As suggested in this report, although the interconnected view of global risks adds greater complexity to decision-making, it is vital in developing effective strategies to manage risks. These interconnections do not always reflect a direct causal relationship, as risks are often linked indirectly through common impacts or mitigation trade-offs. For many of the global risks discussed in this report, the ownership of these risks remains fragmented and unclear, and it is often difficult to identify actors willing and able to take ownership. This, coupled with the complexity of interdependencies, is perhaps why so many of these issues remain endemic and systemic in nature, although their existence and potential impact is known. Global Risks 2008 already warned that should a systemic financial risk lead to a serious deterioration in the world economy, the impetus for collaborative mitigation might falter as leaders' attention turned to more immediate concerns; the same is true for many other so-called "creeping risks". Thus far, the response to the global impact of the financial crisis and ensuing downturn has been a willingness to cooperate on common strategies and more effective global governance to address global risks. The next months and years will put that willingness to test.
Thus, this fifth edition of Global Risks highlights that a number of open questions remain and many of the priorities flagged in earlier editions are still unaddressed. This report is envisioned as part of an ongoing dialogue between different stakeholders aimed at understanding a complex, interconnected risks landscape. It suggests how some of these challenges might be addressed and by extension enhance global resilience to risk. To this end, the Global Risk Network has worked closely with the Forum's Global Agenda Councils (GACs). At their annual Summit on the Global Agenda, the Global Agenda Councils offered some overarching recommendations for more effective management of systemic risks and vulnerabilities. They emphasized that these would need to be applied globally and that more effective forms of governance would be central to their efficacy. These recommendations, which echo many of those made in past Global Risks reports, were that institutions and governments collaborate to:
| ||Take a long-term approach to global risk identification, analysis, tracking and mitigation |
| ||Use frameworks that reflect risk interconnections rather than silo approaches|
| ||Address the need for more robust data on key risks and trends to be collected and shared in a coordinated manner|
| ||Conduct cost-benefit analysis on risk solutions to improve fund allocation and better understand the long-term benefits of investment choices|
| ||Track emerging risks and educate leaders and the public about real, rather than perceived threats|
| ||Communicate clearly and consistently about the nature of threats and about strategies to manage and mitigate them|
| ||Understand the influence of behavioural aspects of risk perception|
A call came from many of the councils for action on these proposals to be taken by a new umbrella mechanism or body, a "Global System Risk and Vulnerability Facility" which could work with existing groups to take up these proposals. Leaders now recognize that the world is inadequately equipped to deal with global risks. The context in which decisionmaking processes happen has shifted radically from one where the immediate prevailed to one where a long-term perspective is vital. To fight systemic crises effectively we need systemic risk management. This report is a reminder of the urgency for action at individual, corporate, national and supra-national levels. "Going back to business as usual" is no longer an option. Behaviour needs to change at all levels: individual, corporate, political, if new, more forwardlooking models and mechanisms for global governance are to be truly effective in managing the risks the world faces.