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 hyperconnected 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 this 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.
I, therefore, invite you to read the case studies in this report of the three examples cited above to understand better the international and interdependent nature of such constellations of risks. I think you will agree that each one makes a compelling case for stronger cross-border collaboration among stakeholders from governments, business and civil society – a partnership with the purpose of building resilience to global risks. They also highlight the need for strengthening existing mechanisms to mitigate and manage risks, which today primarily exist at the national level. This means that while we can map and describe global risks, we cannot predict when and how they will manifest; therefore, building national resilience to global risks is of paramount importance.
Resilient Dynamism is the theme for this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, and I am pleased to introduce the Global Risks 2013 report in the same spirit. Based on an extensive survey of over 1,000 experts worldwide, the report – now in its eighth edition – serves to orient and inform decision-makers as they seek to make sense of an increasingly complex and fast-changing world. I hope this report challenges, provokes and inspires you, and I invite you to engage – if you have not already done so – with the World Economic Forum’s Risk Response Network, which provides private and public sector leaders with a collaborative platform to build national resilience to global risks.
Founder and Executive Chairman
World Economic Forum