For the majority of Global Agenda Council members, the most important global trend in the next 12-18 months is that the public debt crisis and declining health of public finances in the major developed economies will continue to cascade in the highly interdependent world.
Related to that, the instability of global financial markets, the stagnantly high unemployment, and the grim economic recovery outlook are the other major challenges, according to the 2nd largest number of respondents.
The shift of economic gravity from industrialised economies towards emerging economies was the very top trend in 2010. The rebalance process, accelerated by the financial crisis, now makes it the 3rd key trend on the list.
The digital revolution has gone far beyond technology acceleration and growth of data and Internet users to make great impact on political, social and economic changes. It was one of the outliers last year but emerged as a highly notable trend this year.
The entrenchments of political institutions, both global and national, haven been rated as the 6th major concern, in the face of a global economic downturn and complex issues that require strong leadership and international cooperation.
Climate change and scarcity of resources caused by unsustainable consumption continue to loom as the gravest threat seen by a large number of Council members.
For two years in a row, council members identified inequality as the most underestimated global trend, and the 10th trend in 2011.