Stockholm – A US$5 million prize competition is seeking to identify new models of global co-operation capable of handling the most serious threats to humanity including climate change, weapons of mass destruction and extreme poverty.   

The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape was launched today by the Stockholm-based Global Challenges Foundation, set up in 2012 with the aim of deepening understanding of global risks and galvanizing more effective responses to them.   

The prize competition is based on the premise that the current system of global governance that has evolved since World War II is no longer equipped to deal with 21st century risks that transcend national borders and can affect populations anywhere in the world. 

“Today’s risks are so dangerous and so global in their nature they’ve outrun the international system’s ability to deal with them,” said Global Challenges Foundation founder Laszlo Szombatfalvy, an investor, author and philanthropist who built his career in Sweden through the successful analysis of financial risk. 

“We’re trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools.  We believe a new shape of collaboration is needed to address the most critical challenges in our globalised world.”

The New Shape Prize will ask entrants to design frameworks for international decision-making equipped to address today’s global challenges with a focus on climate change, major environmental damage, violent conflict (including nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction) and extreme poverty. Entrants are also asked to consider the implications of a rising world population, forecast by the United Nations to reach 11bn by 2100. The prize is open to anyone – individuals, groups and organisations – anywhere in the world. 

“We believe that the human ingenuity that has allowed us to eradicate diseases, bring down poverty levels and stabilize the hole in the ozone layer, can, if properly channeled, play a role in averting the greatest risks to our survival,” said Mr Szombatfalvy. “If we can tap this creativity and apply it to designing a better decision-making system for the world community, then we will have a chance of preserving our world for future generations.” 

The Global Challenges Foundation is publicizing its New Shape Prize worldwide, partnering with respected institutions on multiple continents in an effort to reach the brightest minds and most visionary thinkers whether they come from academia, policy-making, civil society, business, technology or law. This outreach effort includes collaborating closely with experts and practitioners currently working within existing global governance institutions such as the United Nations. 

The Global Challenges Foundation emphasized the prize competition was not seeking solutions to the individual risks in question, but for the global decision-making structures that would allow the world community to tackle them more effectively.

The competition is open until May 24, 2017. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of academic experts. The best proposals will then be judged by a high level international jury comprised of respected figures of global stature. Final awards will be made in November 2017. 

The Global Challenges Foundation said it was committed to promoting the winning ideas following their announcement in order to generate debate around how they could be implemented and to support promising entrants to develop their ideas where appropriate. 

Through its New Shape Prize, the Global Challenges Foundation hopes to stimulate urgent global debate at the highest levels about how the world community manages global risks and to contribute to the re-shaping of global governance in order to safeguard future generations.

Notes to Editors: 

For more information and interviews contact: Helen Palmer on +44 (0)7912 242394 or [email protected] 

For more information about The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape, see this link

About The Global Challenges Foundation 

The Global Challenges Foundation aims to incite deeper understanding of the most pressing global risks to humanity - and to catalyse new ways of tackling them. Founded in 2012 by the Swedish investor and author Laszlo Szombatfalvy, the Foundation is based on the belief that global challenges require global solutions and new forms of international cooperation are urgently needed in order to safeguard future generations.  The Foundation’s mission is to act as a convening platform to draw together the brightest minds from academia, politics, business and civil society to discuss how these risks might be better managed by the world community in the interests of all citizens. More information can be found here