Global experts are very worried about the future, Davos survey finds

More than 84% of global experts polled by the World Economic Forum are worried or concerned about the world’s outlook, according to the forum’s Global Risks Report released Tuesday. Only 12% of experts have a positive opinion, and only 4% said they feel optimistic.

“Most respondents (…) expect the next three years to be characterized by either constant volatility and multiple surprises or fractured trajectories that will separate relative winners and losers,” said the WEF.

With only half of the world’s population fully immunized, the WEF said vaccine inequality is creating a divergent economic recovery “which risks deepening pre-existing social divides and geopolitical tensions.”
Only 11% of the nearly 1,000 experts and executives who responded to the group’s survey expect the global economic recovery to accelerate over the next three years. Developing countries, excluding China, will lag even further behind advanced economies, according to the survey.

More than 40% of experts and executives surveyed by the WEF are from the business world, while 16% represent government and 17% work in academia. About 45% live in Europe, while 15% are from North America and 13% are based in Asia.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic is worsening with labor market imbalances, protectionism and widening digital, education and skills gaps that risk dividing the world into divergent trajectories,” said the WEF, which announced last month that it would delay its 2022 summit in Davos. , Switzerland.

Longer term, failure to act in the face of the climate crisis was the greatest risk identified by experts over the next decade, followed by extreme weather conditions, loss of biodiversity, erosion of the land. social cohesion, livelihood crises and infectious diseases. Debt crises have also ranked among the top 10 most threatening global risks.

“The climate crisis remains the greatest long-term threat to humanity,” said Peter Giger, chief risk officer of the Zurich Insurance Group, which partnered with WEF to produce the report. “It is not too late for governments and businesses to act on the risks they face and to lead an innovative, determined and inclusive society [energy] transition that protects economies and people.

Risks also emerge miles above Earth, according to the WEF, which said space is becoming increasingly militarized as new commercial operators upset the traditional balance of power in the non-border border. governed.

“One of the consequences of the acceleration of space activity is a higher risk of collisions which could lead to a proliferation of space debris and impact the orbits that house infrastructure for key systems on Earth, damaging valuable equipment space or trigger international tensions, ”the group said.

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The WEF is not the only organization to warn against major risks by 2022.

Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, said earlier this month that China and the United States are both turning in on themselves, reducing their ability to provide global leadership and meet challenges. Analysts in the group have also warned of risks associated with poor digital governance, Russian aggression, rising tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and a slow transition to cleaner energy.

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