Global Challenges for 2024 and Social Justice

This article is written by a master student and reflects their individual perspectives and opinions. It does not constitute an official representation of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. The content provided here is for educational and informational purposes only, and readers should be aware that it does not necessarily align with the official position of the institute. Readers are encouraged to independently verify information and seek guidance from appropriate academic authorities when necessary. The authors bear full responsibility for the content presented in this blog and any potential consequences resulting from it.

This article was written by Esthefania Cardenas, intern at RWI. she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Rights Studies at Lund University, and previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Anthropology. Esthefania is interested in the areas of Access to Justice and Non-discrimination and Inclusion, especially contexts of emergencies.


The World Day of Social Justice is commemorated every year on February 20 by decision of the United Nations General Assembly. On this day, which also highlights the values and duties of the international community in the protection of the rights of all individuals, social justice is placed at the center, reminding us how essential it is to think about global development on the basis of equality, well-being and justice.

2024 is a decisive year for the fulfillment of the international community’s duties towards the well-being of the most vulnerable populations. In a context in which the increase in armed conflicts, austerity, political instability and environmental crisis threaten millions of people, it is essential to mobilize immediate response actions that promote inclusion, equity and justice.

Social Justice in a context of conflict

In this regard, it is important that as we recall the major challenges facing the international community in 2024, we can apply a full social justice approach. 2023 came off as one of the most conflict-ridden years since World War II. Issues such as the Israel Palestine conflict, the continuing war in Ukraine, the strengthening of anti-democratic regimes in Niger and Burkina Faso or the increase in internal conflicts related to organized crime in Ecuador and Colombia, remind us of the need to work to stem the tide of violence and the destruction of entire societies. In this scenario, peace is a clear goal to be achieved in order to ensure access to restorative social justice.

The Year of the Elections

The current year is also marked by the challenge to democracy, as more than 70 countries will have to elect their future political representatives at the ballot box. 2023 was the year with the biggest drop in the Democracy Index since 2006. Issues such as the visible breakdown in democratic values in countries like India, the United States, Mexico, Russia, El Salvador, remind us of the need to continue efforts to end polarization, populism, mistrust and misinformation in order to achieve full enjoyment of citizens’ rights, which are part of the strengthening of social justice.

Social Justic, economy and labour

Regarding economic issues, it is important to remember that the post-pandemic recovery has been uneven and slow for different countries. The world economy is expected to grow by 2.4% in this year and factors such as high debt levels, weak markets, austerity and geopolitical and environmental crises further complicate the picture. For developing countries, issues such as inflation and unemployment continue to be a difficult challenge to address. This has a major impact on household economies that will be exposed to poverty and food insecurity. It is for this reason that it is essential to think of international policy responses based on the coherence of macroeconomics with social justice. Issues such as the democratization of labor, fair income distribution and social investment make it possible to think of a less unequal future that provides opportunities for all sectors of society.

Social Justice and Environment

Another indispensable issue is to think about the connection between social justice and the environment. Pollution, loss of biodiversity and the increase in extreme weather events remind us of the urgency of strong responses from the international community. Since 2023 was the hottest year in history, this year will be decisive in terms of the transition to renewable energies and the abandonment of fossil fuels, which contribute greatly to global warming.  On the other hand, the immense loss of biodiversity is a global alarm that reminds us of the need to work on strengthening the conservation of natural areas and the implementation of agricultural practices that are less harmful to the environment. Against this backdrop, social and climate justice demand not only the protection of and attention to the human populations that suffer the greatest devastation due to the great environmental massacre, but also reminds us of the differentiated environmental responsibility that must be maintained between countries that generate the greatest environmental disasters and countries that receive the most of these disasters.


As part of the commemoration of this day it is important that we reflect on how international and local agendas can be thought from the basis of social justice. A social justice approach requires that all efforts to address these challenges do not neglect the analysis of factors related to gender, nationality, age, religion, ethnicity, culture and disability of the impacted populations, because it is only by having an intersectional approach that it is possible to deploy solutions that leave no one behind. Peace, democracy, economic and environmental well-being are all part of a world in which social justice drives political efforts for the common good.

Featured image: Malu Laker on Unsplash

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