A darkening threat horizon with a green silver lining in 2021

Paris Peace Forum
6 min readAug 24, 2021

By Robert Muggah, Co-founder and Research and Innovation Director, and Ilona Szabó, Co-founder and President at the Igarapé Institute.

With tensions rising between global powers, digital attacks increasing in frequency and intensity, deepening climate threats and dangerously uneven Covid-19 recovery, 2021 is shaping-up to be the year that risk management took center stage. How governments, companies and citizens anticipate and respond to interconnected systemic risks today will determine whether they thrive or survive in the coming years.

At least three major trends will shape the risk environment in the short- to medium-term. The first is the Covid-19 pandemic progression and vaccination rollout. While North America and a handful of European and Asian countries see light at the end of the tunnel, new variants and a ferocious third wave threaten to overwhelm other parts of the world. The second is sharpening digital threats, some of which risk escalating into military confrontation. And the third, more optimistically, is the accelerating shift toward a greener economy.

Uneven Covid-19 recovery

After 20 exhausting months, the Covid-19 pandemic — led by the deadly delta strain — is entering a dangerous third wave in many countries. Despite the remarkable invention, manufacture and roll-out of vaccines — 2.3 billion since December 2020 — there are still dozens of countries that have yet to receive a…