Emerging Issues in International Relations

It is impossible to discuss emerging issues in International Relations without first understanding the concept of globalization. Globalization is defined as the growing interdependence between and among world governments in aspects such as politics, economics, cultures, trade, technology and information. Globalization and International Relations though distinct, they have a common unifying factor which is the fact that towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, certain issues were identified and categorized as global issues. The global issues included Gender Equality, Justice and Human Rights, Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, International Peace and Security, Nuclear power, Climate Change, Environmental Issues and in recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic. All the above represent contemporary problems collectively faced by almost every country in the world and have profound impacts on international economics, politics, security, human life and the environment (Beck, 2000).

The following is an in-depth discussion of the contemporary and emerging issues in International Relations. The issues will be discussed in the following order; Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, Gender Equality, Justice and Human Rights, Nuclear power and its effects and Climate Change:


AQABA, JORDAN – JUNE 5: Multinational forces perform an anti-terrorism and rescue simulation during the Eager Lion exercises at the port on June 5, 2014 in Aqaba, Jordan. Roughly 12,500 troops from 20 countries including Jordan, the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are participating in the exercises. (Photo by Jordan Pix/Getty Images)
Efforts by world agencies and world governments to ensure and maintain world peace and security have often been thwarted by unprecedented terrorist attacks. Often, terrorists use these attacks as a means to voice their beliefs and to advance their political agendas. Technological advancements in the 21st century such as bombs, communication devices and computer systems among others provide sophisticated means of unleashing terror. The effects of terrorism on International Relations include weakened governments, mistrust between and among states, disruption of peace and security efforts, unprecedented damage and property destruction and loss of lives. There is an urgent need for international agencies such as the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union among others to tighten the leash on known terrorist militia groups in an effort to curb the menace that is terrorism (Beck, 2000).

Cyber Espionage

Computer hacker

Cyber espionage entails the application of information and technology by individuals, groups or countries that gives them unauthorized access to collect information and data in an effort to gain military or economic or political advantage. The rates, speed, intensity and frequency at which illegal intelligence collection is happening is alarming. Cyber espionage affects economic and political relations between countries as well as increased suspicion. It is imperative that advancements be made in the development of cyber intelligence which will offer a proactive approach to security whereby countries can be able to identify threats early, anticipate such incidents and be able safeguards themselves against any malicious activities (Milner, 2005).

Gender Equality, Justice and Human Rights

Gender inequality, injustice and abuse of human rights and freedoms have become a common phenomenon warranting international intervention through world agencies such as the United Nations. Gender equality, Justice and observance of fundamental human rights and freedom is crucial for democracy, development, peace and security. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become pivotal in promoting gender equality, ensuring a clear-cut definition of what human rights are as well as upholding them. Additionally, the induction of gender issues and human rights into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is a collection of seventeen global goals will go a long way in ensuring the achievement of a better and a much more sustainable future for every person. There is need to encourage countries to make meaningful commitments to such global agendas and policies in order to effectively address inequalities and in the same protect and preserve human rights (Jeffrey et al., 2017).

Nuclear power and Climate Change

Energy in all its forms is critical for development. It is important to note almost every aspect of development demands and requires reliable access to modernized energy sources. On the premise of the fact that energy is critical for development, there has been immense advancements and growth in the use of nuclear energy. The production and use of nuclear power is largely concentrated in industrialized countries such as China, Japan, the United States of America and Korea among others, all with plans to increase their nuclear power capacity. There are several benefits of nuclear power including diversification of energy sources and strong performance records.

COTTBUS, GERMANY – APRIL 12: Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station, which is owned by Vatenfall, April 12, 2007 at Jaenschwalde, Germany. Germany is planning the construction of 40 new coal-fired power plants, though officials claim the plants are based on technology that radically increases their efficiency. The Jaenschwalde power plant, built by the former East German government in the 1980s, emits 25 million tons of CO2 annually and is among the biggest single producers of CO2 emissions in Europe. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 However, there are increased concerns on the negative impacts of nuclear power such as carbon emissions that have the potential to cause pollution and climate change, which could potentially lead to increased temperatures across the globe, rise in sea levels that threaten to submerge areas around coastal regions, prolonged drought periods as well as frequent and violent storms. Additionally, there are safety concerns especially with regards to the disposal of radioactive waste associated with nuclear energy production. All these effects threaten human life and wreak havoc on livelihoods and development efforts across the globe.

