises
4.  Severe income disparity
5.  Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
6.  Greater incidence of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, fires)
7.  Global governance failure
8.  Food crises
9.  Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution
10. Profound political and social instability

Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with its system-wide impacts, the failure of a major financial mechanism or institution also features among the risks that the respondents are most concerned about, as uncertainty about the quality of many banks’ assets remains.

Structural unemployment and underemployment appears second overall, as many people in both advanced and emerging economies struggle to find jobs. The youth and minorities are especially vulnerable as youth unemployment rates hover around 50% and underemployment (with low-quality jobs) remains prevalent, especially in emerging and developing markets.

Closely associated in terms of societal risk, income disparity is also among the most worrying of issues. It raises concerns about the Great Recession and the squeezing effect it had on the middle classes in developed economies, while globalization has brought about a polarization of incomes in emerging and developing economies. This is true despite the obvious progress in countries such as Brazil and lower levels of poverty in several developing countries in Asia and Africa.

Environmental risks also feature prominently in this year’s list, appearing as three of the top 10 global risks of greatest concern. Water crises, for instance, rank as the third highest concern. This illustrates a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources from economic activity and population growth. Coupled with extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, which appears sixth on the list, the potential impacts are real and happening today.

Climate change, ranked fifth on the list is the key driver of such uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. It is important to consider the combined implications of these environmental risks on key development and security issues, such as food security, and political and social instability, ranked eighth and 10th respectively.

Given that global risks can be addressed effectively only through international collaboration, it is hardly a surprise that global governance failure is also included in the list as the risk of seventh highest concern.

pp. 12-14 from:

No comments:

Post a Comment