AIB Insights – Global Challenges
Today’s challenges are global in scale and scope, and cannot be addressed by nation states acting alone. They involve the natural environment, tightening supplies of food and water, infectious diseases, terrorism and conflict, climate change and aging societies.
In 1996 The Millennium Project asked futurists what positive developments could evolve over the foreseeable future to significantly improve the human condition. This was distilled down to fifteen Global Opportunities with overviews and strategies.
1. Climate change
Climate change affects all regions of the world and presents a serious threat to human welfare. Observed increases in temperature, decreases in snow and ice and changes in precipitation lead to global sea level rise and increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy rain events.
A combination of high resource intensity, fossil fuel dependency, difficultly achieving international cooperation and slow technological change imply high challenges to mitigation.
Water is an abundant resource globally, but access is a problem in some areas. Water security is affected by a combination of local factors including poor infrastructure, unenforced environmental laws, high levels of pollution and rapidly changing climate patterns.
Water-related challenges often engender societal grievances and divisions, increasing the risk of political instability. Research needs to focus on innovative technical solutions that improve water stewardship.
Feeding the world sustainably will be a huge challenge for science. But so will tackling global food policy challenges – including how to increase trade financing and align supply-demand chains; promoting crop diversity; ensuring land and water resources are allocated to agriculture rather than non-food uses; and improving economic access for the most disadvantaged.
A thriving planet requires food systems that are secure, sustainable and healthy. This set explores exogenous issues (climate change, competition for land and water, biodiversity) as well as cross-cutting themes including food waste and links with health.
Over the last decades, advances in health have dramatically reduced diseases and extended lifespans. But new health challenges have emerged.
Vaccine shortages, growing resistance to antibiotics, natural and nuclear disasters that create refugee populations and climate change-related water scarcity are just some examples of the global health problems we face. Resolving them requires stronger international collaboration.
Education is a powerful instrument for improving life quality, reducing poverty and driving economic growth. It also lays the foundation for sustainable development.
However, the global challenges we face occur together and cannot be solved by a single country or institution. That’s why interdisciplinary cooperation is key. At LUC you will approach these Global Challenges from different disciplines. This will provide a multifaceted view of the world around you.
The complexities of migration affect global challenges such as poverty, inequality and human rights. They are also an underlying cause of wars and conflict.
Countries experiencing outflows of their best and brightest lose valuable workers, affecting growth. However, a well-designed migration policy could ease the burden on aging societies and boost global welfare. It could involve a better integration of migrants, expanding their ability to participate in labor markets and facilitate language training.
Energy is an enormous global challenge, requiring major investment in research into new forms of renewable and sustainable energy. Innovative ideas include spray-on photovoltaics to turn windows and walls into energy generators; metal air-breathing batteries; and converting coal to liquid fuel and electricity.
The Global Challenges themes address issues that transcend national boundaries and can only be tackled by international cooperation. They are addressed in the context of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
8. Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a way to use resources without sacrificing environmental and social impacts in the future. It’s about promoting economic growth and decent work, reducing inequality, and improving quality of life in general.
Without a serious focus on sustainability, our planet faces catastrophic results. The key is innovation: fortunes will be made by companies that make green nanotechnology manufacturing, synthetic biology for medicine and energy, and methods to boost human intelligence.
Security is protection from, and resilience against, damage or harm. Beneficiaries (technically called referents) of a security policy can include individuals and communities, institutions and ecosystems.
The Department and USAID will pursue arms control and nonproliferation; advance the Rule of Law (ROL) and counterterrorism and counter violent extremism; and secure cyberspace. This requires global cooperation and new funding models. LUC supports rigorous research synthesis that will inform policy in an unbiased way.
Diversity is the spice of life, and a key to addressing global challenges. This issue of AIB Insights explores the dimensions and challenges associated with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in an international business context.
Cultural differences can create communication barriers and lead to misunderstandings in the workplace. Stereotyping and bias are other potential obstacles to managing a diverse workforce. Additionally, work-life balance can vary by country and culture.