An extensive international survey of over 1,000 leaders of non-governmental organizations, private corporations, the public sector, academic and research institutes from over 60 countries has found that a strong majority (72 percent) expect major damage to human, social, and ecosystem health because society is failing to make its transition to sustainable development quickly enough.

One in five of these global opinion leaders believe major irreversible damage has already occurred, according to a study, What Global Leaders Want: Priorities for Development, Governance and UN Reform, conducted by GlobeScan Incorporated on behalf of The 2020 Fund, with the support of leading charitable foundations in North America and Europe.

Among the institutions criticized for failing the development challenge are the United States, multinational companies, the IMF, World Bank and developing country governments.

Despite the dire forecast, a majority (61 percent) also believe there are real opportunities to accelerate society’s progress toward sustainable development through initiatives such as the creation of a social marketing campaign and a global social movement to champion sustainable development.

“This survey shows that a wide range of civil society leaders believe we can no longer wait to save the planet and our civilization,” said Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan. “These results call on leaders worldwide to mobilize concerted action to achieve a sustainable world.”