top of page

Global Issues

What is a global issue


A global issue is a matter of public concern worldwide. This list of global issues presents problems or phenomena affecting people around the world, including but not limited to widespread social issues, economic issues, and environmental issues.


However, due to nations having different viewpoints, it is sometimes difficult to determine which issues affect the most people, and have the largest impact on the global economy, environment, and humanity


It is even more difficult to determine where nations should focus their funding, which solutions are feasible for different issues, or even to decide what the root cause of a global issue is. 


Fortunately, there are numerous research institutions and think tanks that attempt to calculate which global issues are the most pressing. 


A think tank is a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems. Usually, think tanks are a research institution focused on studying a specific subject. 


For example, some of the most influential think tanks are the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, located at Harvard University, the Earth Institute, operating out of Columbia University, and the Heritage Foundation, located in Washington DC. 


Other notable think tanks may include the Human Rights Watch, Brookings Institute, or Cato Institute. 


The Copenhagen Consensus Center is a think tank that measures the world’s largest problems. They group together dozens of researchers and Nobel Prize laureate economists to determine which global solutions should be prioritized based on their economic feasibility in proportion to their impact.


While the last consensus was develop in 2012, they determined that given the world’s budget restraints, 16 issues were worthy of investment:


  1. Bundled micronutrient interventions to fight hunger and improve education

  2. Expanding the subsidy for malaria combination treatment

  3. Expanded childhood immunization coverage 

  4. Deworming of schoolchildren to improve educational and health outcomes

  5. Expanding tuberculosis treatment

  6. Research and development to increase yield enhancements, to decrease hunger, fight biodiversity destruction, and lessen the effects of climate change

  7. Investing in effective early warning systems to protect populations against natural disaster

  8. Strengthening surgical capacity

  9. Hepatitis B immunization

  10. Using low-cost drugs in the case of acute heart attacks in poorer nations 

  11. Salt reduction campaign to reduce chronic disease

  12. Geo-engineering research and development into the feasibility of solar radiation management

  13. Conditional cash transfer for school attendance 

  14. Accelerated HIV vaccine research and development

  15. Extended field trial of information campaigns on the benefits from schooling

  16. Borehole and public hand pump intervention


However, other groups provide comprehensive lists of global issues that need to be worked on. The United Nations is the largest international organization in the world. They have broken down global issues into distinct categories: 


  1. Assistance to African Developing Nations

  2. Ageing

  3. AIDS

  4. Atomic Energy

  5. Big Data for Sustainable Development

  6. Rights and Opportunities for Children

  7. Climate change

  8. Decolonization

  9. Democracy

  10. Disarmament

  11. Ending Poverty

  12. Food Security and Production

  13. Gender Equality

  14. Health

  15. Human Rights

  16. International Law and Justice

  17. Migration

  18. Oceans and the Law of Sea

  19. Peace and Security

  20. Population Control

  21. Refugees

  22. Water


This data can be reviewed to determine which topics groups should focus on, and to understand what kind of humanitarian efforts are currently ongoing. 


Why are global issues important?


It is important to be aware of global issues because many are interconnected. In most cases, global issues affect all humans and can be assisted by humanity working together to devise interdisciplinary solutions. 


Many of these issues are viewed as separate efforts. However, many are best looked at through the lens of common threads that run through each issue. Considering holistic, integrated solutions to reach vulnerable populations and address issues is likely more effective than individual groups making small changes over time.

bottom of page