Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

The world, laden with COVID-19 lesions, is ill-prepared to tackle growing existential threats, warns a new report.

The world is becoming more unequal and the difference, exacerbated by the pandemic, will surely cause additional tension, resentment and further complicate nations’ responses to climate change, economic inequality and social instability, according to a new report.

The Global Risk Report 2022 (PDF) – a 17th edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and released on Tuesday – warns that the economic recovery of the coronavirus, many of which relied on the roll-out of vaccinations, has deepened divisions between nations and in the international community. in general.

In the poorest 52 countries – home to 20 percent of the world’s people – only 6 percent of the population is vaccinated (compared to 69.9 percent in high-income countries), according to the WEF report.

On top of that, inflation, supply chain disruption, rising debt and protectionism are sending the world economy into turbulent waters. These challenges are exacerbated by the risks posed by climate change, the growing threat of cyberattacks, mass migration and a race for space exploration.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus variant at the end of 2021 has confirmed what many economists fear: The global economic recovery is on shaky ground and any disruption could have long-term consequences.

By 2024, developing economies (excluding China) would have fallen 5.5 percent below their pre-pandemic expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth, while advanced economies would have surpassed it by 0.9 percent, according to the WEF.

Restoring trust and fostering cooperation between countries will be essential to address challenges and prevent world nations from drifting further apart, the WEF emphasizes.

Extreme poverty, climate change and rapid digitalisation

The WEF report is based on insights gathered from nearly 1,000 experts who were asked to reflect on the global response to the pandemic and reflect on how world leaders can address future challenges. About 84 percent of those surveyed said they were concerned about where the world was headed.

The report also draws on the perspectives of more than 12,000 country-level leaders from 124 nations who have identified critical risks.

Social cohesion erosion has been classified as the biggest short-term threat in 31 countries – including Argentina, France, Germany, Mexico and South Africa from the Group of 20 Bloc nations. According to the WEF, approximately 51 million more people will be living in extreme poverty compared to the pre-pandemic trend.

A disorderly transition to climate-friendly policies is likely to drive countries apart and create barriers among them. The shift away from carbon-intensive industries will cause economic instability and deepen unemployment, warns the WEF in its report.

The growing reliance on digital systems, which grew tremendously during the pandemic, changed the world forever. And the world is unprepared: In 2020, malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358 percent and 435 percent, respectively.

One thing the pandemic has shown is that no country is immune to economic, environmental and social disturbances. Therefore, governments need to prioritize investing in preparation for the many challenges that await them.

This, says the WEF, means tackling large-scale policy challenges, building resilience against future public health and climate shocks, and encouraging greater private sector participation to find solutions.

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