World Issues - 2023


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Disputes - international

stretching over some 280,000 km, the world's 325 international land boundaries separate 195 independent states and 70 dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, and other miscellaneous entities; ethnicity, culture, race, religion, and language have divided states into separate political entities as much as history, physical terrain, political fiat, or conquest, resulting in sometimes arbitrary and imposed boundaries; most maritime states have claimed limits that include territorial seas and exclusive economic zones; overlapping limits due to adjacent or opposite coasts create the potential for 430 bilateral maritime boundaries of which 209 have agreements that include contiguous and non-contiguous segments; boundary, borderland/resource, and territorial disputes vary in intensity from managed or dormant to violent or militarized; undemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries tend to encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and confrontation; territorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural claims, or they may be brought on by resource competition; ethnic and cultural clashes continue to be responsible for much of the territorial fragmentation and internal displacement of the estimated 45.7 million people and cross-border displacements of approximately 31.7 million refugees and asylum seekers around the world as of yearend 2021; approximately 429,300 refugees were repatriated during 2021; other sources of contention include access to water and mineral (especially hydrocarbon) resources, fisheries, and arable land; armed conflict prevails not so much between the uniformed armed forces of independent states as between stateless armed entities that detract from the sustenance and welfare of local populations, leaving the community of nations to cope with resultant refugees, hunger, disease, impoverishment, and environmental degradation

Refugees and internally displaced persons

the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that as of year-end 2022 there were 108.4 million people forcibly displaced worldwide; this includes 62.5 million IDPs, 35.3 million refugees, 5.4 million asylum seekers, 5.2 million others in need of international protection; the UNHCR estimates there are currently more than 4.4 million stateless persons as of year-end 2022 (the true estimate is estimated to be significantly higher)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating:

Tier 2 Watch List:
(34 countries) Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia, Zimbabwe (2022)

Tier 3: (22 countries) Afghanistan, Belarus, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, People's Republic of China, Cuba, Curacao, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Russia, Sint Maarten, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Vietnam (2022)

trafficking profile: approximately 800,000 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked annually across national borders, not including millions trafficked within their own countries; at least 80% of the victims are female and up to 50% are minors; 75% of all victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation; almost two-thirds of the global victims are trafficked intra-regionally within East Asia and the Pacific (260,000 to 280,000 people) and Europe and Eurasia (170,000 to 210,000 people)

Illicit drugs

cocaine: worldwide coca cultivation in 2020 likely amounted to 373,000 hectares, potential pure cocaine production reached 2,100 metric tons in 2020

 worldwide illicit opium poppy cultivation probably reached about 265,000 hectares in 2020, with potential opium production reaching 7,300 metric tons; Afghanistan is world's primary opium producer, accounting for 85% of the global supply; Southeast Asia was responsible for 7% of global opium; Latin America opium in 2020 was sufficient to produce about 61 metric tons of pure heroin


NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.