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Top ten challenges that humanity will face in 2015
Material posted: Publication date: 10-11-2014

Geopolitical rivalry, economic inequality, climate change and the rollback of democracy – these problems, despite their heterogeneity, will be the key for humanity in the next year, this is the conclusion of more than 1.5 thousand experts of the world economic forum. The results of their analysis are presented in the annual report "Outlook on the global agenda" (Outlook on the Global Agenda) for 2015.

The first such study, the WEF held in 2008. In 2015 will decline slightly impact the economic impact of the global financial crisis, which for several years remained key for many countries, said the founder of the Davos forum Klaus Schwab. Now threaten the stability of the political challenges – the increasing terrorist threat and the escalation of geopolitical conflicts, and this, in turn, impedes the countries to work together to solve urgent problems.

Growing inequality

Inequalities of income in 2015 will be released in the first place (a year ago WEF put it on the second position). At the moment, less secure half the population owns no more than 10% of the total wealth, and this problem applies to both developed and developing countries, the report said. According to a WEF survey, with the highest probability in the next year the situation will deteriorate in Asia but also in North and Latin America.

To effectively combat economic inequality, countries must approach this issue comprehensively is to improve the accessibility of education, health and other resources. Most people believes that the primary responsibility in this regard falls on the state, but it can split and corporations, as the business benefited from the growth of income of poor people. So a growing number of consumers and the market of goods and services.

Ongoing growth of unemployment

Economic growth without employment growth (jobless growth) – a phenomenon which does not change (or even declining) level of employment in combination with GDP growth. The main cause of this problem, the authors referred to too rapid transformation of the labour market through the development of technology.

Problem familiar even to China: the country has experienced an unprecedented growth of production and exports and increased the competitiveness of its products, however the number of people employed in industry has decreased significantly over the last 20 years due to the high rates of industrialization and automation. This is a long term trend that will be observed throughout the world, indicates the WEF.

A shortage of leaders

According to the WEF survey, 86% of respondents believe that the modern world lacks leaders, 58% do not trust political leaders, and almost as many (56%) are suspicious of the religious leaders.

Corruption, banal dishonesty of the authorities and the inability to cope with modern problems – the main reasons of this mistrust, according to a Pew Research Center surveys conducted in China, Brazil and India. On the other hand, society more and more inclined to trust the leaders of non-governmental organizations and, oddly enough, business leaders who have achieved success through their skills, education and commitment to innovation.

In today's world, leaders can grow from the "ordinary people", says one of soonawala Fund Malala yousafzai Shiz Shahid, referring to her friend Malala, which this year was awarded the Nobel peace prize for education and advocacy. "We should promote a society in which honesty and empathy will be considered as key traits, where talent will have the opportunity to grow, explains Shahid. – This will allow to get the power of common people".

The growing geopolitical competition

After the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union at the time the world came to a liberal consensus, but today geopolitics is once again coming to the fore, notes the WEF. Increased geopolitical competition is not limited to the events in Ukraine, similar processes are unfolding in Asia and the middle East.

As a result of the Ukrainian crisis, the West could economically and politically to move away from Russia, which until recently was considered a guarantor of regional stability and peace, the authors of the report. And the situation in the Asian region – the growing influence of China and its territorial claims –potentially can have more serious global implications, says the WEF. About one-third of survey respondents Pew Research Center believe that in the foreseeable future China will intercept the palm the leading world power of the USA.

In addition to the threat of geopolitical conflict, the weakening of established relationships between States will prevent them to work together to solve global problems such as climate change or infectious epidemic. The rise of nationalist sentiments and the destruction of the system of multilateral relations between the countries have become one of the most important lessons of 2014, experts say WEF.

