Stockholm – More than two thirds of citizens in an eight country survey want to see more action from leaders to tackle major global risks, with strong support expressed for both United Nations reform (85%) and the creation of a new global decision-making body to manage threats to humanity (71%).

Three in five (61%) of the 8,101 adults surveyed by ComRes for the Stockholm-based Global Challenges Foundation said they felt the world was more insecure today compared with two years ago. The threats cited by respondents as needing the most urgent response were: weapons of mass destruction (62%), escalating political conflict (57%) and climate change (56%). The survey was conducted with nationally representative samples in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, countries whose combined population represents half of the world’s population. 

Mats Andersson, Vice Chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation urged leaders to strive for greater cooperation to address citizens’ fears.

 “As leaders gather for the BRICS Summit, they should be aware that citizens across the planet are yearning for them to collaborate and work harder to find solutions for these critical threats to humanity,” he said. “Whether it’s the spectre of nuclear conflict over North Korea or our planet tipping into catastrophic climate change, the need for effective global cooperation has never been greater.”

More than two thirds of those who took part in the Global Challenges Foundation survey said more should be done to tackle global risks by: national governments (76%), sub-national governments (70%), the United Nations (69%), businesses (68%) and regional bodies (68%). However, more than four in five adults (85%) think the UN should be reformed to better address global risks. 

In apparent contradiction to the global trend towards insular nationalism, nearly three quarters (71%) of those surveyed said they thought a new supranational organisation should be created to make enforceable decisions to address global risks. In the United States, support for this kind of organisation has risen from 49% to 67% since 2014 when a similar survey was conducted.

An overwhelming majority of those surveyed by ComRes (88% globally, 89% in China) said they would be prepared to make changes that would impact their current living standards if it would prevent future climate catastrophes. Large-scale environmental damage and climate change were in fact ranked as the two risks needing the most urgent response in China, with 60% and 59% of Chinese respondents selecting those respectively.

The Global Challenges Foundation’s New Shape Prize competition – offering a total of US$5 million in prize money for the best ideas on how to reshape global governance for 21st century risks – closes at the end of this month. Registered entrants have until 30th September to submit their entries.

“The next 50 years will shape our far future over the next 10,000 years and beyond,” said Mats Andersson. “The need for decisive leadership and citizen initiatives to shift businesses, politics and society onto a sustainable path has never been greater than today.”

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Background on the ComRes survey

An online survey of 8,101 adults aged between 18 and 64 was conducted across: Australia (1,000), Brazil (1,018), China (1,031), Germany (1,001), India (1,013), South Africa (1,038), the United Kingdom (1,000) and the United States (1,000) between 27 April and 10 May 2017. The data were weighted to be nationally representative of the population in each of the country by age, gender and region. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com

Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape

The Global Challenges Foundation is calling for new thinking around how global catastrophic risks are managed by the international community.  The US$5million Global Challenges Prize 2017 – A New Shape is an open competition, seeking ideas for new models of global governance capable of tackling serious global risks. It is open for entries until September 30, 2017. So far the prize competition has received 11,593 registrations of interest from 183 countries and 200 submitted entries from 60 countries.