Climate change, Ukraine war, inflation top global concerns: survey
New York City, US, Sep 6 (EFE).- Climate change, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and inflation are the three top issues that most concern people in 22 developed and developing countries, according to a survey carried out for the Open Society Foundations (OSF).
The survey, published on the eve of the start of the United Nations General Assembly, highlights a “common desire for effective global action” to deal with these issues, but also a “lack of confidence in the international community’s ability to work together to address global threats,” OSF said.
“Our leaders need to get with the program before it is too late,” said OSF president Mark Malloch-Brown in a statement, stressing that “citizens are way ahead of politicians in terms of accepting the scale of support needed, favoring longer-term solutions that address systemic inequality and injustice.”
The climate crisis is undoubtedly the main concern of those surveyed, with 36 percent of participants ranking it as one of the top three problems the world faces. In only two countries – Saudi Arabia and Egypt – did that figure fall below 20 percent.
Respondents in Colombia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey and the United States showed special concern about this issue and in countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Serbia, climate change outstripped even economic concerns.
With a majority of respondents of these nations convinced that climate change is already affecting their lives in the form of extreme weather events, 77 percent think that rich countries should be “committing much more financing to cover the loss and damage caused by the world-wide impacts of climate change.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the second-highest concern globally.
The study shows that those surveyed share broad agreement on some issues related to the war in Ukraine, although they also register important variations within developing regions.
Thus, while in general 28 percent of respondents included the Russian invasion as one of the three main problems, it was the countries of Eastern Europe and the G7, with the exception of the US, who were the most concerned.
Fifty percent of Japanese respondents, 46 percent in Moldova, 45 percent in Poland and 39 percent in Great Britain identify it as one of the biggest international problems. But just 22 percent in the US thought so, despite its strong military and financial aid for Ukraine, and just over 20 percent in India and Nigeria. In Colombia, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico and Saudi Arabia it fell below 20 percent. More respondents in Kenya ranked the invasion as a top global challenge than those in Germany and France.
Respondents also did not seem to agree on the causes of the invasion, and while 49 percent in South Africa, 54 percent in Nigeria and 56 percent in India believe that “Russia is justified in wanting to have greater influence over its neighbor Ukraine than the West has,” 78 percent in Great Britain, 53 percent in Germany and 58 percent in the US and France reject this statement.
However, the report said that “there is strong and widespread support for the view that peace requires Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian territory it has occupied. Only in four of the 20 countries this question was asked in – Senegal, India, Indonesia, and Serbia – did less than 50 percent of the respondents take this view.'”
Another common point highlighted by the study is that 62 percent of respondents agree that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine could lead to nuclear war, and that 65 percent consider Russia to be a threat to global security.
Another issue where there was significant consensus was inflation, with 49 percent of respondents ranking cost of living and inflation in the top three global challenges, with Singapore, Great Britain, France and Serbia topping the list of most concerned.
Low- and middle-income countries also indicated a high level of anxiety over the potential impact of high food prices.
In this sense, the study highlights that in the three Latin American countries surveyed – Colombia, Mexico and Brazil – 80 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “I often worry about whether my family will go hungry.” EFE