2017 Top World Threats: Terrorist Attacks, Large-scale Migration, Extreme Weather
Extreme weather poses the greatest threat to humanity in 2017, a comprehensive study by the World Economic Forum [WEF] concluded.
Flash floods, heat waves and drought have the potential to cause major disruption and loss of life, the report by the Swiss-based organization found.
Large-scale migration and deadly terrorist attacks are also judged to be a major risk over the next 12 months.
A devastating natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, and a massive theft of data, make up the top five threats for the coming year.
The Global Risks Report, which is informed by the views of 750 threat experts, ranks emerging dangers in order of probability, with catastrophic weather and mass migration assessed as most likely to happen.
The report's authors state: "2016 saw a crystallization of political risks that have led to the election of populist leaders, a loss of faith in institutions and increased strain on international cooperation."
However, migration has fallen from the top spot it occupied in last year's risk ranking, after the number of people arriving in Europe began to fall.
And inter-state conflict has dropped out of the top five this year, suggesting the panel believe the threat posed by war has been replaced by a growing risk of terror attacks.
Economic inequality, societal polarization and intensifying environmental dangers are the top three trends that will shape global developments over the next 10 years, WEF analysts said.
But climate change is judged as the "most pressing" risk for 2017, an issue the report says must be addressed "immediately".
Jahda Swanborough, project lead at WEF's Climate Change Initiative, said: "There is one global risk that is not going away - the mismanagement of our global environment.
"Environmental issues are critical ingredients for creating stable and sustainable societies and economies - we can no longer treat them as a side agenda."
WEF, which is holding its annual meeting in Davos this week, also assesses the risks for 2017 based on their likely impact.
The report warns the use of weapons of mass destruction would have the greatest effect on civilization, followed by extreme weather and a water crisis such as a drought, which is already affecting areas from southern Africa to California.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team