The weakening of representative democracy

Faith in democratic institutions declines since 2008: the economic crisis has shaken the confidence of businesses, and to governments that failed to prevent it. This provoked public unrest, for example, in Greece and in Spain, and protests for political reasons in recent years firmly entrenched in the global agenda. The "Arab spring" has touched almost all the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, dissatisfaction with political regimes has exacerbated the situation in Ukraine and in Hong Kong, in Brazil, protests over excessive government spending accompanied the preparations for the world Cup this year and Olympic games in 2016.

Despite the fact that the development of information technologies allows to improve democratic procedures, there is a worldwide disorder between citizens and their elected officials. The government are still the institutions of the nineteenth century with the thinking of the twentieth century, which do not have time for the needs of civil society. To change the situation, officials should use modern communication tools to include broader segments of the population in the decision-making process, experts say WEF.

Natural disasters

Extreme weather conditions are a direct consequence of climate change, experts say WEF, and recently they occur more often and more intensively and are more destructive in nature. Floods in the UK, Brazil and Indonesia, drought in the USA and Australia, torrential rains in Pakistan and snow storms in Japan – these events change the public perception of climate change.

Ironically, the greatest damage experienced by the poorest countries, while the international community usually tries to help them to eliminate the consequences of disaster that has already happened, instead of investing in the prevention of damage from future disasters. There's a significant cost, the effect of which will be noticeable only in the long term. However, they will benefit and the economy, and business, and undoubtedly the poorest and most vulnerable Nations, explain the authors of the report.

The exacerbation of nationalism

Since the industrial revolution, people are turning to political nationalism to protect traditional values and identity. Catalonia in Spain, Belgium, Lombardy, Scotland in the UK – wherever people need protection from economic shocks, and social conflict, and globalization that threaten a violation of established traditions, values and lifestyle.

However, the Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom. Perhaps this rejection of separatism will demonstrate that in the new global world, Nations can combine strong and vibrant features of individuality with the desire for closer cooperation with the rest of the world, I hope the experts of the WEF, because it is not only about the coexistence of Nations within a single state, but about functioning as part of an integrated global economy.

The deterioration of access to drinking water

Difficulties with access to drinking water in different countries may be due to both financial and resource factors, says one expert to the WEF actor Matt Damon, who is one of the founders of a charitable organization In India millions of people separated from clean drinking water only a few dollars, says the actor, whereas in Africa and Asia, it simply does not. More than 750 million people worldwide lack drinking water is a pressing problem today, says Damon, and, according to experts of the OECD, by 2030, almost 1.5 billion people will experience water stress.

Despite the relative success of private initiatives, the main work on the development of infrastructure and the distribution of drinking resources must lie on the shoulders of governments, said the WEF.

The growing role of health

Health care is one of the Central problems for every nation without exception. Developed countries are faced with the accelerating aging of the nation, developing – with outbreaks of viral diseases, like the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. For many other countries, HIV, TB and malaria remain serious diseases that reduce the working population.

Meanwhile, according to the world Bank report, about 50% of the current gap between economic growth in developing and developed countries is made up of health problems and low life expectancy. The state needs to spend more on maintaining the health of their citizens, and subsequently it will certainly affect the economic welfare of the country, experts say WEF. As an example, they cite the ever-growing expenditure on health in China, including in biomedical research, which are increasing by 20-25% annually. Pretty soon China will spend more than the direction the US (in absolute terms). The Chinese believe that these investments contribute to the construction of the country's economy, and the WEF agrees with it.

Environmental pollution in developing countries

Industrialization of the developing world remains a source of uncontrolled pollution, experts say WEF. If on a global scale the problem is on the sixth place in importance, for Asia this call is among the three most serious. China has become a major source of greenhouse gas in 2005 and continues to remain, followed by the USA and the EU, according to the World Resources Institute. Brazil and India are next in the list of top pollutants.

Although the primary responsibility for reducing emissions lies with developing countries themselves, the advanced economies should also bear the responsibility for overcoming this problem. On the one hand, they must invest in creating new technologies with a low level of use of hydrocarbons, with another – to provide developing countries with funding that will provide a transition to more environmentally friendly sources of energy.


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