The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected human health and the world’s economy. When the pandemic receded, the carbon emissions that feed climate change rose – and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted energy and food supply chains. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) salient report on worldwide risks, produced in partnership with Marshall McLennan and the Zurich Insurance Group, these events fueled global inflation. With nations facing massive debt and inflation, the cost of living worldwide soared to unprecedented levels, as did income inequality and social conflict. The WEF warns that not all economies and societies will bounce back from these compounding crises.
A “global risk” is the potential likelihood of an event or condition negatively affecting the world’s economy, population or natural resources.
The Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) provided the data for The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2023 Global Risks Report. The GRPS surveyed respondents from many fields on five issues regarding short-term (from now to two years out) or long-term (ten-year) risks. Those issues are:
- Outlook – The survey asked respondents to assess the world’s instability and evaluate global risks over time.
- Severity – It asked for an assessment of the likely impact of specific risks over one-, two- and ten-year time spans.
- Consequences – It sought evaluation of the potential individual risks and the effect of compounded global risks.
- Risk preparedness and governance – The survey asked respondents to evaluate people’s current capacity to respond to and manage global risks.
- Qualitative questions on risks – And, the survey asked specialists to consider...
Sophie Heading, the primary author of The Global Risks Report 2023, leads the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Initiative. Author Saadia Zahidi is a managing director at the WEF.