The Risks Interconnections Map (RIM) and perception survey
A primary objective of the Global Risk Network is to increase awareness and understanding of the interlinkages among risks and the complexity this implies for decisions about risk management and mitigation. The data used to build the Risk Interconnections Map (RIM) (see Figure 2) is drawn from two sources. The connections and strengths are developed using data from the Global Risks Perception Survey. This Web-based survey was completed by over 120 risk experts and members of the Forum's Global Agenda Councils. The nodes on the RIM represent the same assessment data for "severity" as the barometer. The thickness of the lines connecting the risks represent the strength of the relationship between them. Where the first part of a line emanating from one risk is thicker it indicates that risk as the dominant one.
A note on the regional risk maps produced by Zurich Financial Services
The analysis is based on a methodology and data set developed by Zurich Financial Services. The methodology is broadly comparable to statistical cluster analysis that partitions a data set into subsets (or clusters) with the property that the data in each subset (cluster) share common characteristics - in this case the characteristics are risks. Countries with similar risks are close neighbours on the risk map; they form clusters. In contrast, countries that are dissimilar with respect to their risks are displayed comparatively far apart from each other; they are not part of a cluster.
The data set covers 160 countries; the 24 global risks are grouped in five risk classes: economic, environmental, health, geopolitical and technological risks. Hard data is drawn from established public sources and incorporated into the model using parameters for high to low risk developed by Zurich Financial Services. The data used to determine the interconnections among the risks is drawn from the qualitative assessment data on those interconnections established for Global Risks 2008.
The criteria used to define global risks
The criteria for global risks have been set as follows:
Global Scope: To be considered global, a risk should have the potential to affect (including both primary and secondary impact) at least three world regions on at least two different continents. While these risks may have regional or even local origin, their impact can potentially be felt globally.
Cross-Industry Relevance: The risk has to affect three or more industries (including both primary and secondary impact).
Uncertainty: There is uncertainty about how the risk manifests itself within 10 years combined with uncertainty about the magnitude of its impact (assessed in terms of likelihood and severity).
Economic Impact: The risk has the potential to cause economic damage of around US$ 10 billion.
Public Impact: The risk has the potential to cause major human suffering and to trigger considerable public pressure and global policy responses.
Multistakeholder Approach: The complexity of the risk both in terms of its effects and its drivers as well as its interlinkages with other risks require a multistakeholder approach for its mitigation.
The Global Risk Network
To refine its understanding of risk, the Global Risk Network conducted a series of workshops, interviews and meetings throughout 2008 and expanded its work both globally and on a regional basis. This included the publication of three regional reports, Africa@Risk, Europe@Risk and India@Risk, as well as a topical report on emerging markets and high-growth companies, Global Growth@Risk.
Overall, the Global Risk Network identified this year a total of 36 specific risks to the international community over the next 10 years, using an updated taxonomy (compared with 31 risks featured in the 2008 taxonomy). Risks that were previously aggregated for various purposes have been disaggregated throughout this report for consistency and improved comparability year on year. A number of risks on the previous year's list have been removed or rephrased because they failed to meet the criteria of the revised methodology, while the 2009 list also features eight new additions (flagged in the table above and on the visualization of the global risks landscape, inside flaps).