Our world 2025
Geopolitics

While the world’s nations have seldom appeared more aligned on key global challenges, entrenched and new geopolitical rivalries are on the rise.

GEOPOLITICS

Geopolitical relations are increasingly concentrating around the poles of accord and discord.

On the one hand, contemporary geopolitics sets priorities for collective action on global challenges – like global trade, climate change, terrorism, sustainable use of natural resources, and the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals. On the other hand, geopolitical rivalries are on the rise – from the Arctic to the coastal waters of Japan, in the Middle East, and across the former Soviet Union.

The United Nations will continue to play a pivotal role in coordinating the efforts of the world’s nations, for example, on climate change.

However, opposing political motives among the veto powers on the Security Council will prevent the UN from acting decisively on key security-related matters.

GEOPOLITICS:TRENDS

GEOPOLITICS:TRENDS

A BIG 3 WORLD, WITH EMERGING CHALLENGERS

USA, China, and (a more subdued) EU will continue to dominate the global geopolitical scene in 2025.China’s geopolitical weight will grow. Economic woes and the member state discord is turning Europe’s attention in on itself. The Big 3 will be increasingly challenged by rising economies and by strong regional blocs.

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RIVALRY AND RESOURCE COMPETITION

Rivalry over access to energy and ever-scarcer natural resources will be a major determinant of geo-political shifts in the world in the coming decade and beyond. The USA’s continued pursuit of energy self-sufficiency and relative disengagement from geopolitics have diminished its ‘super cop’ effect and allowed other geopolitical tensions to fester.

Protectionism and resource nationalism is on the rise, as are competing territorial claims. This is evident in a broad spectrum of regional tensions and conflicts.

Four countries – Denmark, Russia, USA, and Canada – have made conflicting territorial claims in the Arctic, based on the extension of their respective national continental shelves, a conflict exacerbated by declining summer ice coverage.

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Source: BBC, Dec. 15th, 2014

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines are competing for natural resources, territory, and transport routes in the South China Sea. The bitter sectarian conflicts along with the generally weak governance in the Middle East region are highly sensitive to movements in the oil market.

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Source: npr.org, Sept. 7th, 2012

HIERARCHIES CHALLENGED

The international policy agenda has hitherto been led primarily by national governmental authorities. This is changing as city, state, and provincial governments form strategic partnerships with other actors. In 2025, we will increasingly see forms of network governance that are characterized by trust, partnership, diplomacy, and lack of structure.

C40 is a network of megacities aiming to facilitate dialogue, cooperation, and information exchange amongst city officials to inspire collective action to reduce GHGs and climate risks

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