Future Trends — Climate Refugees, Libya Protests, Israel Lockdown

Introducing another week of Future Trends — tracking current global news stories that provide insight into the future. This week: Libya protests, climate refugees, floating vegetable gardens, Israel lockdown and life on Venus.


Islamic extremists suspected in the death of 53 villagers in Congo. The attack is suspected to have been conducted by a Ugandan terror group. Local authorities are afraid that more casualties are yet to occur unless robust interventions are made.

Afghanistan peace negotiations begin. The meeting is taking place in Qatar, in the hope of making the first steps towards peace in Afghanistan. Members of the Afghan government and the Taliban will take part in the talks.

Under the February deal, the US will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Greece announces ‘robust’ arms deal as tension with Turkey rises. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced a “robust” arms purchase programme including 15,000 additional troops and an overhaul of the country’s military, amid tension with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Protesters set government building on fire in eastern Libya. Protesters set fire to the Hafter’s government’s headquarters in the Libyan city of Benghazi, as rare demonstrations over living conditions and corruption continued in the east of the country for a third day.

Climate crisis could displace over 1bn people in 30 years. Drawing on the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Ecological Threat Register’s findings, The Guardian highlights the potential displacement of 1.2 billion people by 2050 due to the interplay of high levels of ecological risk exposure and low levels of resilience and peacefulness.

Floating vegetable gardens in Bangladesh. As rice fields were getting destroyed by monsoons and floods, Bangladesh farmers switched to a traditional practice of hydroponic growing.

Agriculture has to adapt to watery conditions, whether that is through floating vegetable gardens, or farming on raised beds – as in the sorjans of Pirojpur (Credit: Getty Images)

The US COVID-19 task force shuts down. The USAID has shut down the agency created to act on the global front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The task forces’ key functions will be transitioned to other bureaus and agencies. 

Phosphine discovery points to the possibility of life on Venus. Phosphine, a short-lived toxic gas, is produced on Earth either by microbes that thrive in the absence of oxygen, or by industrial processes. “We aren’t saying it’s a 100 per cent robust detection of life, but what we can say is that we’ve opened it up to the possibility that it is that,” Dr Dempsey said.

Israel first country to reintroduce nationwide lockdown, but risks mass disobedience. As it prepares for a second nationwide lockdown ahead of the Jewish high holidays on September 18, the Government could be facing mass disobedience. Business owners are pledging not to abide by the closure and senior Government ministers have openly opposed it.

Europe’s largest refugee camp, the Moria camp in Greece, destroyed by fire. The camp was originally built for 3,000 people, but was home to 13,000 refugees living under poor conditions, who are now homeless. Adding to the problem is growing acts of hostility by the local population. The EU stated that the camp will be rebuilt.

Japanese beat the summer heat with fan-fitted clothes. There is a growing popularity of jackets being fitted with battery-powered fans that circulate air over the wearer’s body. Fan-fitted clothing manufacturers have started to branch out to meet the needs of everyone struggling to deal with searing temperatures.

Fan-fitted jackets usually feature two fans linked to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. | COURTESY OF BURTLE CO. LTD.

EU to delay euro clearing decision on Brexit divorce threat. The European Union is set to delay a decision on allowing clearing houses in London to continue clearing euro transactions for EU-based clients due to Britain’s plan to breach part of the Brexit divorce settlement.

Rio Tinto CEO resigns after mining company destroys 46,000 year-old sacred indigenous site in Australia. CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques came under pressure from investors to step down after the Juukan Gorge site was destroyed to expand the company’s iron ore mine.

US budget deficit soars to $3tn record. The federal government spent more than $6tn in the first 11 months of its financial year, including $2tn on coronavirus programmes, the Treasury Department said. The figure outpaces the $3tn it took in from taxes. The shortfall is more than double the previous full-year record, set in 2009.

Generous governments weaken Eastern Europe’s currencies. Currency devaluation has accelerated in the east-central European EU countries that do not have the Euro. The increase in inflation has risen beyond what the central banks wanted.

Japan and India sign military supply-sharing pact. The military pact enables them to exchange supplies and logistical support as part of efforts to step up security cooperation in the face of China’s growing assertiveness.

Tear down your barriers, EU says after summit with China’s Xi. European Union leaders told Chinese President Xi Jinping to open up markets, respect minorities and step back from a crackdown in Hong Kong, also asserting that Europe would no longer be taken advantage of in trade.

Hotel Rwanda hero, accused of terrorism, was abducted by government in Dubai. Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, is being held on terrorism and other charges in his homeland, after a forced abduction at Dubai airport.

Mr Rusesabagina was paraded in front of media in handcuffs at the headquarters of Rwanda Investigation Bureau.(Reuters: Clement Uwiringiyimana)

Thailand tells universities to stop students’ calls for monarchy reform. Thai authorities have summoned the heads of universities to tell them to stop students demanding reform of the monarchy, warning that such calls could lead to violence, a member of the military-appointed Senate said.

Germany ends China honeymoon with new Indo-Pacific strategy. After years of shaping its Asian strategy around China, Germany has made a sharp break and will focus instead on stronger partnerships with democracies in the region, such as Japan and South Korea to promote the rule of law.

Future Trends is a weekly newsletter put together by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox each week.

Institute for Economics & Peace

Institute for Economics & Peace

The Institute for Economics and Peace is the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyse peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the economic cost of violence, analysing country level risk and understanding Positive Peace.