Geneva, Switzerland - There is a growing disconnect between the power of global risk to cause major systemic disruption and our ability to mitigate it. This is one of the main conclusions released today in the annual Global Risks report, published by the World Economic Forum in cooperation with Citigroup, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Swiss Re and the Wharton School Risk Center. The Global Risks 2007 report identifies 23 core global risks (see below), and suggests that many of these risks have worsened over the last 12 months, despite growing awareness of their potential impacts.  The 23 Core Risks identified by the Global Risk Network include:* Technological: breakdown of critical information infrastructure; emergency of risks associated with nanotechnology.* Societal: pandemics; infection diseases in the developing world; chronic disease in the developed world, and liability regimes.* Geopolitical: international terrorism; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; interstate and civil wars; failed and failing states; transnational crime; retrenchment from globalization; Middle East instability.* Environmental: climate change; loss of freshwater services; national catastrophes (tropical storms, earthquakes and inland flooding).* Economic: oil price shock/energy supply interruptions; U.S. current account deficit/fall in US$; Chinese economic hard landing; fiscal crises caused by demographic shift, and blow up in asset prices/excessive indebtedness. In addition to specific risk mitigation measures, which would require the utmost in global support, communication and technologies, the report suggests that institutional innovations may be needed to create effective responses to a complex risk landscape.  The report identifies two such innovations: first, the appointment of Country Risk Officers - an analogy to chief risk officers in the corporate world -- that could provide a focal point in government for mitigating global risks across departments, learning from private-sector approaches and escaping a 'silo-based' approach.  “Risks are often still viewed and dealt with in isolation,” says Jacques Aigrain, Chief Executive Officer of Swiss Re. “However, in today's world, global risks are tightly interwoven. To address our contemporary risk landscape, governments and enterprises need to take a holistic approach to overcome silo thinking and acting. We need to prioritize risks effectively, improve preparedness and strengthen public-private partnerships to mitigate risks and to finance economic losses. Finally, we propose to coordinate global risk mitigation efforts by creating the function of Country Risk Officers at governmental level who regularly meet on an international level." The second innovation would be the creation of flexible “coalitions of the willing" around specific global risk issues that can provide momentum to mitigation efforts. This would allow mitigation strategies to emerge from dynamic interplay between governments and business, achieving a balance between inclusiveness and decisiveness, says the report. In addition, the report recommends a number of key needs for addressing specific global risks, including: * Linking energy security with considerations on climate change * Urgently beginning work on a successor to the Kyoto agreement with three central principles: * Involvement of the United States and major developing countries (particularly China and India); * Differential responsibilities for future emissions' reduction dependent upon past emissions and stage of economic development; and, * Common overall responsibility for climate change * Renewing terrorism insurance schemes scheduled to sunset in 2007 in some form; improve framework for public-private arrangements in other countries, and * In order to prepare for a pandemic, governments should increase research into the identification of critical choke-points in the supply/value chain where skill sets are rare, interdependencies are greatest and the risk of triggering systemic failure is highest.  "While risk mitigation is set to be a key theme at this year's meeting in Davos, there is continued evidence of a disconnect between risk and mitigation," said Mike Cherkasky, President and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC). "The focus of government and corporations must not only be on reacting to events but on utilizing effective enterprise risk management to set priorities, increase business focus, allocate resources and maximize efficiency. Catastrophic natural disasters in recent years have demonstrated that our ability to confront emerging risks depends more on the choices we make before a disruption than the actions we take during a crisis. Only a systematic planning approach will ensure that countries and companies are prepared for the risk environment we presently face."  The topics identified in the report will be at the core of the agenda for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum taking place later this month in Davos, Switzerland.  "While opinion suggests that levels of risk are rising in almost all of the 23 risks on which the Global Risk Network has been focused over the last year, the mechanisms in place to manage and mitigate these risks are inadequate; world leaders must act now," says Thierry Malleret, Director, Head of Global Challenges Team of the World Economic Forum. "While the global economy has been expanding faster than at any time in history, it remains vulnerable."   Compiled by the Global Risk Network of the World Economic Forum, Global Risks 2007 draws insights from leading domain experts engaged throughout 2006 and from partnership with Citigroup, Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), Swiss Re and the Wharton School Risk Center. In 2007, the Global Risk Network will build on this report in extending its global work. Sources: WebWire, World Economic Forum  

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