Global challenges

Global challenges are complex problems that require collaboration among governments, international organizations, universities, NGOs and creative individuals to address. These issues include:

Food security and poverty – the world is facing rising prices of food, water, energy, climate change, population growth and economic insecurity. In order to address these challenges, the world needs an effective and sustainable food system that is equitable, fair and accessible.

Children’s rights – every child deserves to have access to a healthy environment, good education and a fair chance in life. While the world is making progress towards this goal, many children are still denied access to these basic human rights.

Climate change – the world is currently experiencing a rapid rise in global temperature. It is not only causing more extreme weather events, it also has a negative impact on the environment and our health.

Water scarcity – around 1.9 billion people are currently living in areas that are severely limited in water supply. This number is expected to increase to more than 5.7 billion by 2050. It is important that we find ways to tackle this challenge and improve the way we use water, so that everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water.

Innovation and technology – new technologies and innovations have the potential to solve many of these challenges. But it is important to understand how they work and how they can be applied in different circumstances.

Managing complexity – the ability to manage large scale systems and to integrate different kinds of data is increasingly important for decision-making. A key challenge is to build the capacity for such integration, and to find solutions that are practical, affordable and implementable.

Building resilience – the ability to adapt and recover from shocks, such as natural disasters or social conflict, is essential for sustaining sustainable development. In particular, we need to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities and economies to ensure they are not affected by these traumatic events.

Expansion of democracy – The world needs to expand its democratic institutions in order to sustain the trend toward political freedom, peace and prosperity. We also need to expand the space for civil society, and to develop a global framework for democratic governance.

Global ethics – the moral will to act in collaboration across national, institutional, religious and ideological boundaries is an essential component for the solution of global challenges. This requires global ethics and a commitment to social justice, equality and the promotion of human rights.

Connecting humanity and the built environment – new information and communication systems will allow us to make decisions in real time, combining traditional human decision-making with the power of computational everything (e.g., the Internet of Things).

Achieving a sustainable and more peaceful world is a challenge that requires action on many fronts. The world is getting richer and healthier, but it is still in a race between implementing ever-increasing ways to improve the human condition and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity and scale of global problems. Ultimately, it will take global leadership to achieve our goals for a better future for all.