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The world in 2024

January 2024 update from Wilton Park Chief Executive, Tom Cargill.


Wilton Park’s unique strengths stem from our role as an executive agency of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, trusted globally by governments and officials.

This trust, and our requirement for objectivity in everything we do, generates an unrivalled credibility and convening power, drawing in representatives from business, militaries, academia, faith groups, NGOs and civil society more generally.

In 2024 we will be working even harder to make the most of our unique position, with a growing focus on conflict resolution, but also on enabling the deeper global reforms required to unlock renewed international cooperation across a range of key issues – including climate change, global trade, international development, technological innovation, and behaviours in outer space.

As the scale of challenge grows, Wilton Park is also changing and innovating our methods and partnerships, but the core of what we deliver remains – a discreet thought-space building relationships, dialogue, negotiations and international policy development. This all remains more important now than at any time in our long history.

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Two participants in conversation in the margins at a Wilton Park event at Wiston House
David Hogan-Hern appointed to the Board of Wilton Park

This month, we welcome David Hogan-Hern, Director of Strategy for the Ministry of Defence, who will be joining the Wilton Park board.

David joins fellow Strategy Directors, John Edwards from the Department for Business and Trade and Will Hines from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), both of whom also joined our Board recently.

David, John and Will’s appointments will deepen Wilton Park’s role in supporting strategy directorates and teams across His Majesty’s Government (HMG) and support a more joined up strategic approach to a range of international issues.

Development and climate change
Women’s rights organisations and movements in crises: pathways to progress

The Women and Girls Series at Wilton Park, launched as part of the FCDO’s International Women and Girls Strategy (2023-2030) aims to create space to interrogate and build consensus around how to effectively tackle priority issues that are central to women and girls’ rights, freedom and potential.

One such issue is current approaches to crisis response. Women-led organisations (WLO) and Women’s rights organisations (WRO) and movements play a critical role in crises, with an increasing number of studies affirming that they have consistently applied innovative ways of working and responding to widespread humanitarian needs, whilst pursuing collective action and intersectional approaches.

Despite this, they remain consistently underfunded and excluded from meaningful participation in humanitarian decision-making. The sixth in the series, our Women’s rights organisations and movements in crises: pathways to progress dialogue at the beginning of February will bring together diverse WLOs, WROs, women’s funds, national governments, philanthropy, INGOs and humanitarian actors to address this challenge. Whilst the challenges WLOs and WROs face are well documented, this Wilton Park event will convene actors around concrete and feasible proposals for change.

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Diplomacy and geopolitics
Collaborative Conflict Resolution in a Competitive Age

Conflicts globally are increasing in scale, intensity, and duration, leaving a devastating toll on communities around the world. International resolution efforts as a result are under intense pressure to end violence and address the root causes of conflict.

This is giving rise to a range of mediation approaches, led by actors including states, regional bodies, and NGOs in addition to the UN.

In February, in partnership with the FCDO’s Office for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation, Collaborative Conflict Resolution in a Competitive Age will bring together those active in conflict resolution to reflect on their experience, build new forms of collaboration and ultimately aim to strengthen the international conflict resolution system.

Summit for Democracy – the future: how to sustain international support

Aligned to the upcoming Summit for Democracy (S4D3) to be hosted by the Republic of Korea, we are working with the FCDO and Westminster Foundation for Democracy to host this high-level retreat.
In the context of the current threats and challenges to many democracies, this residential, off-the-record retreat aims to take stock of recent trends and risks to global democracy and consider the most effective ways to support and strengthen democracy and the global democracy architecture for future generations.

NPT Diplomacy towards the 2026 Review Conference

In December, we convened our annual conference in support of NPT diplomacy, as the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that contains 190 States Parties and is the keystone agreement governing nuclear weapons heads towards its Review Conference scheduled for May 2026.

This now our longest-running event, with 2023 marking its 28th iteration. 80 participants gathered in some very challenging times for the regime and nuclear governance.

The role of industry in the ATT: advancing the outcomes of the 2023 Conference of State Parties

Later this month, we convene a conference to assess how to develop the role of industry in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

In partnership with the FCDO and the foreign ministries of Mexico and South Korea, we’ll bring together key ATT states parties, civil society, and private sector industry to explore how to implement recommendations for greater engagement of industry in the ATT.

Future space threats

Continuing our space series, our use of outer space has transformed the way the world works and how states relate to each other.

There is a new race to secure the economic and strategic benefits of the exploration and use of the moon; future capabilities on-orbit around Earth have potential offensive and defensive uses; strategic competition is intensifying.

At this event at the end of January, participants will have the opportunity to discuss how space features in strategic competition.

They will explore how competition in space might develop in the future. They will explore the current interest in and future potential of the moon, and how technology might shape the future of space threats. Participants will then discuss how to manage or reduce strategic competition in space and increase strategic cooperation.

Looking ahead
Building resilient societies: the impact of adversity, violence and traumatic experiences on adolescent brain, mental health and psychosocial development

The role of adolescents in contributing to long lasting peace and security is under the spotlight in February.

We’ll be bringing together experts from the health, education, social welfare, child protection, justice and humanitarian sectors to discuss the policy implications of what the latest neuroscientific research has to tell us about our understanding of adolescence as a critical phase of development, crucial in shaping an individual’s’ future and the role they play in society.

Participants gathered around the conference table at a Wilton Park event

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