Global Risks

February 5, 2014 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

Global Risks


Global Risks 2014 is an analysis of a survey of over 700 world leaders and top businessmen from the World Economic Forum’s global multi-stakeholder community. From the report, growing “global risks” arise from demographic trends, societal issues, technological developments, environmental concerns, and economic mismanagement.

The demographic trends “flagged” consist of “overpopulation… unmanaged migration flows… and energy crises.” Specifically, the risk cited is “being unable to deal with rapid population growth and the growing burden of an ageing population.” According to the report, “Around 1 billion people, one-third of the world’s urban population, live in slums — a number that has been increasing in the current era of high and widening income inequalities. This growing population of urban poor is vulnerable to rising food prices and economic crises, posing significant risks of chronic social instability.” Further, there are the “costs of living longer” to be considered and, notably, the “risks related to longevity remain significant as medical advances increase life expectancy, posing funding challenges in retirement financing, long-term care and healthcare.”

Societal issues involve “the breakdown of social structures, the decline of trust in institutions, the lack of leadership and persisting gender inequalities.” Particularly highlighted are “ideological polarization, extremism — in particular those of a religious or political nature — and intra-state conflicts such as civil wars.” Also mentioned is “the future of the youth: the quality of and access to education, the marginalization of young generations and high rates of youth unemployment.” Quoting the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, “About 300 million young people — over 25% of the world’s youth population — have no productive work, according to World Bank estimates. Add low-paid rural and urban self-employed workers, and the estimates rise to 600 million. An unprecedented demographic ‘youth bulge’ is bringing more than 120 million new young people on to the job market each year, mostly in the developing world.”

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