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WEF Global Risk Report 2022: There are good news between the gloomy outlook

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Summary

The Global Risks Report 2022 presents the results of the latest WEF Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS), followed by an analysis of key risks emanating from current economic, societal, environmental and technological tensions. Not surprisingly, after the two COVID-years, respondents feel gloomy about the future. The report present a valuable sentiment-snapshot. We consider the real value of the series to be the changes in risk perception over time. They document how different topics have risen to the top of the political agenda. As such, these reports are having a positive impact.

"For the next five years, respondents again signal societal risks as the most concerning. However, over a 10-year horizon, the health of the planet dominates concerns." WEF Global Risk Report 2022

What it is about

The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2022 presents the results of the latest WEF Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS), which has underpinned the report since 2006. I was refreshed this year to gather new and broader insights from nearly 1,000 global experts and leaders who responded.

While the top long-term risks relate to the climate crisis, the most prominent shorter-term concerns include societal divides, livelihood crises and mental health deterioration. Additionally, most experts believe a global economic recovery will be volatile and uneven over the next three years.

The overall result is a gloomy one: only 16% of respondents said they feel positive and optimistic about the outlook for the world.

For the next five years, respondents signalled societal and environmental risks as the most concerning. However, over a ten-year horizon, the health of the planet dominated concerns: environmental risks are perceived to be the five most critical long-term threats to the world, as well as the most potentially damaging to people and planet, with “climate action failure”, “extreme weather events” and “biodiversity loss” ranking as the top three most severe risks, as shown in the graph above.

Read the Key Findings for a summary.

Why is it important

Now in its 17th edition, the report encourages leaders to think outside the quarterly reporting cycle and to create policies that manage risks and shape the agenda for the coming years. It explores four areas of emerging risk: cybersecurity; competition in space; a disorderly climate transition; and migration pressures, each requiring global coordination for successful management.

The Globalance View

Globalance values the reports for for their raw data and time-series: removed from the daily noise of news, this annual gauge helps to see beyond short term topics which are impeding the visibility of emerging challenges. The latter include climate transition disorder (which has been mentioned for the first time), increased cyber vulnerabilities, greater barriers to international mobility, and crowding and competition in space.

Furthermore, such reports represent the view of thousands of global decision-makers. As such, they are showing that the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of action. Their impact is to increase political relevance.

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