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Blog 18 January, 2021 Back

Why paying attention to risk analysis is crucial to business survival

Becky Malcolm

Nobody can predict the future, but good risk analysis helps organisations be better prepared to protect their most valuable and most vulnerable assets. Ahead of the publication of the 2021 Annual World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report, we look back at the predictions made this time last year for 2020, which makes for very insightful reading.

Risk reporting is vital for planning and preparation. The WEF is an independent and impartial not-for-profit foundation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global regional and industry agendas. 

Their mission is to provide a platform for leaders from all stakeholder groups from around the world to come together and discuss the numerous factors combining to make the global environment more unpredictable and difficult to navigate. 

Our world is an interconnected system straining under the burden of its own complexity. One of the risks identified in January 2020 was that health systems around the world were becoming unfit for purpose. 

“The institutions and approaches that have until now enabled health progress across the world are straining under gathering pressures and seem outmatched against new risks. Health systems around the world are at risk of becoming unfit for purpose. 

Changing societal, environmental, demographic and technological patterns are straining their capacity. Vaccine hesitancy and drug resistance are undermining progress against pandemics, making it increasingly difficult to land the final blow against some of humanity’s biggest killers.” 

This prediction arrived ahead of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Whilst the report acknowledged that considerable progress had been made since the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014–2016, it went on to say in 2020 health systems worldwide were still under-prepared for significant outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases. 

Citing a first-of-its-kind comprehensive assessment of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries, the report found fundamental weaknesses around the world: concluding that no country is fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic. 

This proved to be an accurate assessment of the global position, predicting that our collective vulnerability to the societal and economic impacts of infectious disease crises was increasing. Due to emerging risks longevity, lifestyle and climate changes transforming the disease burdens in new health risks. 

The WEF report went on to conclude health systems need new infrastructure, resources, and skills. As happened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems in many parts of the world have failed to adapt—despite healthcare spending soaring to unsustainable levels over the years.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report for 2021 will be published on 19 January 2021. Watch the launch here