Why we need international cooperation now more than ever

By Ilona Szabó and Elizabeth Cousens

Published in the World Economic Forum

Even before the tumultuous arrival of COVID-19, many parts of the world were suffering from dangerous polarization and division. Bitter disagreements over what is true or not pose a real threat to stability everywhere. And yet surprisingly, around the world, it turns out that most people – regardless of their origin, gender or age – share common hopes and fears about the future. We are all, it seems, more aligned than we are led to believe. And most of us believe strongly in the power of working together to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. That’s just one of the takeaways from a striking new initiative led by the United Nations.

Amid all the global tumult and turmoil, the United Nations just hosted a massive conversation about the state of the world, launched as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary. Between January and August 2020, the United Nations solicited inputs from people across virtually every sector in at least 193 countries. The survey asked people from all walks of life about their priorities and possible solutions to the planet’s most intractable challenges. One of the single biggest concerns was climate change and the importance of mustering global consensus and cooperation to tackle it.

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