Monday 20 May 2019

World Economic Forum identifies world's biggest threats

The threat judged as having the biggest impact on the world population was a crisis in the world's water supply
The threat judged as having the biggest impact on the world population was a crisis in the world's water supply

Mehreen Khan

Ahead of its annual meeting at Davos next week, the World Economic Forum released its annual assessment of the biggest dangers facing the world over the next decade.

In previous years, the WEF's Global Risk Report has concentrated on things like ballooning debt levels and fiscal crises. This year however has seen international conflict and environmental concerns jump up the list of 28 risks highlighted by the forum's 900 experts.

The biggest threat to world stability over the next 10 years is likely to come from geopolitical tensions. According to the report, the crisis in Ukraine, Russia's simmering tensions with Europe, and Chinese-Japanese tensions are all evidence that the world's biggest powers have once again started engaging in strategic power struggles.

Environmental concerns have leapfrogged to the second spot on the list, mainly as a result of what the report feels is the lack of preparedness shown by world leaders over how best to tackle extreme weather and climate change.

But the threat judged as having the biggest impact on the world population was a crisis in the world's water supply.

State collapse came in at number three after 2014 saw the emergence of the non-state actors which threatened and sometimes over-ran the sovereignty of nation states. Chief among them were the Islamic State (Isis) with a warning we could see government collapse in Syria and Iraq.

Number four was jobs. For the first time in the report's history, economic concerns feature far less prominently.

A slow and sluggish return to growth has reduced the likelihood of another financial crisis, but of the economic threats that remain, unemployment ranked as the most serious.

Irish Independent

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