The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023 explores global risk trends over the next decade. Climate and environmental risks are the core focus of global risks perceptions – and are the risks for which we are seen to be the least prepared.
In relation to the food and agriculture space, land-use change remains the most prolific threat to nature, according to many experts. Agriculture and animal farming alone take up more than 35% of Earth’s terrestrial surface and are the biggest direct drivers of wildlife decline globally. The ongoing crisis in the affordability and availability of food supplies positions efforts to conserve and restore terrestrial biodiversity at odds with domestic food security.
Although the relationship between climate and nature heightens the likelihood of a series of escalating and potentially irreversible feedback loops, it can equally be leveraged to broaden the impact of risk mitigation activities. As a deteriorating economic outlook brings tougher trade-offs for governments around social, environmental, and security concerns, investment in resilience must focus on multiple risks solution, particularly on climate mitigation and human capital development.
Without significant policy change or investment, the interplay between climate change impacts, biodiversity loss, food security and natural resource consumption will accelerate ecosystem collapse, threaten food supplies and livelihoods in climate-vulnerable economies, amplify the impacts of natural disasters, and limit further progress on climate mitigation.