The Copenhagen Consensus exercise started as a simple but untested idea of prioritizing global opportunities. In 2004, the process was carried out for the very first time and ended with a successful list, compiled by some of the world’s top economists, attracting attention from all over the world. Since 2004, the Copenhagen Consensus Center has carried out several similar exercises, e.g. for UN ambassadors in 2006 and in Latin America.
The ambition is to carry through a global Copenhagen Consensus exercise every fourth year similar to the Olympics. This ensures that new, important challenges and solutions are included in the process and that research is updated.
A new global Copenhagen Consensus took place 25-30 May 2008. Once again it took stock of the world’s biggest problems and their solutions. The basic idea was the same as used in Copenhagen Consensus 2004:
Imagine you had $75bn to donate to worthwhile causes. What would you do, and where should we start?
Around 55 of the world’s leading economists and specialists in the ten challenges was involved in the project. For each of the ten challenges a group of three people (The Challenge Paper Authors), and two commentators (The Perspective Paper Authors), compiled up-to-date analysis of the solutions. Altogether, the papers ensured the best possible foundation, including costs and benefits estimates, for the prioritization of the solutions.
The conclusions from the roundtable was meant to be an eye-opener for policy-makers all over the world, and to act as a vehicle for improving decision-making on spending on global issues.