The World Economic Forum (WEF) is calling for a redoubling of efforts to protect and strengthen systems of global collaboration in the face of increasingly disruptive risk trends.
In its just-released Global Risks Report 2017, the WEF warns that risk drivers such as income inequality, polarization of societies, and climate change need to be addressed collaboratively if solutions are to be found to the world’s most complex problems.
Nowhere is cooperation more urgent than in addressing climate and environmental risks, the WEF said. While important strides have been made in the past year, the pace of change is not fast enough and more needs to be done.
The WEF cited the Paris Agreement on climate change now ratified by 110 countries, and the landmark agreement to curb CO2 emissions from international aviation as important examples of global cooperation in 2016.
But political change in the United States and Europe is putting this progress at risk.
“This is a febrile time for the world. We face important risks, but also opportunities to take stock and to work together to find new solutions to our shared problems. More than ever, this is a time for all stakeholders to recognize the role they can play be exercising responsible and responsive leadership on global risks.”
The environment dominates the global risks landscape outlined in the WEF report, with extreme weather events emerging as the single most prominent global risk and climate change the number two underlying trend this year.
Society is also not keeping pace with technological change, the WEF noted. While new and emerging technologies can provide solutions they also exacerbate risks.
Artificial intelligence and robotics were identified as having both the highest potential for negative consequences and also the greatest need for better governance in this year’s risk survey.
The private and public sectors need to work together and collaborate to address the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the WEF said.