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10 greatest threats facing the world in 2014


Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY 12:26 p.m. EST January 16, 2014

Story Highlights

  • World Economic Forum's 'Global Risks 2014' report released Thursday
  • Income disparities and water crises are among most pressing concerns
  • Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum kicks off next week


The World Economic Forum on Thursday released its Global Risks 2014 report.

"Taking a 10-year outlook, the report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place," is how the WEF describes the report in a statement accompanying its release.

"The risks are grouped under five classifications — economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological — and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact," the statement says.

The report canvasses the views of 700 experts from around the world. Ten of what the WEF calls the "global risks of highest concern" for 2014 are as follows:

  • Fiscal crises in key economies

"Fiscal crises feature as the top risk in this year's Global Risks report. Advanced economies remain in danger, while many emerging markets have seen credit growth in recent years, which could fuel financial crises. A fiscal crisis in any major economy could easily have cascading global impacts."

  • Structurally high unemployment/underemployment

"Unemployment appears second overall, as many people in both advanced and emerging economies struggle to find jobs. Young people are especially vulnerable – youth unemployment is as high as 50% in some countries and underemployment (with low-quality jobs) remains prevalent, especially in emerging and developing markets."

  • Water crises

"Environmental risks feature prominently on this year's list. Water crises, for instance, rank as the third highest concern, illustrating a continued and growing awareness of the global water crisis as a result of mismanagement and increased competition for already scarce water resources."

  • Severe income disparity

"Closely associated in terms of societal risk, income disparity is also among the most worrying issues. Concerns have been raised about the squeezing effect the financial crisis had on the middle classes in developed economies, while globalization has brought about a polarization of incomes in emerging and developing economies."

  • Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation

"Even as governments and corporations are called upon to speed up greenhouse gas reduction, it is clear that the race is on not only to mitigate climate change but also to adapt. Failure to adapt has the biggest effect on the most vulnerable, especially those in least developed countries."

  • Greater incidence of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, fires)

"Climate change is the key driver of uncertain and changing weather patterns, causing an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. The Global Risks 2014 report draws attention to the combined implications of these environmental risks on key development and security issues, such as food security and political and social instability, ranked 8th and 10th respectively."

  • Global governance failure

"The risk of global governance failure, which lies at the heart of the risk map, was viewed by respondents as one of the risks that is most connected to others. Weak or inadequate global institutions, agreements or networks, combined with competing national and political interests, impede attempts to cooperate on addressing global risks."

  • Food crises

"One of the top societal risks in the report, food crises occur when access to appropriate quantities and quality of food and nutrition becomes inadequate or unreliable. Food crises are strongly linked to the risk of climate change and related factors."

  • Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution

"Over five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the failure of a major financial mechanism or institution also features among the risks that respondents are most concerned about, as uncertainty about the quality of many banks' assets remains."

  • Profound political and social instability

"At number 10 is the risk that one or more systemically critical countries will experience significant erosion of trust and mutual obligations between states and citizens. This could lead to state collapse, internal violence, regional or global instability and, potentially, military conflict."

READ THE FULL REPORT: Global Risks 2014 (Ninth Edition)

The WEF's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, begins next week on Jan. 22.

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I'm a little lost by this post.  what is the purpose of it to pass on a ploitical agenda as a list of prayer requests or what exactly.

the conference in Davos is known for its far leftist views, while some of these are good and generic and deserve prayer the rest tend to be social agenda looking for support.

Reading through this list as a backdrop to what the book of Revelation tells us is going to happen in the end times, however, does lead me personally to prayer as it's quite evident that our Lord's return is getting closer and closer. Didn't personally read it as a "political agenda' which I'm supposed to agree with or reject, but rather as more of a synopsis of where our world is heading--more globalization, more and greater "natural" disasters, increasing financial and political instability ("wars and rumors of wars"), and the stage being set for the antichrist to appear, rise to power, and be embraced by a world that has rejected Christ. Yes, I believe that there's lots to pray about here.    

Thanks for commenting Victor and Dave ...

My hope was to prompt a questioning of the Holy Spirit as to how the Church can pray about these issues.

Insights welcomed ...


We're experiencing the worst drought in California right now , been praying for the farmers
I think the purpose is to pray the opposite
The Church needs to pray for people (the lost and the least; those we love and those who lead) but also places (cities, for example, are important to the Lord) and things (the issues we have abdicated to the pagan culture) ... So that, our praying begins to influence and impact culture towards a Christ awakening.

Ok everyone first I must apologize for reacting yesterday when I first read Phil's post. I hope I did not offend anyone to the point that thy decided not to pray for the people involved with these issues that was in no way my intention. Actually my outburst was based on my frustration with the attitude of some people I deal with and in no way a reflection of my attitude towards Phil, this post or this website.

I do have many things that I see in the lists that need prayer they are in the consequences of these situations and not in the actual issue in the headline. I do not pray for governments to stop Climate change because I think that is typical of Man's ego to believe they can control the world and be a god. Income inequality has been around since the fall of man. Many of these issues I can only think of praying for Gods will to be done and not Man's because I do not know what God has planned or how he may be using the situation to bring people to Him or chastise people.

So to briefly sum up I am sorry if any rants or comments caused anyone that read this to stumble or any offense. Phil you may want to remove my original post so it doesn't cause any future distraction from your intended goal.



NO offense taken and no apology necessary. You asked a valid question and sparked a good discussion!

Love in Christ,


I agree Phil. Lets remember that we serve the most high God and that the Light has already won. That said, a couple of things to remember: its important to ask Holy Spirit how we should respond and pray, its important to not limit the Gospel to Social Justice rather than Eternal Mercies, and the Promise of Greater Works is for all! A Red Sea was parted, Lazarus was resurrected, Elijah prayed a soaked sacrifice to crispiness. God is looking for people that He can release his Power through. Or Jesus' words are wrong and Im a bad reader/exegete of Scripture. God please awaken your Bride to remember who they are in you, so that the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God. I recall evil people (society) in the Elijah story with the 400 false prophets, who once God showed up, those who were riding the fence at once joined the God of Abraham Isaac and Israel. God wants to do this again!!!

I so agree that we must be led by the Holy Spirit as to how to pray. The main thing is to pray.. At all all ways... on every occasion.. With thankfulness and praise.
I just read this in an old Grace Livingston Hill book and it has given me much thought.
What's wrong with the world? There are just four things wrong with the world today, four things that are out of place.

First, the Jews are out of place. They belong in Palestine according to God's covenant, and they are scattered over the world because of their sin and unbelief.

Second, the church is out of place. She belongs in heaven with her Lord Jesus Christ, and she is settled down comfortably in this world.

Third, the devil is out of place. He should be in the lake of fire, and he is the ruling sovereign of this world. Although he is a defeated ruler, he is still in office, ruling politics, economics, religion, every phase of life in the world.

Fourth, The Lord Jesus Christ is out of place. He has defeated Satan as sovereign and should be here, King of the earth, but He is still seated on His father's throne, waiting for His Inauguration Day. It will surely come! And at about the same time, the other three wrongs will be righted.

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