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News Release

New Report Identifies Most Important Global Issues for 2011

Geneva, Switzerland, 20 January 2011

The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2011 report, launched today, emphasizes the importance of rebalancing risks and opportunities and developing collaborative solutions on a global scale. “Today’s global interconnectedness means that it is impossible for any stakeholder to address global challenges in isolation,” says Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Leadership today means navigating a larger, more complex set of issues and more complicated relationships.” The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2011 is a publication of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, incorporating the result of the annual Survey on the Global Agenda of the world’s foremost experts and discussions at the third Summit on the Global Agenda, which brought together more than 600 multidisciplinary thought leaders from 60 countries to discuss the most relevant issues on the global, regional and industry agendas. The World Economic Forum created the Network of Global Agenda Councils in 2008. The councils are charged with monitoring key trends and risks, mapping interrelationships, addressing knowledge gaps and developing recommendations to address key challenges. At this year’s Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai, council members identified four trends which will drive global affairs and must be addressed over the next 12-18 months: • Global Power Shifts: Economic and political power is more spread out and emerging markets have become centres of growth and political decision-making.

• Economic uncertainty: The high degree of volatility and ambiguity across markets will likely lead to irrational investor behaviour, creating the potential for currency wars, fiscal crisis and persistent global imbalances.

• Resource scarcity: With the population set to top 7 billion, the resource strain threatens to undercut growth, create environmental problems and cause social and political conflict.

• Institutional weakness: Institutions which were fragile before the 2008 crisis have become even more so in the face of global instability – as a result, the world is not in a state to withstand further shocks. “Resilient responses to these trends and related risks must be based on the power of interdisciplinary thinking,” says Martina Gmur, Director, Head of Agenda Council Development. “The Forum’s response has been in the creation of the first-ever Risk Response Network which brings together leaders across industries to assess and develop solutions to current and future risks.” According to the report, more than 550 thought leaders rank the “increased concern for corporate social responsibility” and “globalization” as the most overestimated risks, meaning that the global community has lent too much importance to these issues and not enough to others. On the underestimated side of the scale, “growing income disparities” and “increase in demand for resources” are ranked as the most important issues that have not been given enough attention globally. The Risk Response Network (RRN) will bring a new approach to addressing the complexity of risks that leaders face and enable them to capture the upside of those risks. A network of risk experts and counsellors are responsible for responding to this new risk landscape and helping to advance the global goal of rebalancing and represents the next evolution of collaboration to advance global development.

Notes to Editors

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