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The Big Question on… global affairs

ucyow3c6 May 2015

Will government acknowledge the global context for the UK election?  

In a short space of time the UK electorate face a fundamental choice of continuing with austerity and isolationism or swinging back towards social democracy. What is always striking about UK political debates is the lack of discussion of the global context; which is problematic given our role in the world. In this article I want to outline the huge challenges we face in the twenty first century. The most pressing I would suggest are: poverty, security, inequality, environmental degradation and climate change. Of these climate change is the most insidious as it makes all the others worse. Our overarching challenge this century is to build win-win solutions that tackle these multiple challenges. So why not build and implement these in one country, such as the UK, to show that we really can tackle poverty and inequality at the same time as climate change and security.

So let us investigate the state of our planet starting with human health around the globe.  Every year 7 million children die needlessly due to preventable disease and starvation.  700 million people go to bed every night feeling hungry and 1 billion people still do not have access to clean safe drinking water. This is despite the fact that we have enough food and water for all 7 billion people and that every year there is a drop in the total number of people in extreme poverty. But our political-economic system means that many people simply cannot afford basic resources, and by 2050 there could be at least an extra 2 billion people on the planet, mostly in the very poorest countries. (more…)