global agenda 2019

2019 is set to be yet another challenging year for the International Community. We have listed our top 10 issues that we think will mark the 2018 Global Affairs Agenda and highlight their development and impact they may have in the coming years


Emerging Technologies and Digital Diplomacy

Advances in technology are inexorably changing the nature of politics and democracy, and at the same time introducing new risks to the realm of international security.

In this brave new world, the explosion in social media usage has reduced the traditional agency of politicians and diplomats over the flow of information, while empowering citizens with tools for greater accountability and scrutiny - but it also poses unprecedented threats to privacy. The line between the public and private realms has become blurred.



Climate Change

Climate change is widely agreed to be one of the most significant threats to human health and security in the twenty-first century. Excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are seen to be causing a considerable increase in the average global temperature. This in turn endangers the habitats and migration patterns of many species, adds volatility to the climate system, and threatens populated shorelines due to rising sea levels and a heightened flood risk.

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Terrorism, crime and trafficking

The relationship between the organised crime and what is understood as terrorism has been a topic of discussion in expert circles for the past 30 years. The focus of academic discourse has been on the extent to which organised criminal groups become intertwined in terrorism and vice versa.

There are a number of parallels that can be drawn between the two phenomena. Criminal groups use forms of violence and tactics associated with terrorism, such as kidnapping or bombings to achieve a particular political goal, encompassing the motivational aspect associated with terrorism.

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Middle East Crisis

In the late 19th century the Syrian poet Fakhri Al-Baroudi wrote his seminal ‘Biladoul Urbi Awtani’ (Arab Homelands Are My Country), emphasizing the similarities in language, cultures and traditions, the Arab people share. To this day, Al-Baroudi’s poem represents an elusive dream. Visions of Arabic unity have been marred by structural weaknesses and a foreign interference, leaving the Middle East fractionalized for most of the 20th century.

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Regional Integration

The past few years have seen nationalism re-emerge as an obstacle to European integration. The Brexit referendum and Catalonian fight for independence serve as reminders of the active forces of disunion. Immigration, populism and economic crisis have weakened the vision of a borderless Europe. Yet the defeat of right-wing populist forces in the Netherlands, Germany and France - demonstrated the resilience of the union among the remaining 27 member states.

Trump’s protectionist moves since becoming President have weakened the political cohesion among the already disparate NAFTA nations – the US, Canada and Mexico. Whilst the free trade area has linked the

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North Korea

Since 1985, when North Korea ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), negotiations between the United States and North Korea have proceeded in fits and starts, and have failed to halt the advance of the North’s atomic weapons program. Between 2003 and 2008 the US, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea engaged the North in multiple rounds the “six-party talks”, without success.

As the US officially demands full denuclearisation and North Korea maintains that they will never give up their guns and want to be considered equals, talks and negotiations never reached an agreement. What is more, North Korea has a track record of not playing by the rules, kicking out inspectors, and hiding secret nuclear facilities. These are all actions that decreased credibility and increased mistrust from the international community.

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russian influence

Over the past decade, Russia has begun to reassert itself globally. It has developed its military, engaged in armed conflict, and increasingly invested in soft power approaches such as information warfare, alleged electoral interference, cyber attacks and targeted assassinations abroad.

Since 2008, Russia has dramatically increased its military spending and military involvement on the world stage. In 2016, its defence spending peaked at 3.09 trillion RUB, which has allowed Russia to undergo a massive modernisation program and utilise its military abroad. Its increased military presence abroad dates back to the 2008 war with Georgia, however over the past five years, Russia has been increasingly active in the Ukraine and Syria.

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gender equality

Until 1946, women were excluded from the British diplomatic service on the grounds that they would not be taken seriously by foreign governments and would create insurmountable administrative difficulties, particularly in relation to their marital status.

At present day women taking leadership roles in diplomacy still remains an unpopular concept among diplomats in many parts of the world, but countries are increasingly inclined to adhere to the trends of modern diplomacy in which men and women are represented equally based on merit and standing.

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