Ahead of Davos, WEF sees world riskier than ever

World leaders gather next week in the Swiss town against a background of increasingly frequent environmental crises. (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Ahead of Davos, WEF sees world riskier than ever

  • 78 percent of survey respondents said they expect ‘economic confrontations’ and ‘domestic political polarization’ to rise in 2020

LONDON: The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report - traditionally the curtain raiser to the Davos annual meeting - is its most gloomy in years, highlighting economic and geopolitical strain as immediate threats and climate change as the dominant long-term challenge facing the world.

In stark terms, the report stated” “Economic and political polarization will rise this year, as collaboration between world leaders, businesses and policy-makers is needed more than ever to stop severe threats to our climate, environment, public health and technology systems.”

World leaders gather next week in the Swiss town against a background of increasingly frequent environmental crises raging from the wild fires in Australia to the floods in Indonesia, as well as a face-to-face confrontation between the US and its Middle East allies against Iran.

The US President, Donald Trump, is expected to lead a big American delegation, while it is believed the Iranians have canceled their plans to attend the 50th annual meeting in the Alpine resort. Big delegations are expected from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries.

The report forecasts a year of increased domestic and international divisions and economic slowdown. “Geopolitical turbulence is propelling us towards an unsettled unilateral world of great power rivalries at a time when business and government leaders must focus urgently on working together to tackle shared risks,” the WEF said, unveiling the report in London.

Over 750 global experts and decision-makers were asked to rank their biggest concerns in terms of likelihood and impact. Some 78 percent said they expect “economic confrontations” and “domestic political polarization” to rise in 2020.

This would prove “catastrophic,” the WEF said, particularly for addressing urgent challenges like the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and record species decline. The report pointed to a need for policy-makers to match targets for protecting the Earth with ones for boosting economies – and for companies to avoid the risks of potentially disastrous future losses by adjusting to science-based targets.

While the short-term outlook is troubled by economic and political stresses, the long-term view is if anything even more pessimistic. For the first time, the top five threats on a 10-year time-scale are all related to the environment.

The polled experts highlighted extreme weather events, failure of global plans to deal with climate change, environmental damage caused by humans, major biodiversity and eco-system loss, and major natural disasters as the big threats facing humankind over the next decade.

Borge Brende, WEF president, said: “The political landscape is polarized, sea levels are rising and climate fires are burning. This is the year when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of cooperation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks.”

The risk report is prepared by WEF in partnership with insurance companies Marsh & McLennan and Zurich.

Marsh chairman John Drzik said: “High profile events, like recent wildfires in Australia and California, are adding pressure on companies to take action on climate risk at a time when they also face greater geopolitical and cyber risk challenges.”

Peter Giger, chief risk officer of Zurich, warned of the urgent need to adapt faster to avoid the worst and irreversible impacts of climate change and to do more to protect the planet’s biodiversity.

“We are already seeing companies destroyed by failing to align their strategies to shifts in policy and customer preferences. Transitionary risks are real, and everyone must play their part to mitigate them. It’s not just an economic imperative, it is simply the right thing to do,” he said.


Turkish Airlines may delay delivery of Airbus, Boeing planes

Updated 27 May 2020

Turkish Airlines may delay delivery of Airbus, Boeing planes

  • The carrier plans to begin some domestic flights on June 4 and international on June 10
  • Airlines chairman said the impact of the coronavirus on market could last up to five years

ISTANBUL: Turkish Airlines, which halted nearly all of its passenger flights as a result of the coronavirus crisis, may delay the delivery of some Boeing and Airbus planes, its chairman was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The carrier plans to begin some domestic flights on June 4 and some international flights on June 10 as airlines worldwide try to get planes flying again after a global travel slump.
But Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci said in an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper that the impact of the coronavirus could last up to five years and that it would take a while to reach 2019 load factor levels.
Turkish Airlines had received half of its order for 25 Boeing 787-9 planes, he said, adding that the delivery of the rest could be delayed.
The airline is in talks to take delivery of Airbus 350-900s that are ready from an order of 25, and that it was working to delay the delivery of the rest, he said.
“We are trying to lighten the serious loads that could arise. We are getting our narrow-body planes.”
Ayci said Turkish Airlines would no longer offer free in-flight food and drinks on domestic flights and other flights shorter than two hours.
He also repeated that the company would try to maintain employment, but that salaries would have to be adjusted, with the aim of supporting those paid the least.