Issues - International Reports
From Village Community to Megacity
According to United Nations estimates, two thirds of humanity will live in cities in 2050. In 1950, it was only one third. During the same period, the number of metropolises could rise from 28 to more than 40 (and by “metropolis”, we mean a settlement area of more than ten million inhabitants). While the number of people who live in urban areas is continuously rising, the rural population is noticeably shrinking.
The “golden age of security”, as the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig characterised the time before the First World War, ended just over 100 years ago. After the atrocities of two world wars and the end of the so-called Cold War, many hoped that the cessation of the East-West conflict would herald the beginning of a new era of security – but those remaining hopes were shattered no later than the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
The Digital Future
Will we work only a few hours a week one day because robots and algorithms do most of our work for us? How will digitalisation change our interactions, political decision-making processes, and geopolitical contexts? Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. Nevertheless, the contributions to this issue do not limit themselves to the current state of digitalisation, but venture a look into the digital future.
The announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump that Jerusalem will be recognised as the capital of Israel and the subsequent reactions from various political and religious gropus have once again shown: both spheres – politics and religion – have always been closely interwoven, not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, Judaism, and other religions. Even in the 21ˢᵗ century, it is hard to imagine politics without any religious dimension, and religion without politics, in many parts of the world.
Water. Power. Conflict.
Some 30 years ago, Boutros Boutros-Ghali – who went on to become UN Secretary General – predicted that the wars of the future would be fought over water. His prediction has not yet come true, but when we look at the various regions of the world, it is clear water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource that is indeed at the centre of many conflicts – or is at least exacerbating them significantly.
The Fight for Democracy
Democracy is not a matter of course, as a glance beyond our immediate horizon illustrates. To paraphrase Konrad Adenauer, democracy must be filled with life every day and, where necessary, defended vigorously, both internally and externally.
As Europe became more unified, Germany made strides in overcoming the country’s division and the processes of globalisation became all-pervasive, the last few decades have been characterised by increasingly disappearing boundaries. This development now seems to have stalled. The major migration movements of the last few years, the annexation of Crimea in contravention of international law, the Brexit vote, the proliferation of isolationist voices within and outside Europe – however different these phenomena may be in principle, they have one thing in common: they illustrate that borders and boundaries still have considerable significance.
Demographic Change: A Fateful Challenge
As long ago as August 2006 at a federal press conference Angela Merkel stated “anyone who knows how to successfully manage demographic change is to be congratulated”. Today, ten years later, the need to confront the challenges posed by demographic change has not lost its urgency. On the contrary, while global population numbers continue to rise, the German and European populations are shrinking and ageing.
Rise and Fall of Regional Powers
A constant struggle for power and influence between states has always figured among the main characteristics of international politics. Regional powers can be considered the middle management of world politics: sufficiently powerful to make their mark on the region and take on a political and economic leadership role, but not yet or no longer powerful enough to be able to fill this role at the global level as well. Accordingly, the latest issue of International Reports deals with the topic "Rise and Fall of Regional Powers".
Climate. Energy. Security.
The fight against climate change is not merely a question of ecological necessity but a question of economic reason. It is a question of generational equity, a question of compassion and a question of humanity and its future. These are the aspects Angela Merkel reminded her audience of when she addressed the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) at the end of 2015. Accordingly, the latest issue of International Reports deals with the topic "Climate. Energy. Security.".
About this series
This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung publishes four issues of International Reports per year. Single issues: 10 €. Cheaper subscription rates. There is a special discount for students. For more information and orders, please contact:
If you wish to receive an email notification whenever a new issue is available online, please contact:
Dr. Gerhard Wahlers
Head of the Department International Reports and Communication
Desk Officer for Communication and Marketing