The World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Risks 2011’: some pointers for local government.


The World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Risks 2011’ publication lays out an important case for global action on the challenges of what it calls the “water-food-energy” nexus.

The report is well worth reading, highlighting important points that are clearly relevant for leaders in the public sector and local government who are involved in strategy and future policy development.

Looking at perceived global risks of the coming decade, the report highlights three main areas of concern: macroeconomic imbalances, the illegal economy, and the ‘water-food-energy’ nexus.

On the “water-food-energy” nexus, it argues that: “A rapidly rising global population and growing prosperity are putting unsustainable pressures on resources. Demand for water, food and energy is expected to rise by 30-50% in the next two decades, while economic disparities incentivize short-term responses in production and consumption that undermine long-term sustainability. Shortages could cause social and political instability, geopolitical conflict and irreparable environmental damage. Any strategy that focuses on one part of the water-food-energy nexus without considering its interconnections risks serious unintended consequences.”

Putting energy, food and water at its heart, the report is raising issues that must be considered by leaders at a local level ever the coming decade in their strategic planning.

This point was made by Andy Johnston in the recent LGiU publication ‘The 10 Pillars of Local Energy Security’, which stresses the role that local leaders will play in energy security decision making in the coming years.