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  • Author: Cleo Paskal, Michael Lodge
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Approximately 70 of the 156 States that have ratified the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea have potential Outer Continental Shelf Claims (OCS). Those claims could cover more than 15 million square kilometres of seabed. Under Article 82 of the Convention, a portion of the revenue from the extraction of non-living resources on the OCS must be disbursed 'on the basis of equitable sharing criteria, taking into account the interests and needs of developing States, particularly the least developed and the land-locked among them.' Article 82 is a unique and complex provision that does not address many of the specifics of how this is to be accomplished. The Energy, Environment and Development Programme at Chatham House is working with the body charged with applying Article 82, the International Seabed Authority, to explore in greater detail some of the critical issues of implementation while the Article is still dormant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Energy Policy, Environment, International Law, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations
  • Author: Abbas Shiblak
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The quest of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is not only a legal and moral right but has become a major part of Palestinian identity and symbolizes Palestinian historical narratives. It has been an effective instrument of mobilization that became the political priority of various resistance groups which later formed the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO embarked on a line of negotiation which sought to reconcile rightist and realist approaches. They sought acknowledgment by Israel of its responsibility for the refugee issue and acceptance in principle of their right of return while showing flexibility and readiness to discuss various formulations of return. At the core of the inter-Palestinian debate is the dynamic between the two objectives of achieving statehood and the resolution of the refugee issue. State-building came to be seen not only as a means of reconstructing Palestinian identity but also as a catalyst to resolution of the refugee issue. A peace agreement should widen the options for the refugees and address all aspects of the refugee issue including the rights of repatriation to Israel, return to a Palestinian state, compensation, and equality and full citizenship rights in countries where refugees choose to remain. A comprehensive peace agreement must include the regional aspects of the refugee issue and all regional actors. There is an urgent need to review the current format of negotiations and bring about more balanced and effective international political engagement in the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Political Economy, Post Colonialism, Poverty, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, as Mainland China has been developing and liberalizing its economy, Taiwan has been undergoing an equally remarkable but very different political transformation, from martial law in 1987 to its current status as one of the most vibrant, stable democracies in Asia. Despite its eventful experience of the democratization process, the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008 proved that Taiwan is now a mature, and stable, democracy. It has passed the ultimate test, seeing the successful transition of rule from one party to another and back again, without social turmoil. Economic performance over the same period has been less striking. Once among the fastestgrowing economies, Taiwan is now afflicted by a relatively low growth rate, and problems over the outflow of capital and investment to the Mainland. The potential for conflict over cross-straits relations remains but it has been significantly reduced under President Ma and by the Mainland Chinese government's greater accommodation with a democratic Taiwan in the last decade. The risk of a military conflict between the two sides, which could drag in the US, and therefore the rest of the world, cannot be entirely discounted, however. Taiwan's greatest challenges in the next decade remain the same as in the last – to maintain its identity, to develop its democratic system, and to handle relations with the Mainland in a way that preserves its interests while avoiding conflict. Taiwan's system, which has so far proved itself robust and effective, faces a new challenge too: how to benefit from the increase in Mainland investment abroad.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Sonya Sceats
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Human rights abuses on a massive scale continue to afflict the lives of millions of people across the continent of Africa. As in other parts of the world, the obstacles in pursuing justice are currently insurmountable for most victims. Against this troubling backdrop, the African Union (AU) has decided to add a human rights section to its new court which has been agreed upon but not yet set up. This court is called the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. In the meantime, another pan-African human rights court, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, has recently opened in Arusha, Tanzania. This court will be wound down to make way for the African Court of Justice and Human Rights but is expected to operate for the next few years at least. These two courts represent the third instalment in efforts since the Second World War to create regional human rights courts. Because they have broad powers to enforce socio-economic rights and the collective rights of peoples, they may be setting an example for new developments around the world. This briefing paper focuses on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, but it also explains key features of the interim African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. It addresses questions including: Can victims of human rights abuses bring cases? Will the Court be able to try African heads of state? Will governments comply with judgments?
