Global Challenges for Humanity

 - excerpt from 2009 State of the Future -

 

Also available 15 Global Challenges-Spanish Translation.

The 15 Global Challenges updated annually continue to be the best introduction by far to the key issues of the early 21st century.
                           -- Michael Marien, editor, Future Survey

15Global Challenges

The 15 Global Challenges provide a framework to assess the global and local prospects for humanity. Their description, with a range of views and actions to addressed each, enriched with regional views and progress assessments are updated each year since 1996 and published in the annual State of the Future. The short description of the challenges appears in the print version of the report, while a detailed, more complex one is on the CD that accompanies the report. The detailed version of the Global Challenges available in the CD's Chapter 1 are totaling over 1,300 pages. For each Challenge, there is a more comprehensive overview, alternative views or additional comments from participants on the overview, regional perspectives and relevant information from recent literature, a set of actions with a range of views from interviews with decisionmakers to address the challenge, additional actions and views on those actions, and suggested indicators to measure progress or lack thereof.

The Challenges are interdependent: an improvement in one makes it easier to address others; deterioration in one makes it harder to address others. Arguing whether one is more important than another is like arguing that the human nervous system is more important than the respiratory system. These Challenges are transnational in nature and transinstitutional in solution. They cannot be addressed by any government or institution acting alone. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs, and creative individuals. Although listed in sequence, Challenge 1 on sustainable development and climate change is no more or less important than Challenge 15 on global ethics. There is greater consensus about the global situation as expressed in these Challenges and the actions to address them than is evident in the news media.

We are welcoming input on the description and update of the challenges. Those will help improve the next edition of the State of the Future report. Please email your comments and suggestions to: millennium-project@igc.org.

A short (about 2 minutes) video versions of each of the 15 Global Challeges is available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2C7D2B78000F1C2D


15 Global Challenges

    1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change?

    2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?

    3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?

    4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?

    5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?

    6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?

    7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor?

    8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?

    9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change?

    10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?

    11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?

    12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?

    13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?

    14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?

    15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

 

How are these 15 Global Challenges up-dated and improved each year?

  1. Feedback from Millennium Project research – education, energy, collective intelligence, etc.

  2. Staff and Interns scanning the Internet.

  3. Experts are asked to review last year’s text.

  4. The 15 Global Challenges are on-line for public input

  5. Regional input is requested from Node Chairs

  6. Feedback is invited via Millennium Project email lists

  7. Conferences, seminars, publications are monitored

  8. Daily news reports from Interns

  9. International travel of lead author (50-60% time – 10 to 15 countries per year), conversions, audience feedback

  10. Then distilled for patterns and data double checked