Today’s Global Risks Report, an annual publication produced by the World Economic Forum, provides a detailed overview of the most pressing global risks that the world is facing, as identified by experts and decision-makers.
January 13, 2023
The Biggest Global Risks of 2023
The profile of risks facing the world is evolving constantly.
Events like last year’s invasion of Ukraine can send shockwaves through the system, radically shifting perceptions of what the biggest risks facing humanity are.
It provides an overview of the most pressing global risks that the world is facing, as identified by experts and decision-makers.
These risks are grouped into five general categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological.
Let’s dive into this year’s findings.
2023’s Risk Profile
In the lower-middle portion of the chart are the risks that could have serious impacts - such as attacks involving nuclear or biological weapons - highlighted by fewer experts.
Over in the top-right quadrant of the chart are the risks that a number of experts mentioned, and that are causing a strain on society.
Not surprisingly, the top risks are related to issues that impact a wide variety of people, such as the rising cost of living and inflation.
When staples like food and energy become more expensive, this can fuel unrest and political instability - particularly in countries that already had simmering discontent. WEF points out that increases in fuel prices alone led to protests in an estimated 92 countries.
One risk worth watching is geoeconomic confrontation, which includes sanctions, trade wars, investment screening, and other actions that have the intent of weakening the countries on the receiving end. Efforts to mitigate this risk result in some of the key themes we see for the coming year. One example is the onshoring of industries, and “friend-shoring”, which is essentially moving operations to a foreign country that has more stable relations with one’s home country.
One telling observation from the data above is that none of the risks left a majority of experts feeling neither confident in our ability to prevent the risk from occurring nor prepared to mitigate its impact.
As the 2020s are shaping up to be a turbulent decade, that could be a cause for concern.
Watch the Video Below: These Are the Biggest Risks Facing the World - Press Conference
Data note: The chart in this article is based on the Global Risks Perception Survey 2022-2023. A list of 32 global risks, along with their definitions, is shown in Table A.1 of the PDF. Page 77 of the report also includes detailed information on the sample sizes and demographics of respondents.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.
To establish standards for responsible AI practices, GEP has collaborated with the World Economic Forum and prepared this comprehensive report. The report lays down a customizable framework to help businesses adopt ethical AI technology. It has detailed assessment criteria, supplier questionnaires and insights on how to overlay all of it with strong governance.
The 2023 edition of the Global Risks Report highlights the multiple areas where the world is at a critical inflection point, and is a call to action, to collectively prepare for the next crisis the world may face.