World Economic Forum warns

Frederick Owens
January 21, 2018

The report has a message: the prospect of strong economic growth presents leaders with a golden opportunity to address signs of severe weakness in numerous complex systems that underpin the world, such as societies, economies, global relations and the environment.

The report released every January shares the perspectives of global experts and decision-makers on the most significant risks facing the world.

Cyber risk is also on the rise, the report notes. "The results are very striking".

Cyber security risks are also growing, according to the WEF report.

Its Global Risks Report released Wednesday includes a survey of almost 1,000 experts and decision-makers about 30 global risks over a 10-year span.

One of the main casual factors was held to be a deteriorating geopolitical landscape.

A SURVEY by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that more than nine in 10 experts are anxious about worsening economic or political confrontation between world powers amid a trend towards "charismatic strongman politics".

The WEF also said four in five survey respondents indicated that they expect rising risks "associated with war involving major powers". Other risks identified along the same lines were major natural disasters, man-made disasters and eco-system collapse.

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"Environmental risks, together with a growing vulnerability to other risks, are now seriously threatening the foundation of most of our commons", says Alison Martin, Group Chief Risk Officer at Zurich Insurance Group and member of the steering board of the Global Risks Report. Unfortunately, we now observe a "too-little-too-late" response by governments and organizations to key trends such as climate change... The elite was rocked by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as expressions of popular anger at economic inequality and voracious globalisation. "For example, in 2016, companies revealed breaches of more than 4 billion data records, more than the combined total for the previous two years".

That's plenty of material for the global elite to discuss over fondue in Davos next week. It will be a reminder of both the gains since his election and the underlying impulses that he champions.

Much like Trump who, said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement on Tuesday, "looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries, and American workers", Modi will invite worldwide businesses to invest in India and offer it as a greenfield FDI destination.

The report further said that amid geopolitical flux, national identity becomes a growing source of tension around contested borders, while clashes related to identity and community continue to drive political dislocations in many countries and are increasingly fuelling cross-border tensions.

John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at insurer Marsh & McLennan Companies, pointed to the prospects of "more state-sponsored attacks — to add to the financially motivated attacks that are already out there".

In its Global Risks Report for 2018, the World Economic Forum cautioned people and businesses against complacency and urged them to prepare for sudden and dramatic disruptions caused by cyber crime.

"While cyber risk management is improving, business and government need to invest far more in resilience efforts if we are to prevent the same bulging "protection" gap between economic and insured losses that we see for natural catastrophes".

"In the short term, that means a laser focus on issues including data security and privacy, so that we can reap the benefits of resources like big data". "It also means developing ways of encouraging and rewarding decision-makers who take hard, long-term decisions".

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