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Public sector leaders are operating in “a time of profound change”, according to the latest Global Risk Report produced by the World Economic Forum. ""

The report, based on an annual risk perception survey of the forum’s members, captures the issues that are considered most likely and predicted to have the greatest impact.

Environmental and geo-political risks dominate the higher rankings on both scales, with issues such as widespread forced migration, water shortages, extreme weather events and the potential failure of climate change mitigation highlighted by respondents. Now in its 11th year, the long-term trend has shown a consistent movement towards the environmental and geo-political risks and a lesser focus on issues in the economic and societal brackets.

Risk managers should also be aware of the rising impact of technology on the overall risk landscape.

World Economic Forum executive chairman Klaus Schwab notes that the advances in technology and digitization of existing processes are fundamentally transforming societies and economies.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

Alongside identifying key areas of concern, the report also delivers practical strategies to increase resilience based on further analysis of several key areas of risk identification.

Access the report here

Top five most likely

  • Large-scale involuntary migration
  • Extreme weather events
  • Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation
  • Interstate conflict with regional consequences
  • Major natural catastrophes

Top five biggest impact

  • Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Water crises
  • Large-scale involuntary migration
  • Severe energy price shock