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Five challenges facing the world

Aug 26,2020 - Last updated at Aug 26,2020

“The Global Risks Report 2020”, the 15th edition of the World Economic Forum, which was issued recently, unveils that the world faces 5 keys challenges: Nationalism and populism trends, aggravating economic conditions and income disparity, rapid climate changes, technologies of the digital age and pandemics. 

The rising tide of populism and nationalism is pushed by certain international political forces to form a new balance of power by adopting a unilateral approach based on national stances to achieve a set of goals which would lead to turbulent competitive geopolitical world scene that is fully dominated and controlled by moguls, warmongers, economists and politicians guided by certain agendas. 

Such a rising tide not only threatens to undermine the ability of the international community to mitigate conflicts and military conflicts, but also limits the ability of countries to address the most urgent global economic, technological and environmental challenges. For instance, the world community is still divided over the fight against climate change. The Arctic region has become the gravity for many countries which compete for hydrocarbon, raw materials, strategic locations and fisheries. 

The second threat is the bad economic performance for many countries as the global economy has been facing recession as a result of trade barriers, low investments and huge private and public debts worldwide, which all together have created a state of uncertainty. Therefore, trade war and the deteriorating climate confidence may lead to further slowdown in the world economy. The disparity of income gap has increased in many countries, reaching historical levels in some countries, with less than one per cent acquiring most of the wealth. This of course will operate as a trigger sooner or later that raises anger and frustration among the community members, leading to demonstrations and revolutions.

Furthermore, the rates of corruption are increasing and inflation is increasing too. Inequality may lead to massive social unrest that casts a shadow over the state's political stability and would discourage investors. Consequently, climate change has had some devastating repercussions, which will increase exponentially over time, with numerous natural disasters such as hurricanes and droughts. Climate change is leading to the extinction of many species of animals and plants. Agricultural yields are also likely to decline in many regions and drought will hit many countries, affecting food security for millions of people around the world by 2050. 

Some experts in defence and intelligence fields believe that such major changes in climate would be a prelude to military conflicts as many will try to protect themselves and their interests and to secure the generations to come water and food resources. Thus, the United Nations and the world community should act now before it is too late to switch to green energy and to save our nature from pollution and hazards that have caused unknown deaths and pandemics.

The world is now in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where more than 50 per cent of the world's population uses the Internet, nearly one million people join the Internet every day and two-thirds of people own a mobile device. Every country should acknowledge that the revolutionary new technologies are working in a dramatic manner to reshape economies and societies. Digital technologies and networks are already bringing economic and social benefits to many of the world's population, and yet they have unintended consequences that may be devastating, contributing to impeding economic growth, exacerbating geopolitical rivalries and further dividing societies due to the current lack of global technology governance laws and cybersecurity.

Recently, cyberpiracy attacks on individuals and companies have increased, and cyberwarfare on government centers and infrastructure has begun to emerge as an extension of the military war. On the other hand, espionage techniques threaten people's privacy, and some governments may turn into an absolute authoritarian dystopia. The challenge increases with the new revolutionary technologies, which are expected to widen the gap overwhelmingly between rich countries, which have the capital and expertise to engage in high-tech technical competition, and the poor countries that are still taking their first steps in the digital age.

The fifth challenge that faces humanity and the world is the pandemics, the last of which is COVID-19, which caused a huge death toll as well as financial and economic losses on all countries. The Coronavirus pandemic has clearly shown that health systems in the world are still ill equipped to deal with emerging outbreaks of epidemics, and are weak in containing their social and economic corollaries. The lack of international cooperation to find out vaccinations to eradicate such pandemics undermines human progress against epidemics. As a result, world economy plummets and this affects 99 per cent of the world population, except the one per cent whose wealth keeps increasing accordingly regardless of developments or problems humanity is facing. 

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