World Economic Forum survey indicates bleak picture for global recovery

A poll of almost 1,000 industry, government, and academic leaders indicated that only one in ten World Economic Forum members expecting the global recovery to accelerate over the next three years, with only one in six optimistic about the global outlook.

Respondents to the World Economic Forum’s annual risks report on Tuesday ranked climate change as the number one threat, while erosion of social cohesion, livelihood crises, and mental health deterioration were identified as the risks that had increased the most since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To address ongoing global issues and develop resilience ahead of the next crisis, global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated multi-stakeholder strategy,” said WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi.

The study revealed that extreme weather is seen as the world’s greatest risk in the short term, as well as a failure of climate action in the medium and long term – two to ten years.

The agreement reached at the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit in November last year was generally praised for keeping the idea of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive, but many of the almost 200 countries present had hoped for more.

More extreme weather patterns are already being noticed as a result of climate change.

“Failure to act on climate change could reduce global GDP by one-sixth, and the COP26 agreements are still insufficient to accomplish the 1.5 (degrees Celsius) objective,” said Peter Giger, group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, which assisted in the report’s compilation.

Cybersecurity, a disorderly climate transition, migration challenges, and space rivalry are all highlighted in the WEF study as areas of growing danger.

In addition to space tourism, the likelihood of 70,000 satellite launches in the future decades raises the risk of accidents and increased debris in space, owing to a lack of oversight.

Carolina Klint, risk management head for continental Europe at insurance broker Marsh, which also contributed to the report’s creation, asked, “Who governs space?”

Each year, the study is released in advance of the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos. However, due to the development of the Omicron coronavirus type, the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) postponed the January gathering until mid-2022.

Zurich, Marsh McLennan, and South Korea’s SK Group, as well as the universities of Oxford and Pennsylvania and the National University of Singapore, collaborated on the paper.

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