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The future of power: implications for global actors by 2040 (WP1294)


The 7th annual Wilton Park Futures meeting, in association with Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence, National Intelligence Council, considered what power means in the future, looking out to 2040. With a focus on future trends, challenges and opportunities, this high level, off the record meeting convened policy planners, horizon scanners/futurists and academics alongside industry and subject experts from a range of countries.

Through a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions, this meeting:

  • Assisted senior level officials to consider international perspectives on the implications and impact of the nature of power by 2040
  • Provided insights into how different countries, organisations and actors plan for the future
  • Contributed to work leading up to the HMG Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2015
  • Informed discussion towards the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends Report 2035
  • Assisted participants to reach a common understanding of long term trends and their implications for policy formulation and practical application
  • Supported national and international policy planning institutions in their contribution to global dialogue in the context of the challenges to existing thinking
  • Developed and deepen relationships with international partners, strengthening and consolidating the emerging networks of ‘futurists’

Key topics included:

  • How power will be manifested: levers and layers; north-south shifts, single states and  emerging alliances
  • Multi-lateral/regional institutions: longevity and relevance of existing bodies;
  • Norms and obligations
  • Non state actors: global corporates, citizens and cities
  • Drivers: including demographics, social media, shifting wealth


Conference report

Report annexe – Power in 2040

Further information

Conference: Resources: trends and future challenges for states and regions – towards 2030

Conference: School of International Futures

International news articles

Daily nation: KAGWANJA: Anarchic world order reshapes Africa’s fortunes by Peter Kagwanja

The International News: Power in a changing world by Dr Maleeha Lodhi

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