Weakened cooperation hampers efforts to tackle global risks

The trade war between the US and China highlights the increasing unwillingness to cooperate at an international level. Keystone

The inability to foster collective action to deal with urgent major crises has reached a critical level, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk Report.

This content was published on January 16, 2019 - 12:54 with input from Kai Reusser (graphic)

Worsening international relations are the main hindrances to tackling growing problems, including a darkening global economic outlook partly caused by geopolitical tensions, WEF announced on Wednesday.

“If economic headwinds pose a threat to international cooperation, efforts will be further disrupted in 2019 by rising geopolitical tensions among major powers,” the Geneva organisation wrote in a press release.

The experts say there is an urgent need to renew international cooperation and concerted action.

“We simply do not have the gunpowder to deal with the kind of slowdown that current dynamics might lead us towards,” Børge Brende, president of the WEF says.

The authors of the report say environmental risks related to climate continue to present the top global hazard (see graphic below), while cyber risks remain virulent.

“Environmental risks also pose problems for urban infrastructure and its development. Shortfalls of investment in critical infrastructure such as transport can lead to system-wide breakdowns as well as exacerbate associated social, environmental and health-related risks,” they write in the executive summary of the reportExternal link.

The annual Risk Report is based on the findings of some 1,000 experts and decision-makers. It was developed by a WEF advisory board, universities in the United States, Britain and Singapore, as well as leading insurance companies in New York and in Switzerland.

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