Future challenges in the environment of megacities.

According to United Nations estimates, the urban population increases worldwide by about 150.000 people every day. This development, called Urbanisation, will be one of the most significant dynamics affecting the future, presenting both chances and risks. The trend will be accompanied by an increased demand for natural resources – particularly water, energy, and food – creating challenges as vital municipal services and systems come under increasing pressure.

In consequence of the fact that 80 percent of the global population live within 100 km of the coast, a significant – and even further increasing – proportion of the world’s population is living in urban littoral areas.

Those urban littorals also host the major ports and trade hubs throughout the world. An area like this represents a complex, cluttered and crowded environment indeed, linking the vital traffic at sea through key transportation hubs with the supply chain ashore, ensuring the flow of both cargo and passengers.

Due to the great relevance, allied forces have to be capable operating within this very challenging environment that requires capabilities in the entire range of military campaigns: From humanitarian assistance, through peace operations, up to full scale high intensity combat; all of which could occur simultaneously within the same area of operations.

Adapting and adjusting to this expected development will challenge NATO forces to use their equipment, skills and determination in innovative and imaginative ways. In order to analyse and to best meet these challenges, NATO initiated the Urbanisation Project. The basic objectives are to understand and outline the Urbanisation trend between now and 2035. A Conceptual Study was delivered to NATO Military Committee in March 2016. The development of the paper was supported by several research papers and validated by experiments and war games.

The COE CSW supported to the entire process and contributed to the conceptual study development by providing Subject Matter Expertise on operational issues within Confined and Shallow Waters. In this context our future study on Prospective Operations in CSW has been observed to be extremely conducive. Notably, the COE CSW, in collaboration with the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea COE(CJOS COE), drafted a paper focusing on the maritime aspects of Urbanisation that has been attached to the Conceptual Study. A version of this document, releasable to the public, is called Role and Relevance of the Maritime Domain in an Urban-Centric Operational Environment and posted on this website.

At present, the COE CSW supports the revision of the Urbanisation Conceptual Study.

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