A Gap in Governance? Politics and Society in the Indo-Pacific


By Ralf Emmers

At the heart of the Indo-Pacific region lie emerging political and societal developments that will intensify over time. Identifying relevant trends will help lay the foundation and construct the policy parameters of the next decade. This brief aims to uncover specific political and societal trends out to 2030 with a view to informing the European Union’s policy process. The main areas examined include demographics, democracy, governance, human rights, international law, climate change, ocean governance, and health sector co-operation. In some areas these trends are becoming more intense along with other factors that also intersect at other levels. For example, climate change implications and demographic changes may result in the rise of migration and displacement. Coupled with the gradual decline in democracy, these interactions are also likely to produce greater contestation at all levels, creating opportunities as well as challenges for societies, states, and international systems.


The EU's Indo-Pacific strategy is timely, as the US-Australia-UK agreement demonstrates. This CSDS special edition policy brief resulted from working with the EU in the context of its Indo-Pacific strategy, issued on 16 September 2021, and is published in a series with four others, which shed light on underlying causes and look at future trends. This publication is financially supported by the European Union through the Indo-Pacific Futures Platform (INFORM) project, which ran from April 2021 to December 2022.