Due to unprecedented urbanization around the world, future population growth will be overwhelmingly concentrated in lower- and middle-income settings. And this is giving rise to sprawling cities – and slums – some of whom are emerging as geopolitical actors in their own right. Transformations in urban geography are thus precipitating changes in global governance.
Resource security is now a priority for governments the world over. Markets for many resources are likely to remain tight and unstable as demand growth outstrips production and stocks struggle to recover. Government interventions in resource markets, such as biofuel mandates and export controls, often make things worse. In the medium term, climate change will create local scarcities in vital resources such as food and water, increase market instability by disrupting production and trade, and by fuelling conflict.
With about 20 per cent of the world’s population, China has a strange problem: there are more boys than girls (sounds a bit like the situation in many parts of India) and it’s a population that is getting old faster than it should be if China still wants to keep growing its economy on the back of a large workforce. An ageing population coupled with a shrinking workforce is a recipe for disaster. Apparently China could have added 400 million to its population in the past three decades if the single-child policy wasn’t in place.
Although there is currently no operational nuclear power plant in the ten countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), regional governments have begun investing seriously in such programs. They have been motivated by several factors ranging from rising electricity demands to the perceived need to seek energy security, energy autonomy, and the diversification of supply.