The impacts of climate change transcend international borders and have become an international security threat. One of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change is the agriculture sector. Most countries in the world are largely dependent on agriculture as a source of livelihood and any threats to this particular sector could have devastating effects on world population. From flooding incidences instigated by rising in sea levels, frequent and intensified occurrences of wild fires and prolonged drought seasons are but some of the impacts of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are another major cause of climate change and they lead to what is commonly referred to as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is as a result of record high levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere which has devastating impacts on world climate. It is imperative to hasten efforts towards curbing the negative impacts of climate change.

Some recommendations to combat nuclear energy effects as well as climate change include; international organizations such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should assist countries formulate policies that can spur the world towards green innovation. Other positive efforts to combat climate change include using alternate source of energy such solar energy and wind energy and reforestation efforts can and should be doubled in an effort to restore degraded lands. In addition to that, clean and renewable energy production should be made a rule and a priority in each country in order to enhance global sustainable development (Milner, 2005).

In conclusion, the importance of International Relations especially in relation to the Foreign Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Diplomacy & International Relation course cannot be overemphasized. The discipline is key for countries to be able to identify and address global issues, formulate effective and efficient policies, be able to address the needs of their citizens appropriately and much more. It is becoming increasingly essential for globalization efforts to be welcomed wholeheartedly by all nations in the world. Progressively, collaboration efforts, partnerships, and international cooperation are increasingly becoming the bedrock and foundation of global progress as well as sustainable development. In order to effectively and efficiently address global issues such as terrorism, cyber espionage, nuclear power and climate change as well as gender equality, justice and human rights among others, nations must come together.

In the wake of how important globalization and international relations have become, individual countries must awaken to the fact we as the world population are stronger together. Globalization and International Relations are a way for countries to double their development efforts as they can mutually benefit from one another. The efforts undertaken by international agencies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, will go a long way in assisting countries combat global as well as local issues. As a world, we are truly only stronger together when we partner, cooperate and collaborate with each other. We are indeed, stronger because of each other

Emmanuel Addo

Emmanuel Addo is the founder of the Young Global Leaders Network, an international non-governmental organization registered in six (6) countries namely, Ghana, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan and has a membership strength of over 15,000 young black professionals, students, graduates, and aspiring leaders.

The organization also operates in 25 other African countries. Emmanuel also doubles as the chief convener and founder of the Young African Leaders Summit, one of the largest continental youth summits in Africa.  

Currently works at Kingston University as a Business Engagement Team Member in their Partnerships and Engagement Department. 

He characterizes energy, integrity, result-oriented, and ground-breaking service in each detail of strategic management, change management, stakeholder management, and leadership acquaintances.
Emmanuel owns a core background in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

Leveraging his experience as a youth activist and a dynamic young man, Emmanuel founded the Young Global Leaders Network, a youth organization that comprises young diplomats, young politicians, and aspiring politicians, business/entrepreneurial business leaders with the aim of championing a mutual agenda for the African youth and promoting youth participation in governance as well as promoting entrepreneurial culture.
Emmanuel nurtures an environment of teamwork and has expertise in data collection and analysis as well as both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Emmanuel worked as an Associate Lecturer at the London College of Advanced Management where he delivered a wide range of business management courses that involved principles of marketing, leadership, operation management, and research methods. Emmanuel has always maintained high teaching and learning standards to ensure that his students’ stand out in academic achievements and successful progression. As a stout believer and passionate key player in volunteering; Emmanuel creates quality time to giving back gladly to his community what he has learned and to educate individuals with free consultancy on career development. He is a leader anyone would love to look up to and with great integrity, commitment, and passion to make the world a better place.
Emmanuel worked as Qualifications Manager at the Open University in the UK.

Emmanuel is also the founder of Kickstart Innovation Hub Ltd, the entrepreneurial hub of Young Global Leaders Network.