On 31 March, UNESCO published its new “The World in 2030” Survey report, which presents the results of an interactive survey and consultation collecting responses from more than 15,000 people worldwide in 2020. The report provides global insights into the most pressing challenges for peaceful societies over the next decade, including the specific worries people have and the solutions needed to overcome them. This was part of a new consultation process with a view to contribute to the organization’s medium term strategy.
The report shows that climate change and loss of biodiversity was by far the most-selected challenge, chosen by 67% of respondents. People who identified this challenge were most worried about increasing natural disasters and extreme weather, biodiversity loss, risk of conflict or violence, impacts on oceans, and, critically, that there was less and less hope to be able to solve the problem. To address this challenge, respondents favored investment in green solutions, education on sustainability, promoting international cooperation, and building trust in science.
“Greater efforts are needed to address people’s specific concerns, and multilateralism is the way to do this. Restoring confidence in multilateralism requires the implementation of concrete and impactful projects, and this is at the heart of our Organization’s role.” Stated Audrey Azoulay – UNESCO Director-General
UNESCO’s new “The World in 2030” Survey Report is based upon the more than 15,000 responses received to a global survey carried out by UNESCO in 2020. The survey attracted younger respondents, 57% of them were under 35 years of age, and 35% under 25.
Climate change and loss of biodiversity was the biggest challenge by far, chosen by 67% of respondents. Respondents also highlighted violence and conflict (44%), discrimination and inequality (43%), and lack of food, water and housing (42%).
Education came out on top as a crucial solution to every single challenge – education-based solutions were found to be the number one solution for 7 of the 11 challenges included in the survey, and the number two solution for a further 3 challenges. Education was also highlighted as the area of society most needing to be rethought in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While 95% of respondents said that cooperation between countries was important for overcoming these challenges, only one-in-four reported feeling confident that the world can ultimately achieve this.
The full 68-page report also contains insights into the specific worries driving anxieties about each of eleven major global challenges, and the solutions needed to overcome them over the next decade. It also analyses results along regional, gender, age and other demographic lines, presenting a complex and valuable portrait of global sentiment on these key issues.
Violence and conflict, discrimination and inequality, and lack of food, water and housing rounded out the top four among the challenges eleven different global challenges featured in the report.
Education in its various forms came out on top as a crucial solution to the many difficulties we face, with calls for teaching peace, non-violence, cultural tolerance, human rights, media literacy, science and technology. Education-based solutions were found to be the number one solution for 7 of the 11 challenges included in the survey.
Education and learning was also highlighted as the area of society most needing to be rethought in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (47%), followed by the relationship between humans and nature (45%) and scientific cooperation and sharing of research (40%).
The report shows that people overwhelmingly extolled the importance of global cooperation: 95% of respondents felt that global cooperation was vital for overcoming our global challenges (including 80% who said it was “very important”). However, only one in four respondents reported feeling confident that the world would be able to address its challenges, including only 4% who said they were “very confident”. Taken together, the results suggest not a lack of appreciation of the importance of multilateralism but rather a crisis of faith in its effectiveness.
The World in 2030 survey was an open online questionnaire held from May to September 2020. It was made available in more than 25 languages. The full 68-page report also analyses results along regional, gender, age and other demographic lines, presenting a complex and valuable portrait of global sentiment on these key issues.