Cyber threats and the growing space race are emerging risks to the global economy, adding to the current challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum said in a report on Tuesday.
The Global Risk Report is usually released ahead of the annual elite winter gathering of CEOs and world leaders at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but the event has been postponed for the second year in a row due to COVID-19. The World Economic Forum is still planning some virtual sessions next week.
Here’s a brief overview of the report, which is based on a survey of nearly 1,000 experts and leaders:
As early as 2022, the pandemic and its economic and social impacts still pose a “grave threat” to the world, the report said. The wide gap between rich and poor countries’ access to vaccines means their economies are recovering at unequal rates, which can widen social divisions and exacerbate geopolitical tensions.
By 2024, the global economy is projected to be 2.3% smaller than it would have been without the pandemic. But it masks different rates of growth between developing countries, whose economies are projected to be 5.5% smaller before the pandemic, and wealthier countries, which are expected to expand by 0.9%.
The report said the pandemic forced a major shift – requiring many people to work from home or attend classes and online platforms and tools to aid the change that dramatically increased security risks. gives rise to an explosion number of .
“We are now at the point where cyber threats are outnumbered by our ability to effectively prevent and manage them,” said Carolina Clint, a risk management leader at Marsh. SK Group.
Cyber attacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread, the report said, as criminals use tougher tactics to pursue more vulnerable targets. Malware and ransomware attacks have boomed, while the rise of cryptocurrencies has made it easier for online criminals to hide the payments they collect.
While survey respondents cited cybersecurity threats as a short- and medium-term risk, Clint said the report’s authors were concerned that the issue was not ranked high, suggesting that It is a “blind spot” for companies and governments.
Space is the last frontier – for exposure.
The falling cost of launch technology has sparked a new space race between companies and governments. Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space tourism venture Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson took off, while Elon Musk’s Space X business turned a big profit launching astronauts and satellites.
Meanwhile, many countries are increasing their space programs as they pursue geopolitical and military power or scientific and commercial advantage, the report said.
But all of these programs increase the risk of friction in the classroom.
“Increased exploitation of these orbitals is likely to lead to congestion, increased debris and collisions with some governance structures to reduce new threats,” the report said.
Space exploitation is one of the areas that respondents thought had the least international cooperation to address the challenges.
“The experts and leaders who responded to the survey do not believe that much is being done about the best way forward,” Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum, told a virtual press briefing from Geneva.
Other areas include artificial intelligence, cyberattacks and migration and refugees, she said.
The environment remains the biggest long-term concern.
The health of the planet is a major concern over the next decade, according to survey respondents, who cited climate change, extreme weather and failure to act on biodiversity loss as the top three risks.
The report noted that different countries are taking different approaches, with some moving faster to adopt a zero-carbon model than other countries. Both approaches come with downsides. While moving too slowly can lead to more radicals who think the government is not acting immediately, a rapid shift from carbon-intensive industries can lead to economic turmoil and put millions out of work. .
“The adoption of environmental policies in haste can also have unintended consequences for nature,” the report said. “There are many unknown risks from deploying still untested biotechnical and geoengineering technologies.”