Navigating the new geopolitics

Chatham House

Chatham House's achievements and activities from June 2012 - June 2013

Annual Review 2012-13 coverMelting glacier near Qaanaaq, Greenland, July 2012. Photo by Getty Images

Leadership and domestic challenges remain key themes in global power dynamics, especially with transitions to new leaders in China and North Korea, the re-election of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin’s return to power in Russia. These themes are also at the heart of ongoing profound shifts in the Middle East and North Africa.

The BRICS countries face their own internal challenges that affect their foreign policy ambitions, while midsized countries such as Turkey, South Korea and Australia show new regional and global ambitions. In all of these, the drivers for change are both economic and political.

Chatham House has engaged with these issues through visits, research and by hosting meetings.

Chatham House continues to analyse the changing security environment. Over the past year, cyber security and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula have risen up the international security agenda.

Across departments, our research focuses on a wide range of security topics, including drugs and organized crime, threats to biosecurity and the risk posed by global infectious diseases, Africa’s maritime security challenges and the conflict in the South China Sea.

Ten years on from the invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, Chatham House reviewed the continued legacy of the intervention and the implications for security and stability in the region. 

As the balance of the global economy continues to shift, most developed countries are still experiencing slow economic growth. In Europe the public debate on the euro and fiscal consolidation is ongoing.

Despite a recent slow-down, China’s economy continues to expand, even if at the slower rate. Sub-Saharan Africa’s prospects for economic growth remain strong.

Chatham House research continues in all of these areas, including working with governments and businesses on global economic governance and policy coordination.

The spectre of resource insecurity has come back with a vengeance. The world is undergoing a period of intensified resource stress, driven in part by the scale and speed of demand growth from emerging economies and a decade of tight commodity markets.

In December 2012, Chatham House launched a major report examining the new political economy of resources, from oil, gas and metals to water and food. It also continued to build on its long-standing work on oil and gas geopolitics and on the implications of the shale gas revolution in the United States.

Other projects focused on water security and improving famine early-warning systems.

There are pressing challenges surrounding governance and the compatibility of policymaking with the international rule of law. Chatham House has continued its work in this important area, including on international criminal law and the classification of conflicts, and on China’s approach to international human rights.

Other projects have explored forest governance, tackling illegal logging and the threats of unreported and unregulated fishing.

Chatham House has also engaged with governments, extractive companies and civil society to support more informed decision-making for better policy outcomes in energy- and mineral-producing African states.