The world must bring its best efforts to solve the problems of climate change, energy scarcity and global poverty for a more sustainable future, community leader and social justice advocate Reverend Tim Costello says.
Mr Costello will call for effective global governance to stabilise international markets and tackle uncertainty when he delivers the Investigator Lecture, hosted by Flinders University, in Adelaide on Thursday.
"No single nation, including Australia, can solve the problems of climate change and global poverty, so they must rely on co-operation in a system of global governance," Mr Costello says.
"This calls for a focus both on the present need and on strengthening against future shocks."
Mr Costello, the former chief executive of World Vision Australia, will argue the world needs "concerted and creative efforts" to move toward a solution-orientated and more sustainable world.
"We are at a critical crossroads and it's clear that we cannot continue with business as usual," he says.
"Either we rise to the challenge of meeting immediate needs while supporting programs that build long-term resilience, or we will face even greater humanitarian crises.
"It will take all our best efforts to fix a crisis that involves everyone."
Mr Costello will outline the challenges and potential solutions ahead - all requiring international co-operation and placing health security, safety and science above politics and profits in an area of technological innovation.
He says the challenge for governments will be to co-operate in a divided world plagued by dysfunction and focused on short-term crisis management.
"Climate action, already insufficient, has been put on the back burner as regions of the world have scrambled to respond to immediate crises, leaving them vulnerable in the face of longer-term disasters," he says.
"There are alternatives to the way things have been. The only option not worth considering is taking no action."