Global Challenge – An Overview of the Most Important Issues and Opportunities for International Action

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Global challenge is a research program that funds unconventional projects with teams that work across disciplines. It is aimed at bringing the best researchers together to address issues that lie beyond the scope of a single discipline, and it supports early career researchers as they build their research careers.

Humanity is facing major global challenges that are transnational in nature and transinstitutional in solution. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs and creative individuals.

They range from restoring the world’s forests to addressing cybersecurity threats, ensuring access to clean water and creating ethical market economies. They require collaborative action in which government policies and institutions are rethought to better support the needs of the poorest of the global population, while also promoting international trade and innovation.

These challenges are complex and often difficult to resolve. They require global ethics – the moral will to act in collaboration across national, institutional, religious and ideological boundaries – to solve them.

Increasingly, people around the world are becoming aware of the need to address the issues of sustainability and climate change. This has led to the development of new research, new ideas and more effective ways of doing things.

The United Nations has become the global forum for addressing these challenges, although they are not addressed by any single country or organization acting alone. This report provides an overview of the most important issues and opportunities for international action.

Public Health

The number of people on earth will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 with 2 billion aged over 60, placing the global health system under unprecedented strain. It is time to move from the treatment of illness towards preventing disease and preserving the health of populations.

Food Security

A growing proportion of the world’s population live in countries where there is insufficient food to meet their demands, and where they have little choice but to grow their own or consume fewer resources. This poses a unique challenge for our societies as we seek to feed the globe, while protecting and maintaining the environment and supporting rural communities.

Water Scarcity

Currently, over 1.9 billion people around the world live in areas where there is insufficient water for their needs. This is causing severe environmental and economic damage, while impairing the quality of life.

While a variety of solutions have been developed, the severity of this problem and its impact on society remains poorly understood. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to make better use of water resources, including more efficient use of existing dams and water pricing or caps on withdrawals.

Restoring the Land

Our global landscape is suffering from deforestation, soil erosion and overgrazing, as well as from desertification and flooding. This has resulted in a loss of biodiversity, water supplies, and agricultural productivity.

It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. It is vital to restore the earth’s natural systems, if humanity is to survive in a changing climate.

Restoring the lands lost due to deforestation and desertification is one of our most urgent goals. It can produce millions of jobs, empower women, conserve biodiversity, renew water and food supplies and sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide.