1. Shifts in Identity.
Mass immigration, global communication, regionalism, and the fragmentation, and even failure, of states are bringing about a pluralization of identities and communities within states.
2.Increases in Connectivity and Interconnectedness.
Fueled by breathtaking technological advancement, previously disparate pockets of the world are more linked and related to one another – politically, economically, and socially – than ever before.
The cost of technological tools of connection is declining – making them largely accessible even in the developing world – while functionality expands. Many people though will remain locally disconnected.
3.Changes in Population
The scale and pace of urbanization promises to continue at a spectacularly rapid rate. For example, in 20 years, China’s cities will have added 350 million people and hit the one billion urban mark by 2030.
The number of people living in megacities will double to 400 million from 2005 to 2015.
Global population is growing, but will level of within a few decades; depopulation is already proceeding in many of the developed nations. “Youth bulges” will persist in many developing countries.
4.Move Away from Single-State Dominance.
The US hegemony is increasingly being challenged, along with the principles of free trade and democracy associated with it.
China has emerged as a global superpower and the world’s third-largest economy. India, China, Brazil, Russia and other rapidly developing economies are leading an accelerated realignment of global trade, although the global economic crisis has put some of their development at risk.
Oil producing states still wield staggering amounts of capital, giving them increased influence on the global stage.
Non-state actors – businesses, tribes, religious organizations and even criminal networks – will influence decisions on a widening range of social, economic and political issues.
There is no single vision for a “better future.”
5.Strains to Natural Resources and the Environment.
By 2015 nearly half the world’s population will live in countries that are “water-stressed” – mostly in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and northern China.
Despite the overall adequacy of food, problems of distribution, availability and price will remain. Large-scale migrations and conflicts will be among the consequences. The depletion of basic resources will reach crisis levels among the poor in areas where population is dense, growth rates are rapid, food security is threatened, and/or water supply is stressed.
Increasingly intense land use will cause significant degradation of arable land and loss of tropical forests. Global economic growth and population increases, particularly in developing countries, will drive a 35 – 45 percent increase in demand for energy by 2030. Air quality will continue to deteriorate in burgeoning urban areas, which, along with other forms of pollution, will exacerbate community health issues.
Calls to the international community to take action against a warming climate will mount.