In the ranking of the biggest long-term threats to the world, the World Economic Forum gave the first place to climate change. In a report published Tuesday, January 11, the body fears that the fight against this phenomenon will be weakened by Covid-19 and in particular inequalities in access to vaccines.
The conclusions of the 17th edition of the “Global Risks Report” predict on this subject “tensions – within States and between States – risking to worsen the effects of the pandemic and to complicate the coordination necessary to meet the challenges. common ”, such as the climate.
— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 11, 2022
Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 41 countries which have still not been able to vaccinate 10% of their population against Covid-19 and 98% which have not reached 40% of vaccinated. A striking contrast with Western countries, where vaccination coverage sometimes peaks at 80%.
The Covax device, set up by the WHO, was yet to make it possible to fairly distribute the billions of doses of vaccines produced last year, while ensuring to supply low-income countries. But this program, representing less than 10% of injections administered worldwide, has not worked as hoped.
As a result, the low vaccination rates in some areas will “weigh on the availability and productivity of workers, disrupt distribution chains and weaken consumption”. This, at a time when inflation is high and world trade continues to suffer from shortages.
The gap between rich and poor countries is widening
The Forum’s projections thus predict that, by 2024, developing countries, excluding China, will be 5.5% below their level of growth anticipated before the pandemic, while the most advanced economies will have exceeded it by 0.9%.
Concretely, the gap between rich and poor countries is widening, where climate action requires global collaboration. Especially since in the ranking of long-term threats, climate change is certainly the first cited but, in reality, it leaves its mark on the whole list.
The second place is occupied by extreme weather conditions, the third by the loss of biodiversity and the seventh and eighth by human environmental damage and natural resource crises. Erosion of social cohesion, purchasing power crises, debt and geopolitical tensions are also part of the ranking. As well as infectious diseases, in sixth position.
To prevent these international divides from worsening in the coming years, the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi, urges “world leaders” to “come together and adopt a coordinated multistakeholder approach”. Convinced that “a disorderly climate transition […] will only further divide countries and separate societies, ”the Forum encourages the world to be cohesive.