The world has several issues, but luckily it also has organizations and individuals ready to combat them every step of the way. The following are a list of the 10 biggest issues in the world we face today.
The 10 Biggest Issues in the World
- Poverty. More than 70 percent of the people in the world own less than $10,000 — or roughly 3 percent of total wealth in the world. Geographically, the story is similar. A lack of global emphasis on foreign aid, conflict and political factors have kept poverty as a driving factor. In the last two decades, however, things have started to improve. The “middle class” has doubled in size from seven to thirteen percent.
- Religious Conflict & War. Political conflict has drastically increased over the years. Terrorism and the rise of religiously-motivated insurgent groups have forced the hand of several governments. As a result, defense spending around the world has risen steadily since 1995 to $1.7 trillion. While terrorism may be on the rise, the good news is that diplomacy and peace efforts have decreased the number of civil wars and intra-state conflicts around the world from 16 per 100,000 to about 1 per 100,000.
- Political Polarization. Political polarization has skyrocketed with the rise of social movements across the world. States have experienced internal strife from events such as BREXIT or the U.S. election of President Donald Trump. PEW claims that the U.S., specifically, has become more polarized than ever. Since 2004, the U.S. has reportedly seen a rise in political partisanship. Bi-partisan groups and organizations, such as the Bipartisan Policy Center, have been actively working to promote a more collaborative political arena.
- Government Accountability. Throughout the world, political scandals have led to a distrust of government. Specifically, in the U.S., reports say only a third of Americans trust the government to “do what is right.” Advancements in tech and China’s new surveillance policy do not help. Skepticism on such issues has led to a rise in social movements which have been key in influencing policy.
- Education. While education has significantly improved in the last century, there still remains a lot of work to be done. Inequality between genders in specific parts of the world has emerged as a large part of the question. The Malala Fund reports 130 million girls across the world lack proper access to schooling and actively addresses this issue through advocacy.
- Food and Water. Currently, 1 in 9 people lack access to clean water across the world and the same ratio are malnourished. The emergence of new technology in agriculture and increased awareness, however, has improved conditions. Several organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), are addressing the issue on the ground and through political influence.
- Health in Developing Nations. Statistics has widely shown that aside from malnourishment, access to clean and affordable living conditions has lagged in the developed world. Life expectancy in developing nations is on average 14 years behind developed nations’. Overall health, however, has increased over the years, thanks to organizations such as WHO.
- Credit Access. One of the driving factors in continued poverty is the lack of access to credit. Without stable financial services, it becomes difficult for developing nations to grow at a sustained rate economically. Studies show that access to credit can improve economic prospects.
- Discrimination. Discrimination covers a wide breadth of issues and takes several forms. Recently, in light of new social movements, it has garnered more attention. Wage gap issues, income inequality, education wage premiums and other problems have appeared at the forefront of social movements. These movements have shown promise for change – the #MeToo movement has brought several employers to justice.
- Physical fitness. Obesity has become a global issue. The lack of physical fitness programs and extra-curriculars have created significant issues that could affect future health. Recently, the number has exceeded 39 percent of individuals around the world being overweight and 13 percent being obese. Efforts by the government and even media have started to turn the tide. Professional organizations such as the NFL have implemented Play60 programs to emphasize nutrition and fitness from a young age.
The biggest issues in the world are critical, but not insurmountable. Many have seen concrete progress over the past few decades, and all of them have the attention of different groups and organizations working to improve them.
Continued awareness and effort can ensure these issues have a smaller impact on the world in the future.
– Mrinal Singh