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Published: 10 January 2024

Global Risks Report 2024

Appendix A: Definitions and Global Risks List

For the purposes of this report, “Climate change” is a structural force that encompasses the trajectories of global warming and possible consequences to Earth systems, reflecting anthropogenic actions and environmental changes.

“Demographic bifurcation” is a structural force that refers to changes to the size, growth and structure of national, regional or global populations, and the resulting impact on socioeconomic and political structures. It includes, but is not limited to, migration, fertility and ageing rates.

“Geostrategic shifts” is a structural force that refers to changing geopolitical power dynamics. It encompasses global and regional alliances and relations, the offensive and defensive projection of different sources of power (including economic), and national attitudes relating to key actors, governance mechanisms and strategic goals.

“Global risk” is the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global GDP, population or natural resources.

“Structural force” is the long-term shift in the arrangement of and relation between the systemic elements of the global landscape. These shifts are not risks in and of themselves, but have the potential to materially influence the speed, spread and scope of global risks. These include but are not limited to: geostrategic shifts, technological acceleration, climate change and demographic bifurcation.

“Technological acceleration” is a structural force that refers to technological developments enabled by exponential growth in computing power and analysis. It has the potential to blur boundaries between technology and humanity, and rapidly give rise to novel and unpredictable global risks.

“Under-the-radar risk” is a global risk where new intelligence, a marked deterioration, key decision point or similar suggests that the severity of the risk (likelihood or impact) is increasing and/or is higher than indicated by global risk perceptions.

Table A.1 presents the list of 34 global risks and definitions adopted in the Global Risks Perception Survey 2023-2024.

To ensure legibility, the names of some of the global risks have been abbreviated in the figures throughout the report. The portion of the full name used in the abbreviation is in bold in Table A.1.

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