Global Risks 2013

Political leaders and business leaders need to come together to manage the complex risks that will define the next decade.

Global Risks 2013, Eighth Edition offers a snapshot of how more than 1,000 industry leaders and experts perceive the evolving, interconnected risks that cut across society, the economy, the environment, geopolitics and technology. This eighth edition of the report analyzes 50 risks over the coming decade, highlighting the most significant threats to humanity. These are outlined in three risk cases: Testing Economic and Environmental Resilience, The Dangers of Hubris on Human Health, and Digital Wildfires in a Hyper connected World.

Watch highlights of John Drzik's discussion of Global Risks 2013 at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Media coverage of the Global Risk Report 2013.

Listen to John Drzik's podcast with Insurance Journal.

The Global Risk Report 2013 press conference can be viewed here.



The results from the annual Global Risks Perception Survey collate the views of more than
1,000 experts from the World Economic Forum’s communities. Respondents are aged
between 19 and 79, come from different types of organizations, different fields of specialist
knowledge, and from over 100 countries.

For each of the 50 global risks, respondents were asked to assess, on a scale from 1 to 5, the likelihood
of the risks occurring over the next 10 years and the impact if the risk were to occur.

Global Risks 2013

Answers 5 Questions
  • 1What is Global Risks 2013?

    Global Risks 2013 is an annual report produced by the World Economic Forum with support from Marsh & McLennan Companies, Oliver Wyman’s parent company, and other partners which sets the agenda for formal and informal discussions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013, to be held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, in late January. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 industry leaders and experts, the report analyzes 50 of the most significant threats to global prosperity over the coming decade. It identifies evolving, interconnected risks that cut across society, the economy, the environment, geopolitics, and technology.

  • 2Why is this report important?

    When the public and many risk managers think of risk, they tend to focus on fast-moving threats, such as financial market crashes, pandemics, and political upheaval. But there are slow-moving threats that develop over time before suddenly emerging as full-blown crises—when it is too late to act. Global Risks 2013 is the only report of its kind that draws upon a wide range of expert insights to evaluate potential global risks over the next decade. It is a vital tool for facilitating discussions between political and business leaders concerning the best way to respond to the biggest threats to global prosperity.

  • 3What are some of the key findings in this year's report?

    The key finding is that the world’s financial resilience has been weakened and there is a serious risk that we won’t be able to allocate the resources necessary to respond to the increasing risks that we face.  Two “storms” – environmental and economic – are on a collision course. Following a year scarred by extreme weather, from Hurricane Sandy to flooding in China, respondents rated rising greenhouse gas emissions as the third most likely global risk overall, while the failure of climate change adaptation was seen as the environmental risk with the most potential to cascade into other risks over the next decade.

  • 4What can be done about this?

    We need to be more cognizant that global risks are no longer isolated events and that one risk event can significantly affect our ability to respond effectively to not just that risk, but also to others. This is especially true when there is a scarcity of capital as responses will need to draw on a common pool of economic resources.

  • 5Are there any other findings that leaders should be aware of?

    Severe income disparity, followed by chronic fiscal imbalances, was the top global risk for the second time this year. Two other prevalent global risks highlighted in the report are the risk that rising resistance to antibiotics in a hyper connected world could allow pandemics to spread, potentially pushing overburdened health systems to the brink, and the risk that "digital wildfires" will become even more prevalent as the result of the democratization of information, with potentially serious repercussions. The report also highlights “X Factors” – emerging concerns which warrant more research – such as the rogue deployment of geo engineering.