Back to search

Global Risks report 2017

The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.

2016 saw a crystallization of political risks that have led to the election of populist leaders, a loss of faith in institutions and increased strain on international cooperation. We should not be surprised by this: for the past decade, the Global Risks Report has been drawing attention to persistent economic, social and political factors that have been shaping our risks landscape.

The year 2017 will present a pivotal moment for the global community. The threat of a less cooperative, more inward-looking world also creates the opportunity to address global risks and the trends that drive them. This will require responsive and responsible leadership with a deeper commitment to inclusive development and equitable growth, both nationally and globally. It will also require collaboration across multiple interconnected systems, countries, areas of expertise, and stakeholder groups with the aim of having a greater societal impact.

In Part 1, the Report draws on the trends and risks highlighted in the latest GRPS to outline the key challenges that the world now faces: reviving economic growth;reforming market capitalism; facing up to the importance of identity and community; managing technological change; protecting and strengthening our systems of global cooperation; and deepening our efforts to protect the environment.

Part 2, explores three social and political risks in greater depth. The first chapter considers whether recent political trends amount to a crisis of Western democracy. It looks at underlying patterns that have led to a weakening of democratic legitimacy and points to three strategies that might help to restore it. The second piece highlights the importance of civil society in mitigating risks and assesses trends towards the curtailment of civil society organizations’ freedom to operate.

The final chapter in this part of the Report looks at one of the gravest long-term challenges facing the world: how to build systems of social protection that can cope with the seismic demographic, economic and other changes that have transfigured social structures and individual lives over the last three decades.

Part 3, turns towards technology, which is at once a source of disruption and polarization and an inevitable part of whatever responses to these trends we choose to pursue. Informed by the results of a special GRPS module on emerging technologies, the urgency of the governance challenge in this area is stressed. This is followed by two in-depth assessments of specific technological risks: first, in relation to artificial intelligence, and second, in relation to our rapidly changing physical infrastructure needs and vulnerabilities.

This year’s report will examine the five greatest priorities facing the world in 2017, their interconnections and the actions necessary to avoid their harshest fall-out. See The Risks-Trends Interconnections Map(page 3)The Global Risks Landscape 2017(page 5) and more from Global Risks report 2017 and the ten most likely global risks