“We may have things better than ever – but we’ve never faced such world-changing challenges either. Getting to grips with these is the defining task of our times.” Douglas Heaven
These 16 global challenges have been drawn from various sources including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the World Economic Forum, BBC Future and One.org. During the Discover workshops students are invited to explore these areas to stimulate their thinking about big global issues they may want to be part of solving.
For our global village to flourish we need to tackle some of the ways people are victims of injustice. This includes issues such as human trafficking, refugees, sexual violence against children, and also ensuring people have access to information through a free press. Protection of human rights
Children in poor countries face many barriers to accessing an education. Some are obvious – like not having a school to go to – while others are more subtle, like the teacher at the school not having had the training needed to effectively help children to learn. Many challenges remain to ensure all children can go to school and learn.
How will we build a global healthcare system that's fit for the future? Some of the big challenges include maternal health, early childhood development, drug resistant infections, tropical diseases and HIV, and preventing global epidemics.
The world needs to dramatically reduce its energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the coming decades and find new, cleaner sources of energy to meet the growing demand. This will require utilisation of various clean energy technologies, including renewable energy, nuclear energy, cleaner transport technologies, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage.
The greatest wave of urbanisation in world history is occurring during our lifetimes, which means that providing quality, affordable shelter for the billions of people streaming into global cities is among the most pressing challenges we face.
'Infrastructure is all about easy movement and connectivity. It’s the roads, rails and airports we need to trade goods, supply food to shops and medicines to clinics. It’s the water, electricity and internet that’s crucial to our daily lives. When it works you barely notice it’s there – when it doesn’t, life gets a lot tougher.'
To meet tomorrow’s needs, we are clearly going to have to learn to feed more people with less land in more sustainable ways and to provide people world-wide with access to high quality, fresh and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.
The global financial crisis revealed significant weaknesses in the financial system and some of the vulnerabilities that can result from having such an interconnected global market. Several years after the crisis, the world economy is still struggling with slow growth, unconventional monetary policy in major economies, and constrained government budgets. It is vital that we find ways of making the financial system more resilient and able to withstand shocks in the market.
'This challenge is about looking after the land we live on, as well as the plants and animals who call those places home. Not just because we should preserve the natural beauty and diversity of our planet, but because as humans we rely on the natural world for our very survival.'
Of all the conservation challenges on the planet, ocean conservation has to be the greatest – it is about conserving the very source of life on Earth... our ocean. Each of the main issues; pollution, overfishing, ocean warming and acidification are major in their own right, but together they create arguably the greatest environmental challenge we have ever needed to overcome - that of ocean change.
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
Nearly 500 million new jobs will need to be created by 2020 to provide opportunities to those currently unemployed and to the young people who are projected to join the workforce over the next few years. We need jobs for the hundreds of millions of unemployed people around the world, and we need the skilled employees that businesses are struggling to find.
We're already seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change and urgent action is needed. Some of the big challenges include adapting to the effects of climate change, helping to shape national climate change policies and improving education and awareness of how to adapt to and reduce the impact of climate change
We are living in a new era of technological transformation driven by an always-on, always accessible internet connection. How do we manage this seismic change in a way that promotes the long-term health and stability of the internet and the people who use it?
Despite huge gains in global economic output, there is evidence that our current social, political and economic systems are exacerbating inequalities, rather than reducing them. In order to boost growth and counter the slowdown in emerging markets, we need to step up efforts around the world to accelerate economic activity and to ensure that its benefits reach everybody in society.
Achieving gender equality isn't just a moral issue – it makes economic sense. Equality between men and women in all aspects of life, from access to health and education to political power and earning potential, is fundamental to whether and how societies thrive.