Interstate Conflict Is Biggest Worry of Davos Attendees

Interstate conflicts are at the top of a list of concerns among attendees of next week’s World Economic Forum, just ahead of extreme weather events such as flooding and storms, according to an annual survey of 900 members of the organization.

A total of 47 percent of those surveyed by the WEF identified such conflicts -- including cyber-attacks as well as traditional warfare -- as the biggest risk to the world in the next 18 months, the WEF said in its annual Global Risks report, published today. Other concerns in the top-five of the list include “state collapse” and failures of national governance, the report said -- a sharp change from a 2014 list that was dominated by environmental and economic concerns.

High structural unemployment or underemployment was the fifth most-cited concern.

The WEF’s report reflects Russia’s annexation of Ukraine and the simmering civil conflict in the eastern European country, which the U.S. and European Union accuse Russia of fomenting. The conflict is the first on European soil since the Balkan wars of the 1990s, and has driven a wedge between Russia and the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The frozen relationship between Russia and the West -- unfathomable to most just one year ago -- seems to be transporting the world back to a time when geopolitics took primacy,” the report said. “For the first time in the report’s history, economic risks feature only marginally in the top five.”

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