Global trends and their impact on Norway
This edition of VITEN (“Knowledge”) is written at a time of increased tension between the great powers. We see a more assertive Russia. We see greater uncertainty in Europe after Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. At the same time, the news in 2020 have been dominated by a corona virus pandemic that few countries had foreseen or considered the consequences of.
The VITEN perspective is broader: What may the security policy situation look like in 15-25 years? In the context of national defense, it is especially important to avoid myopia. Today's decisions on major investments, such as fighter jets and submarines, will affect the structure and organization of the Armed Forces for decades to come.
It is impossible to know for sure what will happen in the future decades from now. But we must try to anticipate as much as possible, for the day the defense is put to the test.
This edition of the VITEN summarizes what we believe today about where the world is going for the next 15-25 years. We ask what the overall development can mean for Norwegian defense and security policy.
The content is based on a 2019 FFI report: “Global trends towards 2040 - an updated future picture” (19/00045). the report is partially based on a number of international futures studies. We also included the latest research on developments of importance to Norway.
In the report you will find more information on topics discussed here. Here is also a complete documentation of the sources we have used.
What will be the probable developments from now until 2040? We first describe the most important consequences for the Norwegian Armed Forces. We then systematically review the basis for the analysis, based on important findings within today's global trends.
The trends are political, social, technological, economic, and environmental. We look at four players: Russia, NATO, the US, and China. We are dealing with five regions: the Arctic, the Nordic, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, we explore the opportunities. We do this by looking at what consequences five "alternative worlds" can mean for Norway.
The premise is that some of today's most important trends are turning or being amplified. The overall analysis gives cause for concern, especially about Norway's prospect of getting Allied help in future crisis situations.
The purpose of the report is to identify defense and security policy implications. That is why we have paid most attention to the negative consequences of possible developments, and the top levels in the spectrum of conflicts.
There is reason to believe that the world will do better than the impressions the reader of VITEN can get from the report. However, the Norwegian authorities should prepare for the possibilities global trends indicate.