The Global Challenges Foundation’s recent collaboration with ComRes on a global opinion survey found that a majority of citizens across eight very different countries share a growing sense of insecurity in today’s world. They want world leaders to cooperate more effectively to tackle threats to humanity, particularly weapons of mass destruction, escalating political conflict and climate change.
The survey revealed strong support for both reform of the United Nations and the creation of a new global decision-making body to manage threats to humanity. Clearly, when it comes to global governance, the status quo is not working and citizens are crying out for new paradigms.
Interestingly, the ComRes survey also showed that three quarters of people in the countries featured considered themselves “global citizens” in addition to citizens of their own countries. Global citizenship in this context was defined as “the rights, responsibilities and duties that come with being part of the world”. This edition of our Quarterly Risk Report explores in more depth what these “rights, responsibilities and duties” might look like in this era of global instability and anxiety — for individuals, for leaders, for businesses and global institutions.
Our contributors take on some of the big questions. These include how today’s global decision-making processes can factor in the needs — and rights — of future generations so that our legacy is not a destructive one. They look at how, when faced with a global catastrophic risk such as climate change, we can embed a ‘Responsibility to Prepare’ into global institutions. And how we can help these global governance institutions to have meaning for the ordinary citizens over whose lives they will exert an immeasurable influence.
These are just some of the vital topics explored in this report by expert contributors from Africa, Australasia, China, Europe, Japan, Latin America and North America. What unifies them is deep thinking about the state of the world and global governance today. The lead authors also all happen to be female, a conscious choice made by the Global Challenges Foundation to help address the gender imbalance in conversations about global governance.
As Graça Machel argues in her powerful essay on the catalytic power of female education, “We as global citizens are the sum of our parts, and it does not make sense that we would continue to tolerate the marginalisation of those who are holding up our own sky.” I hope you will enjoy reading our contributors’ ideas for the constructive approaches urgently needed if we are to fulfil our destiny as global citizens and surmount the serious risks that threaten all of humanity.