Future Issue: Demographic Shifts

December 31st 2010 - 12:00
Demographic developments impact many social, economic, ecological, and political aspects of life. Their fundamental importance in shaping the key policy challenges of our society is quite often overlooked because of their ubiquity on the one hand and slow-pace-of-change on the other. Yet, demographic developments and their divergence within and across global regions have the potential to profoundly affect the future political, economic, social, and cultural order.

This report broadly sketches the demographic trajectories of seven geographically defined regions and highlights some of the threats and opportunities that may stem from each of these trajectories. Rather than relying solely on the traditional UN demographic projections, this assessment mined other studies for their insights and identified shared views of future demographic developments as well as their implications, while at the same time pointing out the significant number of uncertainties that exist in these future perspectives.

In addition, the research reviewed how potential opportunities originating from demographic shifts could be spurred and negative implications could be countered. Thus, it examined possible policy directions in the field of security, technology & innovation, sustainable development, and economy & society.

Erik Frinking is Strategic Advisor Security and Cyber at HCSS. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University. For almost twenty years, he has been involved in addressing high-level, complex policy issues for a wide variety of European countries and international organizations. Mr. Frinking worked for more than 13 years at the Leiden branch of the RAND Corporation, where he was director of the Education, Science & Technology, and Innovation program.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.