Public lecture to give global perspective on future megatrends

September 25, 2017

Global vision: Ambassador Lars Backström will discuss megatrends and megarisks of the future.

The mega trends and mega risks facing our world are the focus of a public lecture at Murdoch University this week.

Finland's Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand Lars Backström will present the 2017 Sir Walter Murdoch Lecture on Tuesday 26 September.

As one of the world’s most extensively travelled citizens, Ambassador Backström will share his unique insights into issues that span beyond the borders of countries.

“The world we are living in is changing rapidly and we must not turn a blind eye to the challenges this poses mankind,” Ambassador Backström warned.

“The horizons of our daily lives are often very near and we forget the big picture.”

Ambassador Backström will address a number of the mega trends and mega risks facing the planet, especially climate change, world economic and financial trends and global governance.

“The world population is rapidly increasing and by 2050 some 2.5 billion people will be added to our planet's urban population. This will be the biggest social transformation in human history,” he said.

“People are also living longer and by 2050 the world will be sustaining more than two billion people over 60, with around 400 million over 80 years old."

“We need to recognise these mega trends and work together to be ready for them.”

Ambassador Backström said that global governance through organisations like the United Nations must become more efficient to be able to tackle coming challenges.

“Vested interests play out at the United Nations to the detriment of necessary change,” he said.

“Every country is part of the world’s symphony orchestra, and we must all play along together for it to work.”

Ambassador Backström believes that small powers like Finland and medium powers like Australia have an important role to play in drawing all nations into a position of global responsibility: “Turning our back on global governance is dangerous. We all need to work together to make the world a better place to live now and for future generations.”

At the same time Ambassador Backström believes that local individual responsibility is equally important.

“The world economy has been kept moving forward thanks to massive stimulus packages and quantitative easing measures,” he said.

“But even so, we are on our way towards another bust in the global economic cycle and we need to tread carefully to avoid the same mistakes as in the run up to the last financial crisis in 2007 and 2008.

“It is important to reduce our debt levels and to put aside resources for a rainy day and emergencies. This goes for individuals, companies, local and national governments. We all need to be prepared, when the global economy starts coughing."

Each year Murdoch University invites a person of international or national standing to deliver the Sir Walter Murdoch Lecture on a topical issue of interest.

This free talk will be held in the Kim E. Beazley Theatre on Murdoch’s Perth Campus from 6pm to 7:30pm. Refreshments to follow.

To attend, please RSVP here.

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