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  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Like its putative Islamic State counterparts in Iraq and Syria, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has in recent weeks accomplished an alarming expansion of its territorial control The downing of a Nigerian fighter jet-and the videotaped beheading of its pilot-also suggest a quantum leap in the group's offensive and propaganda capabilities The Nigerian state's attempts to counter the Boko Haram narrative through positive public relations have yet to yield positive results The government's latest claim of killing the militants' leader, Abubakar Shekau, remains unsubstantiated, thus creating another public relations challenge for Nigerian security officials.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Debbie Hillier
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is totally unprecedented. The accelerating number of cases, the poor health infrastructure in affected countries, the short supply of skills, knowledge and personnel, and the fear surrounding this disease are providing a huge challenge to affected governments and the international community as they battle to bring the epidemic under control.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, Health Care Policy, Ebola
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Isabel Martins
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: South Sudan is facing the world's worst food crisis, driven by the conflict that erupted in December 2013. Unless there is an end to the fighting, this food crisis will continue. Without far stronger international pressure, the conflict is unlikely to be resolved. International diplomacy – as well as aid and the protection of civilians on the ground – is urgently needed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Alors que le Nord du Mali connait un inquiétant regain de violence, les négociations de paix à Alger constituent une chance unique de sortie de crise. Mais après deux mois de discussions, la paix semble encore loin. Le gouvernement malien et les groupes armés engagés dans les négociations peinent à trouver un terrain d'entente. Des groupes influents et radicaux qui manquent à la table des négociations sont tentés de faire dérailler le processus par la violence. La résolution du conflit passe par l'articulation complexe d'intérêts divergents qui touchent à la sécurité du Sahara, à la nature de l'Etat malien et aux équilibres locaux entre des communautés divisées. Face aux affrontements armés, la tentation est grande d'aller vite et de signer un accord à minima garantissant la sécurité à court terme. La précipitation est mauvaise conseillère. Il faut se donner les moyens et le temps de construire les fondements d'une paix durable.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Nicole Ball
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Progress made by Burundi's Security Sector Development (SSD) program in advancing democratic security sector governance is noteworthy given that there have been relatively few successful security sector reform cases from which to draw. Political will for security sector reform was expanded over time by supporting tangible priorities of the Burundian security sector that established the trust enabling broader engagement on governance issues. The relative success of the SSD program—and particularly its governance pillar—depended heavily on its ability to address politically sensitive issues. SSD's 8-year timeframe provided the time to adapt the program to evolving circumstances, facilitate increasing Burundian ownership of the reform process, and realize the incremental gains from which substantive change was possible.
  • Topic: Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Suhani Bhushan, Stephanie C. Fauquier
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: By 2050, the world's population is expected to exceed nine billion people. Population growth is occurring most rapidly in Africa, which will see the population grow from one billion to 2.1 billion by 2050. Africa will see significant population growth; however, agricultural output is not growing at the same rate. Africa's abundant natural resources are being used ineffectively, and the country is unlikely to sustain current population growth. According to reGina Jane Jere (2014), "Barely a fraction of fertile agricultural land [in Africa] is being cultivated - just 10 percent of the 400 million hectares."
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elizabeth Fraser, Malambo Moonga, Johanna Wilkes
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: SSA is a region undergoing a significant urban transition. UN-Habitat (2014) estimates that by 2050, 58 percent of the African continent will be living in urban regions, representing an increase from 400 million individuals to over 1.26 billion. This will be accompanied by a burgeoning informal sector, which has grown rapidly since the 1960s across the continent, providing income, employment and livelihoods for millions of poor urban households.
  • Topic: Poverty, Food, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Debbie Hillier, Krista Riddley
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The international response to the Ebola epidemic is on the right path, but there is a long way to go. The UN's interim objective was to treat 70 percent of cases and to ensure that 70 percent of burials were done safely within 60 days, i.e. by 1 December 2014. Case numbers are stabilizing in Liberia and Guinea, but remain out of control in Sierra Leone – such that the targets for cases treated has not been met. The UN has not provided figures for what had been achieved by 1 December, but a previous sitrep on 21 November showed that only 13 percent of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have been isolated, compared with 72 percent in Guinea.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Human Welfare, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohamed Eljarh
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The French intellectual Jean Baudrillard once said, “It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.” In the case of Libya, this question should have been at the center of every political initiative immediately following the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi's regime. Libya's new leadership had the opportunity to convene a national dialogue in an effort to explore questions of national identity and a new vision for a national mission. Unfortunately, the Libyan elites who emerged from the 2011 civil war did not make national dialogue a priority, opting to appease local forces—armed and political—rather than to undertake the difficult but critical task of nation-building.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: The F-35, or Joint Strike Fighter, is America’s next-generation manned fighter jet, but this $1.5 trillion program—the most expensive weapon program ever—has been plagued by costly delays and design challenges. There is a solution to the F-35 dilemma: slow down. The threats facing the U.S. today do not require that we rush the F-35 into production. We can save billions by further testing the aircraft. In this time of budget cutting and sequestration, the issue of F-35 spending is significant. Here’s how to talk about this weapon system—and how to fix it.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mireille Affa'a Mindzie, George Mukundi Wachira, Lucy Dunderdale
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The “Africa rising” narrative has gained traction in recent years. Yet a very important question remains: who is rising? While statistics point to a continent whose fortunes have improved, many African citizens remain at the margins of socioeconomic development. In what has been termed growth without transformative development, there is a heightened focus among African states on translating promising statistics into better livelihoods for citizens. Citizens' uprisings in North Africa and in Burkina Faso provide a fresh reminder of the danger in touting impressive economic growth statistics while the majority of a country's population remains excluded from democratic governance processes and development. It is also widely believed that development failures and governance deficits lie “at the heart of Africa's violent conflicts.” Africa will only achieve its full potential and live up to the Africa rising narrative if it can strengthen its systems of governance; promote inclusive, equitable, and participatory development; and embed a culture of democracy and peace.
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa
  • Author: Esbern Friis-Hansen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Social accountability as a tool for development planning is gaining foothold in international donor circles. It is concerned with the responsibility and responsiveness of state authorities, as well as the ability of citizens to make claims and hold those who exercise power to account for their actions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ali Bilgic, Daniela Nascimento
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Although Turkey had no past colonial involvement with African countries, there has been an increasing revival of Turkey's relation with the continent since the end of the 1990s, which reached a peak after 2005. From then on, along with a focus on Central Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East, Turkish foreign policy started shifting its focus to Africa, and as a new donor country Turkey's political and economic relations with sub-Saharan African countries have intensified significantly. This policy brief analyses and discusses the main economic, political, and strategic motivations behind these shifts and priorities, as well as some of the perceptions and current challenges this change in policy faces.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Licínia Simão
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: It was not until 2007 that the concept of development assistance became part of the Russian foreign policy toolkit. This policy brief explains Russia's development assistance policy – mainly towards Africa – as an effect of the country's global commitments and socialisation dynamics, on the one hand, and Moscow's growing interest in exploring the potential of soft power as an indispensable element of its diplomacy, since both aspects are interrelated. The policy brief also looks at the mismatches between Russia's normative discourse in its assistance towards Africa, and the economic and geopolitical interests it pursues simultaneously. This provides room for reflection on the specificities of so-called South-South cooperation, with which the BRICS grouping in particular is often associated.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Bradley Anderson, Johan Jooste
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Surging demand for ivory and rhino horn, mainly in Asia, has put wild African elephants and rhinoceroses on the path to extinction. More than an environmental tragedy, however, wildlife poaching and trafficking has exacerbated other security threats and led to the co-option of certain African security units. African states need to develop a broad range of law enforcement capabilities to tackle what is effectively a transnational organized crime challenge. Asian and other international partners, meanwhile, must take action to reduce runaway demand for wildlife products.
