Each year the Global Risks Network – a partnership that includes the World Economic Forum, Marsh & McLennan Companies and others – identifies major global risks, assesses their economic impact, and recommends mitigation solutions. The findings of the Global Risks Network are captured annually in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.
The Global Risks 2011 Report, which is the sixth edition of the report, shows that we face ever-greater concerns regarding global risks, the prospect of rapid contagion through increasingly connected systems, and the threat of disastrous impacts. It identifies and discusses emerging risks over a decade-long horizon and the key interconnections among 37 global risks. It notes that two risks – widening economic disparity and global governance failures – are the primary drivers for three risk clusters discussed in the report:
- The relationship between illicit trade, crime, corruption and state fragility;
- Interconnected risks around water, food and energy; and
- Risks related to global macroeconomic imbalances.
In addition to the three main risk clusters, the report notes five risks to watch over the next decade:
- Cyber security;
- Demographic challenges;
- Resources security – namely extreme energy price volatility and extreme commodity price volatility;
- Retrenchment from globalization; and
- Weapons of mass destruction.
Effective risk response is not only about proactively reducing the downsides associated with global risks; it is also about seizing the opportunities for innovation and growth that may arise. Throughout the report, a series of risk response strategies are explored that can help stakeholders achieve both goals.
The report also calls on policy-makers, CEOs, senior executives and other decision-makers to collectively engage in efforts to improve the global system’s resilience to global risks.
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