There are 195 countries in the world, spanned across seven continents. Each one has its own language, culture, and political system. But since the dawn of the 21st century, it has been revealed that all suffer from similar issues. A country’s employment and housing policies may be different from one another, but all suffer from some degree of unemployment and lack of accommodation. However, as each country is at a different stage of improving these issues, there cannot be one solution for all when it comes to such domestic policies. 


There are challenges, however, that have a similar impact on all countries. Climate change and COVID-19  affect all, with different solutions being proposed by each country. Yet, many solutions proposed and acted upon by high-income countries, have caused the same issues to worsen in other low-income countries. Global politics has started to mimic a seesaw: when one country gets better, another gets worse. We have slowly come to realize, however, that it’s all or none – an issue cannot truly be solved in one country if it is not solved in others.  


Currently, the most important global issue is climate change. Although it is high-income countries that produce the most amount of fossil fuels, it is low-income countries such as Sudan that feel the impact the most. Wildfires, flash floods, and desertification have all faced low-income countries, with higher-income countries acknowledging climate change’s impact in these areas but refusing to do anything about it. And although each country has its own policies for reducing climate change, these are long-term policies, with varying impacts on this global problem. China has promised to stop coal mining overseas. California has capped greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants. Indonesia has pledged to prevent deforestation. The UK has pledged to become net-zero by 2050 (although how they plan on doing that is still unclear). Countries have tried to tackle the issue from different angles – meaning the overall impact of reducing climate change appears to be messy and ineffective. Although recently there have been efforts to begin global policies – such as the 2015 Paris Agreement and the approaching COP26 conference – there is little chance of improving global unity and developing global policies on these issues. Many countries don’t even make climate change a priority – Australia’s PM Scott Morrison has hinted at not attending COP26 citing that ‘it’s a long flight’ – so there’s debate about how effective such global policies will be and if they will be fulfilled – if such policies are even made.  


However, climate change isn’t the only major issue facing all countries. COVID-19 and the global vaccination programme have caused further global inequality and made it harder for COVID-19 to stop becoming fatal. Once again, it has become a political seesaw – high-income countries are given more vaccines, causing low-income countries to continue to battle COVID-19 with barely any. The inequality is so great that booster shots have begun to be given in developed nations, whilst millions in developing countries haven’t had at least one vaccine. In the UK, 67% of the population are fully vaccinated and booster shots are to be given to over 50s. Meanwhile, in Congo, barely 0.1% of the population has had even one vaccine. Even Boris Johnson, who downplayed the virus at first, has admitted that “It’s no use one country being far ahead of another, we’ve got to move together”. The universal message is clear: vaccinate all or the virus will continue to be a stain on humanity. The vaccine inequality also increases economic and social inequality around the world – poorer countries have little money to keep funding affected businesses which has caused the economy to grind to a halt. Developed countries are fortunate – the state has enough money to continue to fund businesses and provide furloughed workers with income, causing minimum social and economic disruption.  Such inequality – especially surrounding vaccines - has caused a global wake-up call. Many high-income countries have pledged to give millions of their vaccines to developing countries, but are such steps enough? Many think no.   


The reasons for this global discord are many. The main reason, however, is that every country focuses on different things. As mentioned before, each country has different policies on climate change. But it would be far more effective if all countries were to bind together and develop team solutions such as a global reduction in unsustainable farming practices or a worldwide pledge for all countries to stop using, and selling, fossil fuels. After all, quality is better than quantity. This is not helped by the fact that few countries focus on the common good. COVID has been controlled because Portugal is almost fully vaccinated. Or, climate change is not a massive problem, because the UK never suffers from natural disasters. Most countries are egotistical. Many focus on small-scale domestic matters rather than on bigger issues facing the world, and fail to realize that it is these global issues that cause national problems.  


Most of us are not citizens of Sudan or Congo. Most of us won’t die of COVID-19. Most of us will never experience fatal extreme weather events. But some of us will. We may not be citizens of the same country, but we are all citizens of the same world.