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  • Author: Guy de Jonquières
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The troubled history of the Doha trade talks, which suffered their latest breakdown in July 2008, is due to more than differences between members' negotiating positions. It is a symptom of deeper institutional problems in the WTO, as it struggles to adjust to global economic change. At stake are not only prospects for a further push to open world markets, but the primacy of the WTO as the maker and enforcer of the multilateral rules that underpin the international economic order. Although reforms of WTO procedures may be desirable, they will not be enough to restore momentum. WTO members need also to develop a new model of leadership, define a clearer mission for the organization and pursue domestic policies that buttress its role. It is unclear whether governments possess the political energy or commitment required to undertake that effort. But continued drift risks weakening the organization and could, in the longer term, undermine the integrity of the rules-based trade system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Tom Cargill
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The UN mission that led Sierra Leone out of bloody civil war in 2002 ends on 30 September 2008. Despite significant advances, and landmark elections last year that saw the opposition win power, the country remains amongst the poorest in the world. It is vulnerable to crime, corruption, and the growing power of South American drugs cartels. The UK has been Sierra Leone's major donor since its military intervention in 2000 - the last successful military intervention before the Iraq war. However, slow progress and uncertain prospects for the country mean that the UK is keen to broaden the responsibility for supporting Sierra Leone. There are good signs that the government of Sierra Leone is serious about reform. But if it is to cement stability and growth, it will need to find new international partners, continue its reform efforts, and deter drug-traffickers from establishing themselves in the country. Most importantly, it will need to show greater leadership, confidence and direction to both voters and donors to ensure that widespread goodwill is not eroded by uncertainty and drift.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Poverty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Roger Middleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has more than doubled in 2008; so far over 60 ships have been attacked. Pirates are regularly demanding and receiving million-dollar ransom payments and are becoming more aggressive and assertive. The international community must be aware of the danger that Somali pirates could become agents of international terrorist networks. Already money from ransoms is helping to pay for the war in Somalia, including funds to the US terror-listed Al-Shabaab. The high level of piracy is making aid deliveries to drought-stricken Somalia ever more difficult and costly. The World Food Programme has already been forced to temporarily suspend food deliveries. Canada is now escorting WFP deliveries but there are no plans in place to replace their escort when it finishes later this year. The danger and cost of piracy (insurance premiums for the Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold) mean that shipping could be forced to avoid the Gulf of Aden/Suez Canal and divert around the Cape of Good Hope. This would add considerably to the costs of manufactured goods and oil from Asia and the Middle East. At a time of high inflationary pressures, this should be of grave concern. Piracy could cause a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Aden if a tanker is sunk or run aground or set on fire. The use of ever more powerful weaponry makes this increasingly likely. There are a number of options for the international community but ignoring the problem is not one of them. It must ensure that WFP deliveries are protected and that gaps in supply do not occur.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Vanessa Rossi
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The global financial system has suffered a once-in-a-century meltdown that almost brought the world economy to a halt in late September. Confidence and trust have been shattered. In spite of concerted and extraordinary efforts on the part of central banks and political leaders, including recapitalizing the banks, it is not yet certain that the waves of panic and destruction have been halted. Many of the repercussions have yet to emerge, including possible legal action as well as economic damage. Even before this latest explosion, the leading OECD economies were plunging into an unusually synchronized recession, driven by the simultaneous collapse in consumer and business spending. This will now get worse.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets
  • Author: Ginny Hill
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Yemen presents a potent combination of problems for policy-makers confronting the prospect of state failure in this strategically important Red Sea country. It is the poorest state in the Arab world, with high levels of unemployment, rapid population growth and dwindling water resources. President Saleh faces an intermittent civil war in the north, a southern separatist movement and resurgent terrorist groups. Yemen's jihadi networks appear to be growing as operating conditions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia become more difficult. The underlying drivers for future instability are economic. The state budget is heavily dependent on revenue from dwindling oil supplies. Yemen's window of opportunity to shape its own future and create a post-oil economy is narrowing.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Mike Smith, Nicholas Khoo
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific has been characterized by the assertion of American dominance. To this end, policy-makers in Washington have adopted a varied policy towards China. From 1950 to 1972, the US pursued a containment policy designed to thwart the revolutionary goals of Maoist foreign policy. Beginning with Nixon's rapprochement with Beijing in 1972, US policy was dramatically altered to meet the overriding goal of deterring the Soviet threat. The US and China actively cooperated to contain Soviet and Vietnamese influence in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The end of the Cold War, preceded shortly before by the Tiananmen massacre, saw another shift in the US position, whereby China was no longer looked upon with favour in Washington. Acting on his presidential campaign promises not to repeat George Bush Senior's policy of 'coddling dictators'in Beijing, President Clinton initially enacted a policy that explicitly linked China's human rights record to the renewal of most favoured- nation trade status with the US. When this linkage failed, a striking policy reversal occurred as the Clinton administration adopted an unrestrained engagement policy in which it eventually underplayed Sino-US differences in the spheres of trade, human rights, and strategic-military ties.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Benito Müller
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In direct reaction to President Bush's speedy reneging on a campaign pledge to set 'mandatory reduction targets' for carbon dioxide emissions from power generation (a mere 53 days into his presidency), Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, Director General of the German Environment Ministry, admitted that 'maybe it will be necessary to ratify the Protocol without the US and to instead pave the way for them to join later'. Since then, this sentiment has been rapidly gaining ground internationally, in particular after President Bush unilaterally declared the failure of the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, at a meeting in Kiruna (Sweden) on 31 March 2001, EU environment ministers pledged to pursue ratification of the treaty with or without the United States. Environment minister Kjell Larsson, for the Swedish Presidency, stated that 'the Kyoto Protocol is alive, contrary to what has been said from the other side of the Atlantic. No individual country has the right to declare a multilateral agreement dead.'
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, Israel
  • Author: Terry Terriff, Mark Webber, Stuart Croft, Jolyon Howorth
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Nice Summit will best be remembered for the eponymous treaty, designed to make the necessary institutional reforms to allow the European Union to enlarge, but progress in the sphere of security and defence is no less significant. Following changes that began at St Malo in 1998, the EU member states demonstrated their willingness to share the security burden with the United States. However, this apparently positive move has been greeted with caution at best, hostility at worst in the US, where the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is sometimes portrayed as a threat to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). What has enabled the EU to produce a common policy on security and defence after decades of failure? What are the prospects for ESDP? What are the implications for the Atlantic Alliance?
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Duncan Brack, Fanny Calder, Muge Dolun
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) – the 'Earth Summit' – took place in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992. Unprecedented in size and scope, Rio resulted in a number of important agreements including Agenda 21, two new conventions and the foundation of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Among these Agenda 21 has a particularly important role in defining sustainable development and providing a blueprint for change. Within the next two years the world will be preparing for the tenth-year review of the Rio Conference, which will lead to the World Summit on Sustainable Development – 'Rio+10'.
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Science and Technology
  • Author: Halina Ward
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The business of global governance is set to become one of the key international policy issues of the twenty-first century. The governance of global business is one of the most difficult action points in this agenda. New issues are still emerging, not least among them a discussion on whether there is a need for tougher transnational regulation of multinational corporations. This Briefing Paper outlines the implications of one way of enforcing corporate environmental, social and human rights standards across borders: 'foreign direct liability'.
  • Topic: International Law, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance