Geopolitical risks come in second place, overtaking cyber and pandemic risks - Future Risks Report

For the first time, climate risk tops the list of experts’ concerns in all regions of the world and becomes the main concern of the general public in the United States. This is according to the ninth edition of the Axa Future Risks Report.

For experts in Europe, the top ten concerns for 2022 are:

1. Climate change

2. Geopolitical instability

3. Cyber security risks

4. Energy risks

5. Natural resources and biodiversity risks

6. Social tensions and movements

7. Pandemics and infectious diseases

8. Macro-economic risks

9. Financial stability risks

10. Monetary and fiscal policy risks

95% of the experts surveyed expect geopolitical tensions to persist and spread throughout the world. As an indirect consequence, energy-related risks are now in fourth place, up from 17th place last year.

Economic risks are increasing and fueling social tensions. For the first time, experts rank three economic risks in their top 10: financial instability, macroeconomic deterioration and monetary and fiscal stress. Inflation is becoming an important concern for both experts and the general public.

In the general population, the feeling of vulnerability remains at a very high level (80% of respondents consider themselves more vulnerable than five years ago), and is even increasing in the face of certain risks such as climate change and the energy crisis. 

Insufficient preparedness = lower confidence

Furthermore, confidence in certain categories of decision-makers to find solutions is worsening, particularly regarding public authorities (58% vs. 62% in 2021), private companies (45% vs. 47% in 2021) and even scientists (66% vs. 75% in 2021). 

This general trend can be explained by the fact that the public believes that the level of preparation of public authorities for certain risks - such as climate change, cyber or geopolitical tensions - is insufficient.

“The 2022 edition of AXA’s Future Risk Report describes an overheated world, where crises are stacked on each other”, said Thomas Buberl , CEO of AXA. 

”It also confirms underlying trends such as the fear of climate change, a heightened sense of vulnerability among populations and the decline in trust in major institutions to find sustainable solutions.”

“These trends point to an additional risk, the feeling of powerlessness, at a time when we need the mobilization of all actors to provide collective, innovative and coordinated responses.”

The latest survey is based on responses from a panel of 4,500 risk experts from 58 countries and a representative sample of 20,000 people from 15 countries. This report is produced in partnership with the IPSOS research institute and the geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group.