File file Mark Schiefelbein / AP
LONDON Cyber security and space are emerging threats to the global economy, adding to the existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum said in a report on Tuesday.
of Global Risk Report is usually released ahead of the annual elite winter meeting of CEOs and world leaders at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but the event has been postponed for the second year in a row due to COVID-19. The World Economic Forum is still planning some virtual sessions next week.
Here is a summary of the report, which is based on a survey of around 1000 experts and leaders:
World perspective: As 2022 begins, the pandemic and its economic and social impact still pose a “critical threat” to the world, the report said. The large differences between the access of rich and poor countries to vaccines mean that their economies are recovering at unequal rates, which could widen social divisions and increase geopolitical tensions.
By 2024, the global economy is projected to be 2.3% smaller than it would have been without the pandemic. But this masks the different growth rates between developing countries, whose economies are projected to be 5.5% smaller than before the pandemic, and rich countries, which are expected to expand by 0.9%.
Digital risks: The pandemic forced a major shift that required many people to work or attend classes from home and triggering a growing number of online platforms and devices to help a transformation that has dramatically increased security risks, the report said. .
“We are now at the point where cyber threats are growing faster than our ability to effectively prevent and manage them,” said Carolina Clint, a head of risk management at Marsh, whose parent company Marsh McLennan co-authored. of the report with Zurich Insurance Group.
Cyber-attacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread, as criminals use harsher tactics to pursue more vulnerable targets, the report said. Malware and ransomware attacks have flourished, while the rise of cryptocurrencies makes it easy for cybercriminals to hide the payments they have collected.
While respondents to the survey cited cyber security threats as a short- and medium-term risk, Clint said the report’s authors were concerned that the issue did not rank higher, suggesting it is a “blind spot” for companies and governments.
Space racing: Space is the ultimate limit to risk.
Falling costs for release technology have led to a new spatial race between companies and governments. Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism venture took off, while Elon Musk’s Space X business made huge profits in launching astronauts and satellites.
Meanwhile, a number of countries are stepping up their space programs while pursuing geopolitical and military power or scientific and commercial benefits, the report said.
But all of these programs increase the risk of friction in orbit.
“Increased utilization of these orbits carries the risk of overcrowding, increased waste and the possibility of collisions in a kingdom with few governing structures to mitigate new threats,” the report said.
Experts and leaders who responded to the poll “do not believe much is being done in the best possible way forward,” World Economic Forum managing director Saadia Zahidi told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
Utilizing space is one of the areas that respondents felt had the least international cooperation to deal with the challenges.
Climate crisis: The environment remains the biggest long-term concern.
The planet’s health over the next decade is the dominant concern, according to survey respondents, who cited failure to act on climate change, extreme weather and biodiversity loss as the top three risks.
The report noted that different countries are taking different approaches, with some moving faster to adopt a zero-carbon model than others. Both approaches come with negative side. While the slow move may radicalize more people who think the government is not acting urgently, a faster shift from carbon-intensive industries could spark economic turmoil and drive millions out of work.
“Adoption of hasty environmental policies can also have unintended consequences for nature,” the report added. “There are still many unknown risks from the deployment of untested biotechnology and geoengineering technologies.”
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