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In tumultuous times, the ability to anticipate risks and navigate through them is crucial. The latest Global Risks Report 2024, published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Marsh McLennan, presents the findings of the Global Risks Perception Survey, which captures insights from nearly 1,500 global experts.

Against a backdrop of rapid technological advancements, economic uncertainties, climate change, and geopolitical tensions, this report provides valuable insights to help leaders anticipate future trends and prepare for potential risks before they materialize. 

10 risks to watch out for in the next two years

The impact of misinformation and disinformation

The spread of false information, whether intentional (disinformation) or not (misinformation), poses a significant risk and further widens societal and political divides. Over the next two years, the widespread use of misinformation and disinformation, and tools to disseminate it, could undermine the legitimacy of newly elected governments and compromise industries from media and technology to healthcare.

Climate change’s role in extreme weather events

Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of unusually fierce climatological events that can cause widespread damage to infrastructure, disrupt supply chains, and threaten lives and livelihoods.

The risks of deep societal polarization

Divisions within societies, often fueled by political, economic, or cultural differences, can lead to social unrest and instability. Companies must harness risk, build resilience, and promote inclusivity for sustainable development.

Navigating the growing threat of cyber insecurity

As reliance on digital technologies grows, so does the risk of cyberattacks. These can disrupt services, compromise personal data, and even threaten national security. Understanding the trends driving cybersecurity today is critical for business and government leaders.

The implications of interstate armed conflict

Geopolitical tensions and rivalries between nations can escalate into armed conflicts, posing risks to global peace and stability. Diplomatic efforts, conflict resolution mechanisms, and international cooperation are vital for preventing and mitigating such conflicts.

Lack of economic opportunity

Socioeconomic inequality and lack of opportunities can lead to social unrest and political instability. Promoting inclusive economic growth and reducing income disparities are crucial for sustainable development.

The consequences of inflation on economies 

Rapidly rising prices can erode purchasing power, leading to a decrease in living standards and, eventually, social unrest. Effective monetary policies and fiscal measures are necessary to manage inflationary pressures and maintain price stability.

Involuntary migration challenges

Forced displacement due to conflict, persecution, or environmental disasters can lead to humanitarian crises. It can also strain resources and increase tensions in host communities. Developing comprehensive migration policies and providing support to displaced populations are essential for managing migration challenges.

Economic downturn and repercussions

Economic slowdowns can lead to job losses, reduced consumer spending, and overall economic instability — and exacerbate inequalities. Implementing robust economic policies and fostering resilience can help mitigate the impacts of economic downturns.

Environmental risks of pollution

Pollution, particularly in the air and water, poses significant health risks and contributes to environmental degradation, including climate change. Adopting sustainable practices, promoting clean technologies, and strengthening environmental regulations are crucial for addressing pollution challenges.

By understanding and addressing these top 10 risks, policymakers, businesses, and individuals can work toward building a more resilient and sustainable future.