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Torture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Litvin
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the United States, European Union and Asia, fears about dependence on oil and gas imports from unstable regions have become a major theme of political debate. This paper provides a high-level and historical perspective on this complex issue. Dependence on oil and gas imports raises real economic- and political-security issues for many countries. Neither the global economic crisis nor climate change policies - both of which look set to restrain oil and gas demand - will solve the problem entirely. In fact, over the next few decades it is likely to become worse.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jim Rollo, Peter Holmes
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The collapse of world trade is threatening to create a negative feedback loop to the global economy. Some countries have seen their trade fall by 30–50% in the year to February 2009, a bigger fall than between 1929 and 1930. Annual figures for world trade in 2008 show a big fall in the fourth quarter – a trend that has been accelerating. The world's trade ministers have failed to get the Doha Development Agenda back on track, despite direct instructions from the G20 leaders to do so quickly after the November summit in Washington, DC. This failure sends a very powerful negative signal about the G20's lack of policy coordination on even bigger issues. There is a two-way interaction between trade and the macro-economy at a national and global level. The current crisis is threatening countries that rely on export-led growth, a strategy that has led billions out of poverty. It is imperative for there to be recognition that the current shrinkage in global trade is a macro-economic problem requiring macro-economic solutions, and that the necessary actions must be coordinated.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy
  • Author: Claire Spencer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: North Africa may not be as stable as it looks: socio-economic and political pressures are fracturing the consensus between governments and governed and may overtake terrorism and criminality as the region's main destabilizing forces. With political leadership in the region effectively a lifelong position, the growth of authoritarianism is undermining the prospects for achieving political and economic liberalization. Despite the worsening global economic climate, a window of opportunity exists to accelerate socially sensitive and productive domestic investment and open space for greater autonomous political and economic development. Success depends on renegotiating the social contracts on which North Africa's states are based. A broadening of participation, above all through the extension of legal employment, targeted investment on education, health and skills, and the establishment of independent legal and regulatory frameworks, will go some way towards addressing socio-economic stresses. A change in the political environment, however, requires a re-evaluation of how the region's security climate is seen from outside, with adjustments in the kind of support given to regional governments by its key international partners, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Islam, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Arabia
  • Author: Benjamin J Cohen, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) became effective nearly a decade ago, the euro was seen as having the potential to be the second pillar of the international monetary system. It was expected to share leadership in monetary affairs with the United States. Ten years later, however, the story looks quite different. Although the euro has firmly established itself as an international currency, the degree of change has been considerably less than expected. Europe's joint money remains at a distinct disadvantage in relation to America's greenback, limiting the role it can play in global monetary governance. The euro is not yet ready for 'prime time' and can at best play only a subordinate role to the dollar in the global system. This can be described as a one-and-a-half currency system – certainly not a two-pillar world. The problem lies in the governance structure of EMU. Because the euro is a currency without a country, based on an inter-state agreement, participating members find it difficult to speak with a single voice. The solution lies in a reform of EMU's governing rules and institutions that would put greater emphasis on the euro's external dimension. On the one hand this calls for more proactive management of the currency's exchange rate by the European Central Bank (ECB), together with an explicit commitment by the Eurogroup –the euro zone's informal committee of finance ministers – to undertake effective coordination of national fiscal policies. On the other hand it means designating a single representative of EMU with real authority to speak on behalf of members in international councils. Unless the euro zone can learn how to project power more successfully than it has until now, dual leadership of monetary affairs at the global level will remain out of reach.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Roderick Abbott
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In an important shift, inspired partly by drift in the Doha Round negotiations, the EU announced in 2006 that it would seek new free trade area arrangements with fast-growing economies, particularly in Asia. The plan, which ended a moratorium on the launch of bilateral trade talks, in place since 1996, was billed explicitly as a contribution to the EU's own growth and jobs strategy as well as a market-opening exercise. However, the policy has so far been no more effective than multilateral negotiations in producing concrete results. Negotiations with South Korea and ASEAN have made only slow progress, while the state of talks with India remains unclear. The EU spent most of 2007 renegotiating long-standing agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in an effort to satisfy WTO rules. Meanwhile, the EU's partnership agreements with China and Russia have expired, and appropriate successor arrangements are still being sought. In both cases, a number of important bilateral problems and strains will need to be dealt with. With its various trade negotiations treading water, the EU may need to review its options. One could be a more aggressive pursuit of market access, modelled on the US approach. Alternatively, the EU's traditional preference for multilateral engagement may reassert itself.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Caribbean
  • Author: Rex Brynen
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The question of Palestinian refugees has long been one of the most difficult issues in dispute in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. With the onset of renewed peace talks following the Annapolis summit of November 2007, it is once again an issue that the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators must address. The two sides are in a worse position to resolve the issue than they were during the last rounds of permanent status negotiations in 2000–01. The political weakness of the Israeli and Palestinian governments is compounded by heightened mistrust between the two societies, as well as by a hardening of Israeli public attitudes against even the symbolic return of any refugees to Israeli territory. There is now a substantial accumulated body of work on the Palestinian refugee issue to guide and inform negotiators and policy-makers. This includes past official negotiations among the key parties, wider discussions among regional states and the international donor community, unofficial and Track II initiatives and a considerable body of technical analysis.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Law, Migration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine