Much discussion this past year has centered on the scourge of war, and rightfully so. But the incidence of famine and food insecurity in the world are problems that are just as critical at the moment. Indeed, 2023 was a year of famine and hunger, according to the U.N. World Food Program.
Some of the trends from 2023 that we’ve identified are decidedly pessimistic. Others are less so or even cause for optimism. These trends can seem distant to our local, daily concerns, but they create the conditions and shape the global environment in which our daily lives evolve.
As the ideologies of dominant factions within Toryism converge with far-right thought in the rest of Europe, claims that the U.K. does not face radicalization on the right look absurd. The transformation of the Tory Party looks irreversible, but it remains to be seen what kind of far-right movement it will become.
U.S. government efforts to root out Chinese influence in academia have been clumsy at best, discriminatory and counterproductive at worst. Restrictions and guardrails to protect scientific integrity and national security should be applicable to all, not based on ethnicity or national origin.
In the perennial struggle between labor and capital, the balance of power has noticeably shifted in labor’s favor.
In late November, Algeria adopted new laws regulating the media and journalism, characterized by the government as allowing for more press freedoms. But considering the government has done so much to eviscerate freedom of expression and tame independent journalism in Algeria, that characterization doesn’t hold weight.
The U.N. COP28 Climate Change Conference concluded with a pledge to transition away from fossil fuels, the first such major multilateral agreement to call for signatories to do so. As a result, the pledge was heralded as a historic achievement. But does this actually mean that climate diplomacy has turned a corner?
This year cemented the Global South—as a term, as a concept and as a force—in global politics, and it will continue to shape the world order.
Government-formation talks following the Netherland’s shock elections in November are going into quiet mode, as Geert Wilders, the far-right provocateur who went from fringe figure to would-be prime minister, tries to cobble together a coalition. At the moment, the most likely scenario is a weak and unstable government led by Wilders.
In November, Liberian President George Weah astonished many observers both at home and abroad by conceding defeat to opposition candidate Joseph Boakai in the second round of the country’s presidential election, a move that stands in stark contrast to the recent coups and democratic erosion seen elsewhere in West Africa.
In 2023, policymakers in the United States and Europe increasingly shifted their positions to the right on immigration.
The parallels between the current challenges facing the U.S. and EU, particularly when it comes to obstruction from far-right populists, has reinforced a tendency to equate the problems faced by both systems of government. However, the EU is suffering from a chronic but manageable affliction, while the U.S. has an acute condition.
In early December, Chinese maritime forces water-cannoned Philippine resupply vessels en route to the Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed land feature in the South China Sea that hosts a small Filipino military detachment. The clash was the latest in a series of incidents as the two countries maneuver for advantage in the disputed waters.
As 2023 ends, ambassadors and international officials at the U.N. do not have much to celebrate. The organization was having a hard year even before Hamas attacked Israel in October. Now the war in Gaza has sparked furious debates in the Security Council and General Assembly, with many asking if the U.N. can recover from the crisis.
On Oct. 28, the British Library went dark, the result of a ransomware attack by the cybercrime group Rhysida. The impact of the incident has been limited to a small community of researchers, but it is also part of a wider pattern of ransomware attacks against the public sector in the U.K. and around the world.