Stockholm – As global leaders convene in Brussels for the annual NATO Summit, a 10-country global ComRes survey, commissioned by the Stockholm-based Global Challenges Foundation (GCF), has found that six in ten adults (59%) feel the world is more insecure when it comes to global catastrophic risks, such as weapons of mass destruction and climate change, compared with two years ago.  

The survey, the third annual poll to be commissioned by the foundation, found politically motivated violence and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to be of most concern among the 10,030 respondents in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Politically motivated violence was listed as the number one global risk by 88 per cent of all respondents, whilst WMD was listed by 85 per cent.  

A majority of respondents (64%) said that use of WMD is the global risk demanding the most urgent response, with heightened concerns in Europe and Russia over the past year predominantly driving the growth of this figure. Ninety-one per cent of Russians and 83 per cent of Germans said that they considered it a global catastrophic risk. 

“As many of the world’s most powerful leaders gather once again in Brussels for the annual NATO Summit, it is critical that they demonstrate their willingness to tackle these important risks, together. Citizens from across the globe are increasingly watching for reassurance that our systems of governance are fit for purpose to handle the threats we now face,” said Mats Andersson, Vice Chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation.  

GCF and ComRes also published a short follow up survey to measure public attitudes towards global security following the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on 12th June 2018. The landmark meeting, which sought to be the first step towards the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, did not however serve to reassure the majority and less than three in ten people 

(28%) agreed that the world is a more secure place because of the meeting. Furthermore, just 28 per cent of respondents agreed that the summit had eased their concerns around the use of WMD. Only 30 per cent of Americans agreed that the respective leaders would honour the commitments made towards denuclearisation. 

However, in contradiction to the isolationism being witnessed across the global, the main GCF poll revealed a strong appetite for more cooperation. More than four in five adults (81%) think the United Nations should be reformed to better address global risks and seven adults in ten (69%) think that a new supranational organisation needs to be created to respond to global risks, a similar number to the 2017 survey findings (71%).

“With geopolitical turbulence between NATO powers and Russia, ongoing conflict in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, and nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran, it’s clear that our current systems of global cooperation are no longer making people feel safe. However, contrary to the trend towards isolationism, our survey shows that citizens around the world are urging political leaders to find new and improved ways of international cooperation that we will be able to solve the most pressing global risks,” concluded Mats Andersson. 

  • For more information and interviews please contact:  Helen Palmer, Weber Shandwick on +44(0)7912 242394 or [email protected]
  • Background on the ComRes survey

An online survey of 10,030 adults aged between 18 and 64 was conducted across: Australia (1,000), Brazil (1,000), China (1,000), Germany (1,000), India (1,000), Russia (1,000), South Africa (1,000), Sweden (1,040), the United Kingdom (990) and the United States (1,000) between 16 April and 27 April 2018. The data were weighted to be nationally representative of the population in each of the country by age, gender and region. Data were collected from Russia and Sweden and have been added to this iteration of the report. This should be borne in mind when comparing global data with 2017 global data, as the inclusion of the two new countries may cause shifts in the results. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com

  • Follow up survey – Singapore Summit

ComRes surveyed 4,969 adults aged between 18‐65 in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the US, and the UK. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of the population by age, gender, and region. The survey took place between 22nd and 28th June. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.