Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk 2012-2013
In 2008 the world suffered a financial market meltdown and the subsequent global recession is a reminder that even in this globalized age borders still matter and traditional geopolitical risk is more important than ever. World leaders faced increasingly complex sets of political and economic challenges, and many of them turned inward, focusing attention on how global events and responses would affect their domestic agendas, while the globalized world began to fragment. The demands of local politics and global business seemed increasingly at odds, and political and business leaders faced challenges more complex than ever.
In this increasingly interconnected world, the power dynamisms are shifting and the super-powers of yesterday can no longer be as confident of their positions, as they have been historically. Although the US has shown economic resilience, Europe is still mired in deep economic crisis, and it is increasingly being said that this crisis is less economic than political. How governments, political parties and international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) respond to this challenge will determine the future of euro as well as the entire eurozone experiment.
Another well-established concept, democracy, has been challenged in the past few months. While some countries like Tunisia and Egypt have taken violent steps towards becoming more democratic and conducting free and fair elections, others have rigidly stayed the same, or worse, receded in the freedom they provide their citizens. This rise in uncertainty is not restricted to the emerging countries, but is threatening to disrupt historical giants like Russia where, according to Dimitri Trenin, there could be signs of a “Russian Awakening”, where the state-led monopolism is being challenged by the worsening economic environment and changing social realities. All these new power struggles are leading to an increase in geo-economic and geo-political challenges all over the world.
- Norway is ranked first as the most effective democracy in the world, according to the Democracy Index 2011, Economic Intelligence Unit.
- Tunisia had the biggest jump in rankings in the Freedom in the World 2012 Index, with its political rights rating improving from seven to three and its status improving from “Not Free” to “Partly Free” due to free and fair elections for the Transitional Constituent Assembly held in October.
- Hong Kong’s economic freedom score is 89.9, making its economy the most free in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom.
“The most under-appreciated risk is the potential failure of international and global organizations to rise to the challenge of addressing today’s global financial and economic crises.”
Douglas Rediker, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation, USA, Vice-Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk
“The G-Zero is a world without effective, consistent leadership. It’s not the G7 world where western industrialized powers set the agenda. It’s not a G20 world where developed and developing states find some way to work together on tough transnational problems. It’s a world where no one can be counted on either to pay the piper or call the tune.”
Ian Bremmer, Director, Eurasia Group, USA, Chair, Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk
G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors’ Meeting
4-5 November 2012
Mexico City, Mexico
The Manama Dialogue, 8th International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Summit
7-9 December 2012
Milken Institute, Global Conference 2013
28 April – 1 May 2013
Los Angeles, USA
Shangri-La Dialogue Asia Security Summit
31 May – 2 June 2013
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Singapore
The Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk aims at establishing Geopolitical (and inherently Geo-economic) Risk as a primary category in the discourse on economic and political global governance. Geopolitical and geo-economic risk transcends the boundaries of bottom-line risk assessments both in the private and the public sector and therefore plays an important role in the deliberations and findings of the Network of the Global Agenda Councils, and the World Economic Forum by extension.
The Council discussions were mainly focused upon two areas of exploration:
- Assessing the effectiveness of global institutions amid the rise of regionalism
- Consequences and key points of this dynamic: expected risks, opportunities, winners and losers
The Council has published an e-book entitled, What’s Next? Essays on Geopolitics that Matter. Authored by Council members, each chapter offers insight into different regions of the world, reporting on its changing world order. The e-book is a collection, rather than a comprehensive portrait of the geopolitical risks being faced, and illustrates where the world might be headed. It explores topics that will be important political and economic drivers for 2013 and years to come. The various chapters cover the eurozone crisis, its link with the IMF, Russia’s long-term future in global politics, the Arab Spring, the divergent path of emerging markets, geopolitics of Asia, innovation in US foreign policy, and the future of Afghanistan.
The Council aims to continue publishing this series on an annual basis, to provide a prognosis of the world’s central geopolitical issues, and to add value to the work of other Councils in the Network of the Global Agenda. It will also continue to work with the Risk Response Network within the World Economic Forum to complement their work in the broader area of identifying and mitigating global risks.
Council Manager: Shubhra Saxena Kabra, Knowledge Manager, Global Agenda Councils, Shubhra.Saxena@weforum.org
Forum Lead: Martin Nagele, Director, Deputy Head of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, Martin.Nagele@weforum.org