World Issues - 2021


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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 30.2 million refugees and asylum seekers around the world as of yearend 2019; approximately 317,200 refugees were repatriated during 2019; 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 2020 there were 82.4 million people forcibly displaced worldwide; this includes 48 million conflict IDPs, 26.4 million refugees, 4.1 million asylum seekers, and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad; the UNHCR estimates there are currently at least 10 million stateless persons

Trafficking in persons

current situation: 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)

Tier 2 Watch List:  (44 countries) Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia

Tier 3:  (19 countries) Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Burma, Burundi, China, Comoros, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Lesotho, Nicaragua, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela (2020)

Illicit drugs

cocaine: worldwide coca leaf cultivation in 2013 likely amounted to 165,000 hectares, assuming a stable crop in Bolivia; Colombia produced slightly less than half of the worldwide crop, followed by Peru and Bolivia; potential pure cocaine production increased 7% to 640 metric tons in 2013; Colombia conducts an aggressive coca eradication campaign, Peru has increased its eradication efforts, but remains hesitant to eradicate coca in key growing areas;

opiates: worldwide illicit opium poppy cultivation increased in 2013, with potential opium production reaching 6,800 metric tons; Afghanistan is world's primary opium producer, accounting for 82% of the global supply; Southeast Asia was responsible for 12% of global opium; Pakistan produced 3% of global opium; Latin America produced 4% of global opium, and most was refined into heroin destined for the US market (2015)

NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

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