India in debt trap, its youth disillusioned, global survey finds

“Global Risks Report 2022” is out and as with all countries it also listed the top risks for India. The country faces broken state-to-state relations, debt crises, widespread youth disillusionment, failed tech governance and digital inequality among top five risks, according to the survey. Leaders Opinion (EOS) of the World Economic Forum. The report draws on findings from the EOS and the Global Risk Perceptions Survey (GRPS) to compile its findings.

Climate change dominates the discourse

The report delves deeper into the risks facing the world today. As perceived by several respondents in the report, climate action failure, extreme weather events and biodiversity loss are among the top three global risks.

The report took into account the views of more than 12,000 national leaders who identified critical near-term risks for their 124 countries, brought together through EOS and 1,000 global experts, leaders and other participants through the GRPS.

According to the report, respondents highlighted the lack of implementation of effective measures by governments to contain climate change. He says that this “concern reveals a lack of confidence in the world’s ability to contain climate change, particularly due to worsening societal fractures and economic risks”.

In addition to these three main environmental concerns, there are two more serious climate-related risks. Environmental damage and natural resource crises feature in this list as the seventh and eighth most serious risks globally over the next 10 years.

Covid-19 delays efforts to tackle climate change

As noted in the report, the economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic risks setting back efforts to combat climate change. Absolute climate inaction can lead to losses of between 4% and 18% of global GDP with varying levels of impact depending on the region.

In the survey carried out before the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, 77% of participants said that international efforts to mitigate climate change had “not started” or were in the “early development” stage.

Erosion of social cohesion, livelihood crises and infectious diseases are respectively identified as the fourth, fifth and sixth main risks. Debt crises and geo-economic clashes rank ninth and tenth respectively.

Growing disparities and geopolitical conflicts

The report indicates that the erosion of social cohesion is the risk that has worsened the most globally since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. The disparities will only widen, he warns. Citing research from the World Bank, the report mentions that the richest 20% of the world’s population will have recovered half of their losses by 2021, while the poorest 20% will have lost another 5% of their income. By 2030, 51 million more people are expected to live in extreme poverty compared to pre-Covid times.

Similarly, geopolitical fractures will also widen, and some of them will be visible in the economic area. The report mentions how India and Japan implemented protectionist policies during the pandemic.

Digital inequality and technological risks

Although not among the top 10 serious risks, technological risks, such as digital inequalities and cybersecurity failures, are nevertheless alarming. GRPS respondents identified them as critical short- and medium-term threats to the world.

The world saw a 435% increase in ransomware in 2020. He noted that 95% of cybersecurity issues could be attributed to human error. The UK has seen a significant increase in internet banking fraud. It grew 117% in volume and 43% in value compared to 2020 as more people made purchases online.

Among the most vulnerable in this category are those who only log in now or who will soon. Around 40% of the world’s population is not yet connected to the Internet.

Increase in migration

The report notes how climate change along with economic hardship and political unrest have forced millions of people to leave their homes in search of a better future abroad. ‘Involuntary migration’ is a top long-term concern for GRPS respondents, while 60% see ‘migration and refugees’ as an area where international mitigation efforts have ‘not started’ or are in “early development”. More frequent and extreme weather events, including fires, floods and droughts, could displace more than 200 million people by 2050

These migratory pressures are likely to create international tensions.

Growing competition in space

Rising competition for a slice of outer space could spark friction. About 11,000 satellites were launched from Sputnik 1 in 1957, but another 70,000 could enter orbit in the coming decades.

The report states: “Although the risk is still relatively low, an increase in the number of satellites also increases the risk of collision or, at the very least, the need to engage in emergency manoeuvres. For example, the International Space Station (ISS) was damaged in May 2021 when debris entered its robotic arm.

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