As we strive to restore confidence and growth globally, leaders cannot continue with a “risk-off” mindset if our collective goal remains to seize transformational opportunities that can improve the state of the world.
Dynamism in our hyper-connected world requires increasing our resilience to the many global risks that loom before us. By their nature, global risks do not respect national borders, as highlighted in the below report. And we now know that extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change will not limit their effects to countries that are major greenhouse gas emitters; false information posted on social networks can spread like wildfire to the other side of the globe in a matter of milliseconds; and genes that make bacteria resistant to our strongest antibiotics can hitch a ride with patients on an intercontinental flight.
The nature of global risks is constantly changing.
Thirty years ago, chlorofuorocar-bons (CFCs) were seen as a planetary risk, while the threat from a massive cyber attack was treated by many as science action. In the same period, the proliferation of nuclear weapons occupied the minds of scientists and politicians, while the proliferation of orbital debris did not. We see a similar story with asbestos then and carbon nanotubes today, and the list goes on.
Economic and environmental systems are simultaneously under stress worldwide, and this is testing resilience at the global and national levels. Worldwide economic difficulties are continuing to make greater demands on political attention and financial resources.
Therefore, I invite you to read the case studies in WEF’s Global Risks of 2019 Report of the three examples cited above to understand better the international and interdependent nature of such constellations of risks.