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The future of borders: geopolitical trends and challenges to 2030 (WP1458)


Building on the outcomes of the Strategic Defence Spending Review (SDSR) and on previous Wilton Park ‘futures’ discussions, the 9th annual Wilton Park meeting in the International Futures series examined how a wide range of trends, challenges and opportunities will evolve in relation to international borders over the next 15 years.

This high level meeting convened policy planners and opinion formers, horizon scanners/futurists and academics alongside industry, think tanks and other experts from a range of countries. Through a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions, the roundtable informed policy planning, implications of current trends and provide context for planning and decision making.

In particular it:

  • Assisted senior level officials to consider international ‘long range’ perspectives
  • Developed and deepen understanding of cross-cutting themes and trends, impacting international borders
  • Provided insights into how current trends and challenges might evolve in different regions and countries of key interest to the UK, including but not limited to Europe and MENA.
  • Examined how outcomes of the SDSR can be implemented to address these challenges.
  • Supported and cultivate relationships with international partners, strengthening and consolidating the emerging networks of ‘futurists’

Key themes:
In an increasingly volatile world, the evolution of traditional borders spurs economic growth and ‘people to people’ links, while also challenging the sovereignty of states, escalating threats, and sometimes undermining stability.

The meeting explored the future of borders from a range of perspectives, including the impact of non-state actors, globalisation, inter-state competition and technological advancements and asked:

  • What form will borders take in the future?
  • Who will shape those changes?
  • What are the drivers, challenges and opportunities?
  • How could international actors respond?
  • What international frameworks will the world need?

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