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What Global Leaders are Worried About

February 01, 2022

The World Economic Forum releases an annual Global Risks Report. Risks are rated as short (within 2 years), medium (2-5 years) and long term (5-10 years). This year's report as summarized at shows as major risks:

  • Extreme weather and climate action failure are the top short, medium and long term risks. Climate inaction could lead to a 4% to 18% global GDP loss, and global warming has not slowed to meet the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • Livelihood crises are a high short term risk, followed by infectious disease and mental health deterioration.
  • Social cohesion erosion is high in short and medium term.
  • Biodiversity loss, natural resource crises and human environmental damage are major long term risks.          

Overall, only 3.7% of respondents were optimistic; 61.2% were concerned and 23% worried.

A majority of respondents thought trade facilitation, international crime and weapons of mass destruction risks were effectively being addressed, but no more than 12% felt any risk was effectively managed. On the other extreme, majorities felt artificial intelligence, space exploration, cyber attacks and misinformation, refugees, biodiversity preservation and climate change mitigation were at best in early development stages.

The best ways to meet these challenges:

  1. Build a holistic risk mitigation framework.
  2. Consider the broader ecosystem.
  3. Embrace diversity.
  4. Connect resilience efforts to other goals.
  5. Resilience is a journey, not a destination.