Global Risks 2014: Understanding Systemic Risks in a Changing Global Environment

Global Risks 2014, Ninth Edition features an analysis of a survey of over 700 leaders and decision-makers from the World Economic Forum’s global multi-stakeholder community on 31 selected global risks. The report highlights the interconnected risks with the potential to have systemic consequences in the geopolitical, socio-economic and digital spheres. The top five global risks identified in the survey were income disparity, extreme weather events, unemployment and underemployment, climate change and cyber-attacks.

The Global Risks 2014 report aims to support the process of long-term planning and collaboration among business, governments and society by:

  • exploring the nature of systemic risks
  • mapping 31 global risks according to the level of concern they arouse, their likelihood and potential impact, as well as the strength of the interconnections between them
  • looking in-depth at the ways in which three constellations of global risk – centered on youth, cyberspace and geopolitics – could interplay and have systemic impact.

Part 1 of the report presents the results of this year’s Global Risks Perceptions Survey, enumerating the risks that respondents nominated as being of highest concern and also those they thought were most likely and potentially impactful. It also maps the strength of perceived interconnections among these risks to provide a holistic picture of the complexity and broad framework needed to understand their full potential impact. Finally, it includes a “risks and trends to watch” section, noting additional issues that respondents and experts were concerned about.

The risks of highest concern to respondents are:

  • fiscal crises in key economies,
  • structurally high unemployment and underemployment, and
  • water crises.

The 2014 report also highlights the critical issue of global interdependency. It includes a “Global Risks 2014 Interconnections Map,” which demonstrates that “the numerous and complex interconnections between [risks] can create consequences that are disproportionate and difficult to predict.” The map attempts to connect the dots by identifying and visualizing the underlying patterns between various risks and effects.

Part 2 of the report selects and explores in detail three constellations of global risks from the Risks Interconnections Map. “Instabilities in an Increasingly Multipolar World” examines possible interconnections among risks related to the changing geopolitical order. “Generation Lost?” looks at how high rates of youth unemployment risk stoking social unrest and squandering human and economic potential, and how the current situation will affect tomorrow’s youth. “Digital Disintegration” imagines how cyberspace could become severely affected through growing strength of attacks and dwindling trust, at a huge cost to economies and societies.

Publication Date: January 2014

Related Organizations:

  • World Economic Forum

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment

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