It is the interconnected and systemic nature of global risks that creates surprises when their impacts are felt. Against this background, it is important for businesses to understand the triggers, trends and scenarios to look out for, prepare for the possible consequences of any of those risks, and determine the best holistic response.
The 14th edition of the Global Risks Report identifies and discusses the many challenges and key risks presented in the year ahead:
- Is the world sleepwalking into a crisis? Global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking. Instead, divisions are hardening. The world’s move into a new phase of strongly state-centred politics, noted in last year’s Global Risks Report, continued.
- Rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions are the most urgent risks in 2019, with 90% of experts saying they expect further economic confrontation between major powers this year.
- Environmental degradation is the long-term risk that defines our age, with four of the top five most-impactful global risks in 2019 related to climate.
- Rapidly evolving cyber and technological threats are the most significant potential blind spots. We still do not fully appreciate the vulnerability of networked societies.
- The importance of the geopolitical and geo-economic changes that are underway should not distract us from the human side of global risks. For many people, this is an increasingly anxious, unhappy and lonely world, with rising anger and empathy declining.
- In today’s complex and tightly-coupled systems, building resilience and doing a much better job of learning lessons from the small failures before they become catastrophic is vital.