The Global Challenges Foundation
The Global Challenges Foundation aims to promote the development of global decision-making models capable of more effectively and equitably mitigating and, preferably, eliminating the major global catastrophic risks threatening humanity.
We are working to achieve this by:
- Following developments and informing on risks, risk drivers, and the current gap in institutional management of risks
- Establishing dialogue between policymakers, opinion leaders and experts by fostering networks, collaborations and initiatives that can take the issue forward
- Achieving momentum for improved management of global risk in current and relevant processes of reform
Three Global Threats to Humanity and Their Drivers
The Global Challenges Foundation’s main focus are three interconnected global risks: Climate change, other large-scale environmental degradation and weapons of mass destruction, along with three underlying forces that increase the probability and impact of these risks: population growth, extreme poverty and politically motivated violence.
During the past 100 years, humanity’s situation has changed drastically – in many cases for the better. People live longer and better lives than before. The scientific and technological achievements are impressive.
On the other hand, we are dealing with new, major global problems: The world population has quadrupled, and consequently, the resources per capita are only a quarter of what they used to be. There has been a dramatic increase in the standard of living in developed countries, but at the cost of overtaxing natural resources.
The consequences are hard to foresee, but the risks are obvious. Humankind has affected the ecosystem in many ways, and has created a process of climate change with potentially devastating effects. Meanwhile, our capability to annihilate each other through the use of weapons of mass destruction is greater than it has ever been.
Before the 20th century, the global risks facing humanity were natural pandemics, large-scale natural disasters, and conventional warfare. However, economic and technological development has created a range of new risks threatening humanity. Today, humankind is capable of seriously disrupting, or even destroying, the basis of its own continued existence.
Global Threats Require Global Cooperation
To reduce these risks, or even eliminate them, we need global cooperation, innovative thinking and new forms of governance and decision-making, which today’s institutions are not designed for.
The systems currently in place to manage global risk were created after the Second World War, when circumstances were very different. For lack of better options, politicians are trying to solve the new threats by multilateral negotiations, which are heavily influenced by national interests. The necessary action is taken too late or not at all, while the threats to humanity keep growing.
Whether we like it or not, people today live in a globalized world. This means that we are increasingly globally interdependent: The actions and decisions of individual countries can affect everyone else’s vital interests, regardless of where they are.
We believe that people need to work together to develop new forms of cooperation and new decision-making models in order to manage the global risks threatening humanity. This requires the UN, other organizations, civil society, business and academia to collaborate. Through effective global cooperation, we can considerably reduce the global catastrophic risks threatening humanity.
The Foundation’s Work
The Global Challenges Foundations works to facilitate dialogue about and improve understanding of major global catastrophic risks among policymakers, thought leaders and the public. Its goal is to stimulate ideas on and development of new, better and more equitable decision-making models, so that the global threats and challenges can be effectively managed.
Apart from its own projects and publications, the Global Challenges Foundations also supports a number of independent initiatives that are aligned with the goals of the Foundation.
The Global Challenges Foundation was founded in 2012 by Swedish financial analyst and author Laszlo Szombatfalvy, who donated SEK 500 million. The Foundation is based in Stockholm.
The Foundation’s work is led by the board, which is aided by a number of senior advisors, and the Foundation’s secretariat, headed by Managing Director Jens Orback.