For the past 17 years the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report has warned about deeply interconnected global risks. Conflict and geo-economic tensions have triggered a series of deeply interconnected global threats, according to the latest report.
Serious long-term threats
The window for action on the most serious long-term threats is closing rapidly and concerted, collective action is needed before risks reach a tipping point.
The Global Risks Report 2023, produced in partnership with Marsh McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, draws on the views of over 1,200 global risk experts, policy-makers, and industry leaders. Across three timeframes, it paints a picture of the global risks landscape that is both new and eerily familiar, as the world faces many pre-existing risks that previously appeared to be receding.
At present, the global pandemic and war in Europe have brought energy, inflation, food and security crises back to the fore. These create follow-on risks that will dominate the next two years: the risk of recession; growing debt distress; a continued cost of living crisis; polarized societies enabled by disinformation and misinformation; a hiatus on rapid climate action; and zero-sum geo-economic warfare.
The coming years will present tough trade-offs for governments facing competing concerns for society, the environment, and security. Already, short-term geo-economic risks are putting net-zero commitments to the test and have exposed a gap between what is scientifically necessary and politically palatable.
Cybersecurity and privacy
Cyber attacks against essential technology-enabled resources and services, including agriculture and water, financial institutions, public security, transportation, energy, domestic, space-based, and undersea communication infrastructure, are projected to increase along with an increase in cybercrime.
Bad actors do not just pose technology-related threats. Even in well-regulated, democratic regimes, sophisticated analysis of huge data sets will allow the exploitation of personal information through legitimate legal channels, eroding individual digital sovereignty and the right to privacy.
“2023 is set to be marked by increased risks related to food, energy, raw materials and cybersecurity, causing further disruption to global supply chains and impacting investment decisions. At a time when countries and organizations should be stepping up resilience efforts, economic headwinds will constrain their ability to do so. Faced with the most difficult geo-economic conditions in a generation, companies should focus not just on navigating near-term concerns but also on developing strategies that will position them well for longer-term risks and structural change,” said Carolina Klint, Risk Management Leader, Continental Europe, Marsh.