Global Risks 2014

A snapshot of Global Risks, Ninth Edition

This report offers a snapshot of how more than 700 industry leaders and experts perceive evolving, interconnected risks that cut across national boundaries, the economy, technology, society, and the environment.  

This ninth edition of the report analyzes 31 global risks over the coming decade, highlighting the risks of highest concern. These are outlined in three risk cases: Instabilities in an Increasingly Multipolar World, Generation Lost?, and Digital Disintegration.

Read John Drzik's post, Leadership lessons in a fragmented world, on the World Economic Forum blog.

In Part Two of Global Risks 2014, John Drzik discusses how a fractured geopolitical environment can harm global economic development and what business leaders can do.

Risk Landscape 2014

The results from the annual Global Risks Perception Survey collate the views of more than 700 leaders and decision makers from the World Economic Forum’s global community. For each of 31 selected global risks, respondents were asked to nominate their risks of highest concern, the likelihood of the risks occurring over the next 10 years, and the impact if the risk were to occur.

Fiscal crises were the top concern, followed by issues such as structural unemployment, severe income disparity, and the failure of global governance and financial institutions. 


Global Risks 2014

John Drzik, President of Global Risk and Specialties at Marsh Answers 5 Questions
  • 1What is Global Risks 2014?

    Global Risks 2014 is an annual report produced by the World Economic Forum with support from Marsh & McLennan Companies and other partners. It helps to set the agenda for formal and informal discussions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland. Based on a survey of more than 700 industry leaders and experts, the report analyzes 31 of the most significant threats to global prosperity over the coming decade. It identifies evolving, interconnected risks that cut across national boundaries, the economy, technology, society, and the environment.

  • 2Why is this report important?

    When the public and many risk managers think of risk, they tend to focus on dramatic, fast-moving threats. But there are also latent risks that develop over time before emerging as full-blown crises—when it is too late to prevent them. Global Risks 2014 is the only report of its kind that draws upon a wide range of expert insights to evaluate potential global risks that could develop over the next decade.

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

    A key message this year is that today’s increasingly fractured geopolitical environment threatens to undermine our ability to deal with global shocks and could impede progress in critical industries such as financial services, healthcare, and energy. This fragmentation is making it difficult for business leaders to build consensus across countries, and as a result, we are not taking concerted action on critical global challenges like climate change, internet governance, and illicit trade.

  • 4What can be done about this?

    Business leaders should follow two parallel tracks. They should work together with political leaders to strengthen some of the critical multilateral institutions needed to mitigate the risks emerging from a more fractured context. At the same time, they should adapt their strategies to the emerging landscape to capitalize on new opportunities created by the changing geopolitical outlook. This could mean forging new cross-border partnerships that span the interests of both the public and private sector.

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

    Global Risks 2014 explores two other broad risks that may affect global development over the coming decade. One chapter titled “Digital Disintegration” analyzes how cyberspace could become severely compromised by the growing strength of attacks and dwindling levels of trust -- at a huge cost to economies and societies. A chapter titled “Generation Lost?” offers insight into how pervasively high rates of youth unemployment risk stoking social unrest and squandering the human and economic potential of an entire global generation.