Global Challenges Foundation

Global Challenges Foundation (2012; Stockholm; 15 staff; www.globalchallenges.org/en)

This foundation aims to contribute to reducing the main global problems and risks that threaten humanity. Their work is based on the risk analysis ideas central to the success of Laszlo Szombatfalvy, considered by many to be Sweden’s most successful investor. Seeks to raise awareness of nonlinear risks, particularly regarding climate change, other environmental damage and political violence, and how these threats are linked to poverty and the rapid growth in global population. These problems are insurmountable without an international body with a decision-making mandate. Therefore, the United Nations needs to develop, and initiate new ideas on global governance on major problems and threats due to radical change.  Projects focus on Risk Awareness and Global Governance.

“The Foundation is always searching for new initiatives and project leaders who share its views on the world and who present interesting proposals.”  .Staff size: unknown; Christer Jacobson, Executive Board Member.

Projects:

  • The New Shape Prize – Is the biggest competition of its kind, seeking improved frameworks for global governance of global catastrophic risks. It was open for submissions from November 2016 to September 2017. The competition received 2,702 entries from 122 countries.
  • The New Shape Forum – A starting point of their mission to reshape global cooperation in order to better tackle global catastrophic risks based on the proposals put forward in the New Shape Prize.
  • The New Shape Process – After having undergone an international and sustained assessment process, there was strong agreement that many of the proposals received from the New Shape Prize held significant potential and could be further developed along the key aspects of being operational, legitimate and viable.
  • The Educators’ Challenge – A competition that seeks innovative approaches to engage students and broader audiences in discussions on the importance and principles of global governance, its history and its potential future. These approaches should provide a basis for continued ideation and discussion on how we can better address the greatest challenges of our time.
  • GCF at SSE – With support of the foundation the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) started in 2016 a ten year program to include studies on global risks as a compulsory element of the curriculum for the first four semesters of their Bachelor program. This means that a great number of future high level decision-makers will have fundamental insights regarding the greatest global threats and an incentive to analyses how they can best be managed in harmony with successful economic development.

Publications:

  • The New Shape Library – A curated archive containing some of the most innovative and interesting submissions sent to the New Shape Prize.
  • Risk Indicator – An interactive graphic that visualizes the warming effects of atmospheric CO2.
  • Earth Statement – GCF joined forces with Earth League, a network of the world’s 17 leading climate scientists, to develop the climate petition Earth Statement. The petition summarized the synthesis of the global research on climate change.
  • Attitudes to global risk and governance survey (2018, 56p.) – Annually publishes people’s attitudes to global catastrophic risks and global cooperation. The surveys are conducted by leading marketing research and survey companies in different parts of the world.
  • Quarterly Reports that bring together leading actors from around the world to prompt a shared understanding of the current challenges that we face. First report: “From idea to prototype: The New Shape Process – Global governance innovation” (2018, 44p.).
  • Annual Global Catastrophic Risks Report (2018, 80p.) is based on the latest scientific research, and contains contributions from leading academic experts all over the world. The annual report details the major global risks, and provides a summary of what actions are being taken to manage them.
  • HIGHLIGHTS:
    • The Greatest Challenges of Our Time (2010, 111p.)
    • Connected Risks, Connected Solutions (2014, 64 p.) by Victor Galaz et al. of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, intended to be “the first scientific synthesis and overview of what knowledge has been produced in the social sciences regarding global governance, focusing on interconnected risks caused by humans.”
    • 12 Risks That Threaten Humanity: The Case for a New Risk Category (2015, 212p.) – The risks are subdivided into current risks (extreme climate change, nuclear war, ecological catastrophe, global pandemic, and global system collapse), exogenic risks (asteroid impact, volcanoes), Emerging Risks (synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, uncertain risks), and Global Policy Risks (future bad global governance).

Leadership: Laszlo Szombatfalvy (Founder and Chairman), Fredrik Karlsson (Executive Director)

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