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Essentials

  • This competition is a quest to find new models of global cooperation capable of handling global risks. It will award US$5 million in prizes for the best ideas that re-envision global governance for the 21st century.
  • The prize competition is open to anyone – individuals, groups of individuals, universities, companies or associations – anywhere in the world. Every entry, however, requires one contact person for registration.
  • The aim of the prize is to find models or frameworks for international cooperation, capable of addressing the interlinked risks and problems of climate change, other large-scale environmental damage, violent conflict (including nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction), extreme poverty, and expected continuing rapid population growth.
  • Application deadline: 30 September 2017
  • Visit the Global Challenges Prize website
  • Download the letter from the founder for more details 

Background and Introduction

A. The purpose of the Foundation is to raise awareness of the greatest threats facing humanity. In particular, the Foundation seeks to raise awareness of climate change, other environmental damage and political violence, and how these threats are linked to poverty and the rapid growth in the global population.

B. In the course of its activities, the Foundation intends to arrange a prize competition concerning the matters as set out and described under C to E below and in accordance with is the provisions set out in these Competition Terms and Conditions (the “Prize Competition”).

C. Today, mankind lives not only in national societies, but also in a global community. This means that the behavior and decisions of the inhabitants of nation states also impact the vital interests of inhabitants of other countries. Global warming may be the most obvious example: Greenhouse gas emissions in any particular country will have an impact on global climate change.

D. The world community is facing a number of major global challenges which have to be jointly managed by all countries through increased co-operation and an increased understanding of our interconnectedness. Other than climate change, the major problems and risks are other large-scale environmental damage and politically motivated violence (war, civil war, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction). Other major problems faced are extreme poverty and rapid population growth.

E. Rapid population growth – the global population has quadrupled over the last 100 years (which is one of the main reasons for the problem we face today), and is expected to increase by another 50 percent by the year 2100 – exacerbates all these problems. Despite this, and despite the knowledge that there are not nearly enough resources on the planet for the entire population of Earth to enjoy the current Western standard of living, the issue is not on the political agenda.

In order to manage these challenges, we need effective ways of making collectively binding, long-term decisions that take into account the interests of all those affected, including future generations. The system currently in place to manage these issues – including the UN and the organizations connected with the UN – are, in their present form, not up to the task. Today, these challenges are responded to using yesterday’s tools – multilateral negotiations which are susceptible to short-term national interests. As a consequence, the necessary action is either not taken or is taken too late, while the problems and risks continue to grow.

The Foundation wants to challenge participants from all over the world to formulate alternatives to the present state of affairs – either by complementing, strengthening and revising the present UN system, or by proposing completely new forms of governance. The proposals should be drafted with the aim of identifying and, as far as possible, preventing or minimizing challenges of the kind mentioned above.