Our common survival requires global cooperation

By Robert Muggah, Ilona Szabo, Giovanna Kuele and Elizabeth Cousens

Published in Thrive Global

Around the world, COVID-19 is accelerating polarization and division. The virus, along with government responses to contain it, are being politicized. A dangerous gap is emerging between politics and science which is pulling at the fabric of our societies. And yet despite this year of monumental social unrest, it turns out that most people – regardless of their origin, gender or age – share common concerns and dreams about the future. Put simply, there is more that brings us together than tears us apart. That’s just one of the take-aways from an unprecedented consultative initiative led by the United Nations earlier this year.

The United Nations just wound-up the world’s largest conversation ever undertaken about the state of the world. The survey was launched as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary commemorating its formation in the aftermath of the Second World War. Between January and August 2020, the United Nations reached out to over a million people in 193 countries to ask them about their biggest worries and best ideas about how to resolve the planet’s intractable challenges. Most respondents expressed grave concerns about climate change and the need cooperation to tackle issues like greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and the plastic pandemic.

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