New Report Addresses Global Challenges and the Future

Prepared by the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, the report is called “Now for the Long Term.” Published on October 16, it is a wake up call to politicians and business to address climate change, economic inequality, and human health. It was inspired by James Martin who before his death and reported here, described the many challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. The authors of the report represent a “who’s who” of thought, government and business leaders on the global stage who in compiling their list of recommendations talk about the lack of collective vision in human society and the need to develop shared global values in addressing the world of the 21st century. These include social, resource, health, geopolitical and governance challenges.

The report makes many specific recommendations addressing issues I describe in many of my postings written here at 21st Century Tech blog. I have selected five to share with you:


  1. Creating a coalition of countries, companies and cities to develop an action plan to address climate change. The report calls this the C-20, C-30, C-40 coalition and suggests that G20 nations participate along with 30 selected companies and 40 cities. The coalition would set greenhouse gas and carbon targets. It would oversee transportation, buildings, urban infrastructure, industry, and energy and define goals for all in seeking practical, measurable reductions in carbon emissions.
  2. Setting up of Worldstat agency to become the arbiter of quality control for global data gathering to improve the accuracy and quality of information so that humanity can make informed decisions based on agreed to international, evidence-based standards.
  3. Removing unfair and “perverse” subsidies on hydrocarbons and agriculture redirecting human efforts to improve the quality of the environment and ensure that those who are hungry have access to affordable, nutritious food.
  4. Establishing best before dates for all publicly funded international institutions so that they have to apply for renewal of their mandates to ensure that they meet the needs of the 21st century.
  5. Investing in youth to end the bankruptcy of opportunity and latent poverty they face and ensure continuity for all of society and specifically a meaningful, healthy future for them in the 21st century.


Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and the chairman for this report states, “20th century structures and institutions are poorly equipped for 21st century challenges…organised along out of date geopolitical lines, where those with a diminishing stake retain disproportionate power.” Lamy is talking here about the revamping of global structures for governance in making this statement, questioning the relevance of the present mix of institutions like the UN Security Council and asking if power to make decisions should be redistributed so that all humanity isn’t put at peril by political gridlock on issues of global consequence such as climate change.

In the Executive Summary of the report it concludes with the following: “Now for the Long Term aims to stimulate action and debate.  Commissioners look forward to engaging with governments, businesses, NGOs and civil society in order to take these ideas and  recommendations forward in the months and years ahead.”

So for me the take away action is to ensure the widest dissemination of the content of this report. I urge you as readers of 21st Century Tech blog to make others aware, email, text and Twitter about it. Post a link on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. If you are politically active engage your local riding association, your congressman, member of parliament, city councilor, state or provincial representative. Make them aware. Talk about it with business colleagues. Organize meetups. Otherwise this Commission’s efforts will be unheard and none of what it proposes will be acted upon.





Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...