Increasing globalisation increases the risk that a major event such as a disease outbreak of financial collapse will prove more disruptive to the world economy while also making them more likely, the OECD said on Monday.
The OECD, which groups the world’s most advanced economies, warned that greater international connectivity and the speed with which people, goods and data travel will make such events much more troublesome in future. The report, entitled “Future Global Shocks,” identified five major risk categories — a pandemic, cyber attacks, a financial crisis, civil unrest and geomagnetic storms which would disrupt satellite communications.
The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development cited events such as the 2003 SARS outbreak and last year’s wildfires in Russia to illustrate a world where disasters resonated more widely.
The SARS outbreak “spread quickly from Hong Kong around the world as travellers caught the virus and then flew home,” the report said. Accordingly, “new antibiotics are desperately needed to keep pace with the rising development of bacteria that are drug-resistant,” the OECD said. The fires in Russia led to price spikes in global food markets, which “eventually triggered social unrest in the Middle East,” it argued. The OECD suggested that countries increase cooperation and early-warning systems to fight the new face of global disaster and disruption.
Policy makers should “take an internationally coordinated approach that reduces or stops threats before they proliferate worldwide,” the report suggested.
Paris, June 27, 2011 (AFP)