Founder and Executive Chairman
World Economic Forum
Founder and Executive Chairman
World Economic Forum
This 11th edition of The Global Risks Report is published at a time of profound change. Global risks materialize in new and unexpected ways and are becoming more imminent as their consequences reach people, institutions and economies. We witness the effects of climate change in the rising frequency and intensity of water shortages, floods and storms worldwide. Stable societies are becoming increasingly fragmented in many regions of the world, and we note a weak global economy that is again facing headwinds.
At the same time, advances in technology and rapid digitization are fundamentally transforming societies, economies and ways of doing business. Often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this development presents great opportunities for all actors involved and a previously unimagined solution space for some of the world’s most pressing problems. Yet it also presents elusive risks related to changing employment patterns, widening income inequality and rising cyber dependence. Managing the paradigm shift and transition process will be critical to securing stable economies and ultimately thriving societies. Achieving this calls for greater resilience as the key imperative for action. Collaboration across countries, areas of expertise and stakeholder groups is necessary to effectively address global risks and deliver on the resilience imperative. Yet across every sector of society, decision-makers are struggling to find common ground as they are faced with heightened volatility, uncertainty, interconnectedness and pace of change.
The motivations underlying The Global Risks Report at its inception in 2006 – to shed light on global risks and developments and help create a shared understanding of the most pressing issues confronting the world, the ways they interconnect and their potential negative impacts – are therefore more relevant than ever. A shared understanding of challenges is needed as a base for multistakeholder collaboration, which has seen increasing recognition as the most effective way to address global risks and build resilience against them. To further inspire action, this year’s Report, like last year’s, also contributes to a shared understanding of the solution space, presenting examples of risk mitigation and resilience practices in the Risks in Focus section. In addition this year’s Global Risk Report includes a chapter dedicated to better understanding the evolving international security landscape and improving outcomes.
As in previous years, the Report is based on the annual Global Risks Perception Survey, completed by almost 750 members of the World Economic Forum’s global multistakeholder community. In addition to the special section exploring the evolving security landscape in an era of uncertainty, the Report presents deep-dive discussions of risks to the stability of societies posed by the (dis)empowered citizen, who is empowered by technology but feels disempowered by traditional decision-making processes. It also discusses the societal consequences of climate change with a focus on food and water crises and the threat of global pandemics.
As one of the Forum’s flagship reports, The Global Risks Report has been a collaborative effort since its first edition in 2006. Produced by the Forum, it is able to draw on the unique expertise available within the Forum’s different communities and knowledge networks as well as within the organization as a whole. It also builds firmly on the Forum’s ongoing research, projects, debates and initiatives. The insights presented here are the result of numerous discussions, consultations and workshops and reflect the views of leaders from our various communities through the Global Risks Perception Survey.
With this in mind, I would like to thank our Strategic Partners, Marsh & McLennan Companies and the Zurich Insurance Group, represented on the Steering Board by John Drzik, President, Global Risk and Specialties, Marsh & McLennan; and Cecilia Reyes, Group Chief Risk Officer, Zurich Insurance Group. Furthermore, I am grateful to our academic advisers the National University of Singapore, the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Report has also greatly benefited from the dedication and valuable guidance of the members of the Global Risks 2016 Advisory Board. Members are Rolf Alter, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Mario Blejer, Banco Hipotecario SA; Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International; Marie-Valentine Florin, International Risk Governance Council (IRGC); Steven Kou, National University of Singapore; Julian Laird, Oxford Martin School; Pascal Lamy, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute; Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany; Maleeha Lodhi Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations; Erwann Michel-Kerjan, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Nicolas Mueller, Federal Chancellery of Switzerland; Moisés Naím, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Jonathan Ostry, International Monetary Fund; Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Otalora, Minister of Environment of Peru; Nouriel Roubini, New York University; Anders Sandberg, University of Oxford; Richard Smith-Bingham, Marsh & McLennan Companies; Michelle Tuveson, Centre for Risk Studies, University of Cambridge; Steve Wilson, Zurich Insurance Group; and Sandra Wu Wen-Hsiu, Japan Asia Group Limited.
I am grateful to Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director and Anja Kaspersen, Head of International Security as well as Isabel de Sola, Andrej Kirn and Alex Williams for their contributions on international security, and to the International Security community and ecosystem of the Forum for their invaluable contributions to the Report.
I would also like to thank Richard Samans, Managing Director; Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist; and Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, Head of Global Competitiveness and Risks for their leadership on this effort as well as The Global Risks Report 2016 project team members Ciara Browne, Attilio Di Battista, Caroline Galvan, Gaëlle Marti, and Stephanie Vérin for their contributions.
Last but not least, this Report would not have been possible without the time and commitment of the respondents who completed the Global Risks Perception Survey and the participants in the Changing International Security Landscapes project.