Poverty is the most serious problem facing the world, according to a major worldwide poll out Sunday which put the issue well ahead of climate change, terrorism and war. Overall, 71 per cent of people named extreme poverty as the biggest global issue, compared to 64pc who cited the environment or pollution and 63pc the rising cost of food and energy. Terrorism, human rights and the spread of disease were singled out by 59pc, climate change and the state of the world economy by 58pc and war by 57pc. Even if the global recession has kept economic problems top of people’s minds this year, extreme poverty is clearly viewed as the world’s most serious global problem,” said Sam Mountford, research director for GlobeScan, which conducted the poll for the BBC World Service. “But with many other global problems seen as very serious, this represents a daunting agenda for institutions like the UN and G20 to address. ” Results varied between nations. People in India and Pakistan rated terrorism as their top concern and it was also in the top three in Britain, Indonesia and Spain, which have suffered major attacks in recent years. Japan was the only country to view climate change as the most serious issue, while China ranked it second and the US ninth. More than 25,000 people in 23 countries were interviewed face-to-face, online or over the telephone for the poll, which was conducted between June and October last year.