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935. Global Risks 2024

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935.  Global Risks 2024


On January 10, the World Economic Forum released its Global Risks Report 2024, looking back on the turbulent year 2023 and forward to a world of rapidly increasing uncertainty.

While a majority (54%) of respondents to the September 2023 survey said the world could be destabilized or catastrophic in the short term over the next two years, the longer-term outlook for the next decade was more pessimistic, with nearly two-thirds of respondents saying the world could be destabilized or catastrophic in the short term.

The 2024 report analyzes risks for the next decade through four structural factors that will determine the likelihood of their occurrence and how to manage them.

  • Trajectories relating to global warming and related consequences to Earth systems (Climate Change)
  • Changes in the size, growth and structure of populations around the world (Demographic bifurcation)
  • Developmental pathways for frontier technologies (Technological acceleration)
  • Material evolution in the concentration and sources of geopolitical power (Geostrategic shifts)

Concern about environmental risks was high, with two-thirds of respondents ranking extreme weather events as the most important possible global risk, and many of the top ten long-term risks for the decade were environmentally related. On the other hand, there was also a generational divide in the perceived urgency of environmental risks. Biodiversity, ecosystem collapse, and Earth system changes tended to be seen as long-term risks by the older generation more than by youth, and by the private sector more than by civil society and government, with a gap in perception with youth, civil society, and government, who also prioritized solving Earth system problems in the short term. There was also a gap in the perception of the private sector. The difference in perceptions among key stakeholders suggests that coordination in decision making is not optimized and that there is a risk of missing the timing of interventions that could lead to long-term changes in the Earth system.

Social polarization is closely linked to economic downturns and is seen as both a cause and a consequence of many risks. In particular, misinformation and disinformation exacerbating social polarization emerged as the most worrisome risk over the next two years. With elections scheduled in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States over the next two years, there is concern that social unrest could be exacerbated if disinformation undermines the legitimacy of regimes at a time when 3 billion equivalent people worldwide have the opportunity to vote. Beyond elections, the polarization of perceptions of global realities, from public health to social justice, threatens to increase propaganda and censorship, threatening press freedom in some countries.

Other risks cited were the rising cost of living, the spread of geopolitical conflicts, and the dysfunction of international governance mechanisms under the dynamics of the Global North and Global South.

The report suggests that in a fragmented and fluid world, regional and international cooperation should play an important role in mitigating global risks, despite the challenges they face.


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)

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