The Security Outlook 2030
The international security landscape is in flux, challenging the assumption of continued social, political and economic progress that characterized the first 25 years after the end of the Cold War. Transformative shifts in political and economic power – accelerated by technological innovation, social fragmentation and demographic shifts – will have profound ramifications for the international security order (see Box 2.1 for the Forum’s definition).
Box 2.1: International Security Defined
“International security” refers to the measures taken by state or non-state actors, individually or collectively, to ensure their survival and integrity against transboundary threats.
The Security Outlook 2030 initiative was launched by the World Economic Forum in November 2014 (see Box 2.2). This initiative harnessed foresight methodology to identify the drivers of future security landscapes and their implications. Ten multistakeholder workshops were held in six different regions of the world, and interviews were conducted with security experts and practioners. The process resulted in the definition of seven drivers and three scenarios featured in this Report.
Box 2.2: A Deep-Dive into International Security
Geopolitical uncertainty shows no sign of letting up, with new crises cropping up and protracted conflicts spilling over throughout 2015. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that geopolitical and international security risks are top of mind for executives, leaders and the wider World Economic Forum ecosystem. For three years in a row, The Global Risks Report has registered the growing concerns of leaders over international security: in 2014 and 2015, geopolitical risks shot to the top of the most likely and impactful risks. More than ever before, understanding geopolitics and international security is central to mitigating and building resilience to global risks.
The Forum therefore initiated a year-long, in-depth study to examine current trends and possible driving forces for the future of international security. Its purpose was to take a fresh look at how we assess international security risks and ensure greater preparedness. In parallel with the Global Risks Report project, the Forum convened over 250 constituents who could provide unique insights on international security–related matters from different angles. The project harnessed foresight methodology to identify the drivers of future security landscapes and their implications.
As summarized in Box 2.4, the seven driving forces that emerged from this consultation map closely onto the risks and trends identified as key by the 2015 Global Risks Perception Survey and discussed in Part 1 of this Report. Based on the findings of the special consultations on international security, this part of The Global Risks Report surveys the current international security landscape and points out two phenomena – failing states and strategic competition – that are transforming geopolitical and international security affairs. It also puts forward three scenarios for the international security landscape to 2030.
By drawing out the drivers and risks, the Forum aims to inform discussions among a broad range of stakeholders on the international security challenges of the future. This dialogue should ultimately be able to bring an agenda to the institutions empowered to take measures to defuse existing and emerging conflicts, and help to identify shared interests, build confidence and drive policy on a global scale.