The World Economic Forum recently released the 16th edition of its Global Risks Report. The annual survey analyses the risks from “societal fractures—manifested through persistent and emerging risks to human health, rising unemployment, widening digital divides, youth disillusionment and geopolitical fragmentation.”
In 2020, the risk of a pandemic became reality. The global crisis has highlighted the crippling effects of ignoring (and not preparing for) potentially catastrophic events, like pandemics. According to the World Economic Forum, the economic and political consequences of COVID-19 could cause more crises for years to come.
The 2021 report lists infectious diseases and livelihood crises at the top, as “clear and present dangers” within two years. Price instability and IT infrastructure breakdown lead concerns over 3-5 years, while digital inequality and the concentration of digital power are also seen as major concerns in the future.
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Other events will likely present a threat too, according to the survey, “businesses risk a disorderly shakeout which can exclude large cohorts of workers and companies from the markets of the future. Environmental degradation—still an existential threat to humanity—risks intersecting with societal fractures to bring about severe consequences,” the WEF said in the report. “Yet, with the world more attuned to risk, lessons can be drawn to strengthen response and resilience.”
“The immediate human and economic cost of Covid-19 is severe. The ramifications – in the form of social unrest, political fragmentation and geopolitical tensions – will shape the effectiveness of our responses to the other key threats of the next decade.”
The WEF’s recommendations for future global risks include combating misinformation now. More broadly, it said post-truth politics are “amplifying hate speech, heightening the risk of conflict, violence and human rights violations, and threatening long-term prospects for advancing democracy.”
“If lessons from this crisis only inform decision-makers how to better prepare for the next pandemic – rather than enhancing risk processes capabilities and culture – the world will be again planning for the last crisis rather than anticipating the next,” the WEF said.
“Societal cohesion is more important than ever.”
Take a look at a visual breakdown of future global risks below (via Bloomberg). Read the full WEF Global Risks Report 2021, right here and more trending news, here.