Global Risks Report 2019


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: WEF Global Risk Reports

Mains level: Various threats to global order and stability


  • The latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report was recently released.

Prospects of Global Risks Report 2019

  1. The Global Risks Report 2019 is released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.
  2. The report urges governments and organizations to address the impact of specific threats and make preparations to contain potential fallout should they occur.
  3. The report’s findings are based on the annual Global Risks Perception Survey, which asks the Forum’s network of business, government, civil society and thought leaders to gauge the risks facing our world.

What are the biggest risks?

  1. Although the lists are distinct, there are some common themes that connect the two.
  2. Concerns accounted for three of the top five risks by likelihood and four by impact.
  3. After 2018 saw unprecedented heatwaves, storms and floods across the globe, extreme weather events top the list of most likely risks and come third for impact.
  4. The results of climate inaction are becoming increasingly clear.
  5. A World Wildlife Fund report from last year highlighted the extent of the challenge we face – with loses in vertebrate species averaging 60% between 1970 and 2014.
  6. In terms of Societal Risk, water crises, defined as “a significant decline in the available quality and quantity of fresh water, resulting in harmful effects on human health and/or economic activity.

Threats from technology

  1. Cyber-attacks feature in both top 10s, at number five for likelihood and seven for impact, while data fraud is at number four for likelihood, reflecting an overall trend as technology shapes the risk landscape.
  2. The survey reflects how new instabilities are being caused by the deepening integration of digital technologies into every aspect of life.

Economic Risks

  1. The report warns of the macroeconomic risks we face as we head into 2019.
  2. The majority of respondents expect increasing risks this year, related to “economic confrontations between major powers” (91%) and “erosion of multilateral trading rules and agreements” (88%).
  3. Financial market volatility and slowing global growth through 2018 are highlighted by the authors – and indeed by the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts.
  4. As a result, the risk of an asset bubble in a major economy is 10th most likely.

How are they connected?

  1. These risks don’t exist in isolation, though.
  2. They’re interconnected and each has the potential to affect the others – as the following chart from the report explores.
  3. Consider for example biodiversity loss in the human food chain. This affects health and socioeconomic development, with implications for areas from productivity to regional security.

With Inputs from:World Economic Forum

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments