Facing up to risk

29 October 2012

What risks will shape the next 10 years? How prepared are we as nations or businesses to face future risks, and what are the interdependencies and connections between risks that make us more vulnerable? From breakdowns in global governance and failure to adapt to climate change, to the looming threat of deadly pandemic and further economic unrest, all were considered in a recent workshop of the Oxford Martin School and the World Economic Forum’s Risk Response Network.

The World Economic Forum has been helping business and governments monitor, map and make sense of global systemic risks for the past 8 years, since the establishment of its “Global Risk Report”. This year, the Oxford Martin School has joined Zurich Financial Services, Wharton Business School, Oliver Wyman and others as a formal partner in this important initiative.

Oxford academics were asked to help interpret the initial findings of the WEF global risks perception survey, to see if the results resonated with leading research conducted within the School. The survey, which drew more than 1000 worldwide responses, highlighted changes in our perceptions of where risks lie, and also tries to understand the interconnections between risks.

Among the topics discussed at the workshop were:

  • Central themes arising from the risk perception survey
  • Key drivers that may shape the likelihood of risks
  • Actions that can be taken to enhance global/country resilience against risk

The workshop will feed directly into the 2013 Global Risks Report which will be published on 8 January 2013 and provide an intellectual cornerstone of thinking for the WEF’s next annual meeting in Davos.The report is circulated to world leaders in all G20 countries and published in multiple languages including Mandarin and Japanese.