The head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has called on people to respond to the suffering of those in distant countries as if a member of their own family were in trouble.
In his New Year message, Dr Williams said the last decade had shown that crises caused by terrorism, climate change, financial collapse and epidemic disease no longer stopped at national borders.
They affect rich and poor alike.
"Let's respond just as we do when our immediate family is in need or trouble," he said. "We may be amazed by the difference we can make."
Dr Williams said it had been a "terrible and gruelling 10 years in all kinds of ways," but added:
"Before we shrug our shoulders and lower our expectations, let's not lose sight of one enormous lesson we can learn from the last decade.
"The truth is that there are fewer and fewer problems in our world that are just local.
"Suffering and risk spread across boundaries, even that biggest of all boundaries between the rich and the poor.
"Crises don't stop at national frontiers."