January 30, 2016
The Global Risks Report 2016
by Brian Elowe
Risks are becoming more imminent: tensions between countries, refugees, terrorists, droughts, floods, cyber fragilities, unemployment....
Over the past decade, the Global Risks Report has expanded its scope from analyzing the connected and rapidly evolving nature of global risks to also putting forward solutions and calling for public-private collaboration in strengthening resilience. Now in its 11th edition, the report describes a world in which risks are becoming more imminent and have wide-ranging impact: Tensions between countries affect businesses; unresolved, protracted crises have resulted in the largest number of refugees globally since World War II; terrorist attacks take an increasing toll on human lives and stifle economies; droughts occur in California, and floods happen in South Asia; and rapid advances in technologies are coupled with ever-growing cyber fragilities and persistent unemployment and underemployment.
Implications of sweeping digitization (also termed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”) – ranging from transformations that are the result of rising cyber connectivity to the potential effects of innovations on socioeconomic equality and global security – remain far from fully understood. At the same time, climate change is unequivocally happening, and there is no turning back time.
The increasing volatility, complexity and ambiguity of the world not only heightens uncertainty around the “which,” “when,” “where” and “who” of addressing global risks but also clouds the solutions space. We need clear thinking about new levers that will enable a wide range of stakeholders to jointly address global risks, which cannot be dealt with in a centralized way.
Taken together, the situation calls for a resilience imperative – an urgent necessity to find new avenues and more opportunities to mitigate, adapt to and build resilience against global risks and threats through collaboration among different stakeholders.
By putting the resilience imperative at its core, this year’s Global Risks Report combines four parts to present an analysis of different aspects of global risks – across both global risks and stakeholders – focused as much on the search for solutions as on the analysis of the risks themselves.