- Billions are at risk of missing out on the digital leap forward, as growing disparities challenge the social fabric.
- In the medium-term, the global economy will be threatened by the knock-on effects of the coronavirus crisis, while geopolitical stability will be critically fragile over the next 5 to 10 years.
- Environmental risks continue to threaten: they remain top risks by likelihood and impact in this year’s survey.
Unsurprisingly, one of the big changes between this year and last, in terms of risks, has been brought about by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The risk posed by infectious diseases is now ranked at number one, while in 2020 it came in 10th place.
“The immediate human and economic costs of COVID-19 are severe,” the report says. “They threaten to scale back years of progress on reducing global poverty and inequality and further damage social cohesion and global cooperation.”
For those reasons, the pandemic demonstrates why infectious diseases hits the top of the impact list. Not only has COVID-19 led to widespread loss of life, it is holding back economic development in some of the poorest parts of the world, while amplifying wealth inequalities across the globe.
At the same time, there are concerns the fight against the pandemic is taking resources away from other critical health challenges – including a disruption to measles vaccination programmes.
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