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Inflation, extreme weather and wars identified as top global risks

The escalating cost of food and other goods is putting an increasing strain on many societies. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Global stability is most threatened by rising food and energy costs, climate-related disasters and the risk of further military conflict, according to 1,200 experts canvassed by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF Global Risks Report 2023 reflects the concerns of political and business leaders around the world.

The soaring cost of living has been tagged as the most pressing concern within the next two years, followed by natural disasters and ‘Geoeconomic confrontation’ – or warfare.

The list of short-term risks has changed from the last report, issued in January 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact this has had on energy and food prices.

On a ten-year horizon, environmental threats dominate the top four positions, topped by ‘Failure to mitigate climate change’.

Experts who contributed to the report are also concerned by the growing threat of cybercrime in both the short-term and long run.

“The short-term risk landscape is dominated by energy, food, debt and disasters,” said WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi in the 18th Global Risks Report. “In this already toxic mix of known and rising global risks, a new shock event, from a new military conflict to a new virus, could become unmanageable.”

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