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  • Author: Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United Nations has declared a priority this year to unify and strengthen its work in building peace—and U.N. bodies will meet in the next two months to advance that change. U.N. leaders have acknowledged that a vital element in peacebuilding is nonviolent, grassroots movements that can prevent violent conflict by providing ways for people to constructively address grievances, seek rights and advance justice. But as the United Nations aims to more efficiently promote peace, how prepared is it to actually work with the nonviolent grassroots movements that have proven to be peacebuilding’s most effective tool? The answer to that is unclear, but the U.N. system could take a few steps during and after its high-level meetings this spring to strengthen this neglected part of its peacebuilding strategy.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julie Sapp, Paige Rudin, Abby Lemert, Michele Gardner
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO) leads and supports the efforts of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to maintain peace and provide humanitarian aid. With over 50 camps located in the country of Lebanon, the UNPKO is striving for energy efficiency to ensure day-to-day operations are using resources effectively. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) conducted a study1 rooted in the UNPKO mission to maintain energy efficient camps by analyzing data from metering systems to develop technology insertion recommendations.
  • Topic: Basic Data
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Judging from President’s latest statements on his readiness to capture Ukraine’s stable progress towards EU and NATO membership in the Preamble to the Constitution, we are to expect yet another session of “constitutional vivisection”. Moreover, it is very likely that the parliament and the president will finalise the long-term story of bidding farewell to the constitutional guarantees of parliamentary immunity. Also, one cannot write off a possible attempt to implement the currently semi-fictional idea of transitioning to a parliamentary form of government, again – by introducing corresponding amendments to the Constitution.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: In February of this year, Stanislav Shevchuk was elected the new Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) at one of its sessions. Position of CCU Chairman has been vacant since 20 March 2017. This is when Yurii Baulin’s term has run out. On several occasions, elections of a new chairman were disrupted. In December 2017, they did not take place due to the lack of candidates. The responsibility of CCU Chairman, besides swearing in the newly elected president, is to organise the regular work of the Constitutional Court. We also expect the pressure on the new chairman to mount after the appointment of two new CCU judges on the president’s quota and the election of two more judges on the Verkhovna Rada’s quota.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: On 30 January 2018, in Kyiv, Razumkov Centre together with the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting and CEDOS think tank presented the annual 2017 global top think tanks rating (2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report). This report is issued since 2008 by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania (USA).
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The president’s recent statement that OPEC should reduce their prices may merely be an attempt to assign blame for rising gasoline prices in the midst of the US driving season or an even more cynical attempt to rally his political base in opposition to globalism. Or, it may have something to do with the president’s own decision to create a crisis with Iran. While attention is duly paid to how much Americans have to pay at the pump, a more subtle and complicated story will soon play out with respect to Iran and the reapplication of US sanctions ordered by Trump on May 8, 2018. In fact, unless oil prices are contained, the primary result of the president’s action may be to ensure that Iran profits from the oil market risks that sanctions have created.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Global Focus
  • Author: Sebastian Kohl
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: America’s “infatuation with homeownership” has been identified as one cause of the latest financial crisis. Based on codings of 1,809 party manifestos in 19 OECD countries since 1945, this paper addresses the question of where the political ideal to democratize homeownership came from. While conservative parties have defended homeownership across countries and time, center-left parties have oscillated between a pro-homeownership and a pro-rental position. The former occurs in Anglo-Saxon, Northern and Southern European countries, while the latter prevails among German-speaking countries. Beyond partisan effects, once a country has a majority of homeowners and parties defending homeownership, larger parties are more likely to support it. The extent of center-left parties’ support for homeownership is conditionally associated with higher homeownership rates, more encouraging mortgage regimes, and a bigger housing bubble burst after 2007. The ideational origins of the financialization of housing and private Keynesianism are, after all, not only conservative and market-liberal.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Konyndyk
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Government Reform and Reorganization Plan released earlier this year by the White House calls for substantial reform of US humanitarian institutions. The plan mandates that the State Department and USAID produce a “specific reorganization proposal” to “optimize” humanitarian assistance and “eliminate duplication of efforts and fragmentation of decision-making.” This policy note lays out guidance for how an ambitious but feasible optimization could be achieved. It is informed by two high-level private roundtables convened by the Center for Global Development to solicit expert input, as well as a desk review of documents, expert interviews, and the author’s own experiences serving in the humanitarian arms of both USAID and the State Department. While numerous experts contributed thoughts and feedback, the author takes sole responsibility for the views represented herein.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus