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Geopolitical Risks Focus of World Economic Forum in 2024

Geopolitical Risks Rise in 2024

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is set to focus on geopolitical risks as a central theme in its 2024 annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland. As the world grapples with economic uncertainty and global risks, the impact of geopolitical tensions on the global economy is a pressing concern. Strategies to address cross-border economic challenges and collective responses to economic crises will take center stage in the discussions at the forum.

In our view, the biggest concern after looking at this report is the risk to collective responses to global issues. Take in point the Red Sea trade disruption by the Houthis. Even though China is one of the primary beneficiaries of keeping the sea lanes open in the Red Sea so that cargo ships from China can reach Europe, it did not join the maritime coalition against the Houthis. The shifting geopolitical landscape where China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are increasing their alliance is part of the reason. Thus, going against the Houthis would also entail going against Iran since they are supporting the Houthis. China benefits from the US being preoccupied in the Middle East so that it can bring less resources to bear in the the potential conflict brewing in the South China Sea with Taiwan.

On the positive side regarding a collective response, the UN passed a resolution against the Houthis on disrupting Red Sea shipping and trade in the world economy.  Both Russia and China abstained on the vote, thus allowing it to pass. This should be seen that this UN resolution was in the interests of all countries.

Collective Responses to Global Risks and Economic Crisis

The rise of geopolitical tensions has had far-reaching implications for the global economy, leading to fluctuations in energy prices, disruption of supply chains, and increased market volatility. These uncertainties have underscored the critical need for comprehensive risk assessment and management to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape.

Given the interconnected nature of the global economy, addressing cross-border economic challenges requires coordinated efforts among nations and international organizations. Collaborative initiatives aimed at bolstering trade relations, enhancing financial regulations, and promoting economic stability will be essential components of the discussions at the WEF.

Two main concerns of the report were the risks eminating from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Environmental Risk. These will be addressed below. In addition, the growing divide in terms of income within nations is a concern regarding social stability. This divide could be pushed further from AI and the environment.

AI and Geopolitical Domination

As expectations for AI dominance in global issues continue to grow, the intersection of AI and geopolitical risks becomes a pivotal focal point in the discussions at the WEF. The influence of AI on the global economy over the next two years, as well as its impact on global risk assessment and management, will be examined to ascertain the evolving role of technology in shaping geopolitical dynamics.

Concerns here are related to military applications, dangers inherent in AI systems and misinformation risk particularly in democratic nations. With key elections upcoming in the US and other countries, how could misinformation and disinformation affect the democratic process.

Environmental Concerns and Global Risks

Addressing misinformation and disinformation on environmental issues will feature prominently in the discussions at the WEF. As the forum directs its focus towards environmental risks, the role of artificial intelligence in assessing and managing environmental risks will emerge as a significant aspect in the context of evolving geopolitical landscapes.

For example, the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation on environmental issues poses a substantial challenge to effective risk management and policymaking. The WEF’s emphasis on addressing this issue reflects the imperative to counter misinformation with accurate data and informed strategies for environmental risk mitigation.

The WEF’s deliberate focus on environmental risks underscores the recognition of the interconnectedness between environmental challenges and global geopolitical dynamics. Discussions will center on incorporating sustainable environmental policies and practices into broader geopolitical risk management frameworks to foster long-term global sustainability.

The integration of artificial intelligence in assessing environmental risks heralds a paradigm shift in proactive environmental management and mitigation strategies. Leveraging AI to analyze environmental data and predict potential risks will be a critical aspect of the WEF’s deliberations on shaping comprehensive approaches to address environmental challenges amidst geopolitical uncertainties.