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The Foresight Centre is launching a new monitoring project to study the impact of the changing global forces on Estonia’s development. The study will result in key options and decision-making points.

The Head of the Foresight Centre Tea Danilov explained that the purpose of the study is to determine the significance of changes in the global forces for Estonia in line with different development scenarios.

“There is a whole body of studies and scenarios available around the world on, among other things, the expected major changes in the division of countries into energy exporters and importers, or the competition between regions in managing data and digital technology. It is far from clear which operational model would turn out to be the most successful in the future. Our aim is to use the existing analyses to generate an understanding on how developments in different areas impact one another, and what could be the possible overall picture,” said Danilov.

The Head of Research of the Foresight Centre Meelis Kitsing stressed that the changes in the geopolitical and economic forces are interpreted very differently today. “There are those who predict the collapse of the Western capitalism, and there are those who are convinced that the liberal world order is coming to an end and that new empires are emerging in the form of China, USA, and the European Union. At the same time, some leading researchers see the western liberal democracy as resilient and capable of withstanding the internal challenges in the shape of populism as well as global storms that follow the rise of China and India,” Kitsing said.

The Foresight Centre focuses its research mainly on the development of the fields of technology and energy because these are important for Estonia and susceptible to the impact of global developments.

“On the one hand, over the last 25 years, Estonia has built up a successful functioning digital state and an environment that fosters digital businesses, which is often held up as a role model for other countries. Yet this environment is directly dependent on global developments,” Kitsing admitted.

Kitsing cited energy as an important topic for Estonia, as the use of oil shale in generating energy as well as producing oil creates obstacles in the transition to climate neutrality. “Developments on the global market in the shape of oil pricing, energy consumption, or geopolitical tensions can boost or decrease this motivation,” he added.

The study should result in scenarios until the year 2035. Experts and specialists of different fields work together to identify the significance of different scenarios for Estonia, and the Foresight Centre also highlights the main options available for Estonian decision-makers.

The study is led by the Foresight Centre but is conducted by an international framework created for the purpose, involving top experts from Estonia and abroad. The analytical part of the study project will be completed in the first half of 2020 and the project presentations, discussions, and follow-up activities will run until the end of 2020.

The materials of the study project Changes in Global Forces and Their Significance for Estonia are available here: https://www.riigikogu.ee/arenguseire/globaalsed-joujooned/

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