  • Topic: Environment, International Political Economy, Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Hampton
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly half of all uniformed peacekeepers are African and countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa have provided troops to UN and AU missions almost continuously over the past decade. Despite such vast experience, African peacekeepers are often reliant on international partners for training before they can deploy on these missions. Institutionalizing a capacity-building model within African defense forces is a more sustainable approach that maintains a higher level of readiness to respond to emerging crises and contingencies on the continent.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Author: Maissaa Almustafa, Evan Cinq-Mars, Matthew Redding
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Since its endorsement in 2005, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has become central to how the global community responds to genocide and mass atrocities. The norm presently faces the “risk of relevance” as a result of the interventions in Libya and Côte d'Ivoire and the deadlock over the situation in Syria. The recommendations in this brief will strengthen preventive capacities, maximize the protection afforded to civilians and ensure the norm's future relevance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Genocide, Human Rights, Armed Struggle, Regime Change, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Author: Jon Temin, Princeton N. Lyman, Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan urgently needs to embark on a national dialogue and reform process that is led by Sudanese and supported by the international community. The process should be broadly inclusive, involving elements of the current regime, Islamists, and all armed and unarmed opposition groups. Any meaningful process will be lengthy, likely requiring years to complete. If a genuine, inclusive process is underway, elections in 2015 may need to be delayed. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel has a critical role to play in advocating for and guiding such a process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jean-Christophe Host
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Africa Policy Brief will look at the Kenyan elections of March 4th 2013 and examine what lessons can be learned from them. The argument that will be developed throughout this paper is that, although the violence was contained, the elections were not a success, because the drivers of conflict in Kenya remain untouched. The underlying reason being that the informal power of the political class still outweighs all the formal institutions and plans put in place. The ruling elite has acknowledged the drivers of conflict in Kenya for years but has shown very little interest in resolving them, because that could influence the drivers of their power.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Hans Hoebeke
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Mali, from model of democracy to a deep political, institutional crisis and war in the course of a few months. This policy brief offers an analysis of the Malian conflict looking into the national political dimension as well as the entire region where already present dynamics were reinforced by the Libyan war of 2011. It also looks into the regional and international response mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Koen Vlassenroot
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: There is an increased recognition that land issues are a key driver and sustaining factor of conflict in eastern DRC. Scholars and practitioners have identified a number of critical land-related factors contributing to violence and conflict, including a huge diversity of land governance forms; the existence of overlapping legal frameworks and the weakness of the statutory land law; competition between indigenous and migrant communities; limited access to arable land in demographically dense areas; the weak performance of the administration and justice system in the reconciliation and arbitration of land disputes; growing stress on local resources caused by massive displacement; the expansion of artisanal and small-scale mining; and increased competition between elites for the control over land and the consequent land concentration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Peace Studies, Post Colonialism, War, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Cristina Barrios
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following a spectacular decline in the Gulf of Aden, incidents of armed robbery at sea and piracy (which legally refer to attacks beyond territorial waters) are now on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea. In 2012, the International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 58 attacks, including 10 hijackings. Nigeria is the most affected country, with 27 attacks in 2012 (almost three times more than in 2011), and 11 already reported for the first quarter of 2013. Most of the attacks target vessels connected to the oil industry, but they also disrupt trade and transport in the region as a whole, thereby posing a security threat to the international community as well as African states.
  • Topic: Crime, Maritime Commerce, Law Enforcement, Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Guinea
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: On 4 March Kenyans will vote in highly anticipated elections. These elections will be Kenya's first since widespread violence following the December 2007 presidential election shocked the country and world. The 2007/8 violence lasted two months, during which time 1,133 Kenyans were killed, over 600,000 driven from their homes and more than 110,000 private properties were destroyed. The stakes during the upcoming elections are high and, while not inevitable, there is a serious risk of a recurrence of widespread violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Durant les neuf derniers mois, ce qui restait de l'Etat centrafricain s'est effondré avec de graves conséquences humanitaires (400 000 personnes sont déplacées et presque la moitié de la population a besoin d'aide humanitaire). Le gouvernement de transition et la force de sécurité régionale ont été incapables de freiner la chute dans l'anarchie aussi bien en zone rurale qu'en zone urbaine et notamment à Bangui. Après plusieurs mois de passivité et à la suite de tueries, la communauté internationale a pris conscience des conséquences de la faillite de la RCA. Malheureusement, la détérioration de la situation est bien plus rapide que la mobilisation internationale et Bangui est au bord de l'explosion. Dans l'immédiat, le Conseil de sécurité devrait fournir un mandat sous chapitre 7 à la Mission internationale de soutien à la Centrafrique sous conduite africaine (Misca) épaulée par les forces françaises pour rétablir l'ordre dans Bangui dans un premier temps puis se déployer dans d'autres villes. Par la suite, la réconciliation religieuse devrait être privilégiée et des mesures de stabilisation devraient être appliquées.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Peace Studies, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in the coming decades. This presents significant challenges for power system planning. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy WSP technologies. Well-designed deployment strategies can take advantage of natural variability in resources across space and time to help minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sven Biscop, Jo Coelmont, Rik Coolsaet
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: As French forces are engaged in combat operations in Mali, even belated EU involvement remains crucial, to ensure that the intervention fits in with the political end-state that the EU rightly pursues.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Mali
  • Author: Eric Munoz
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The past decade has witnessed a resurgence of interest in investing in agriculture. In 2003, heads of state from across Africa committed to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budgets on an annual basis to agriculture and, through their commitment to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), to reduce poverty through agriculture-led growth.1 More recently, at the 2009 G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy, world leaders responded to the global spike in food prices by pledging to provide $22bn over three years to promote food security in developing countries.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Demographics, Development, Poverty, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Puntland is the first of Somalia's federal units to attempt transition from clan-based representation to directly-elected government, but poor preparations and last-minute cancellation of local elections in July underline the challenges of reconciling competing clan interests with a democratic constitution. Cancellation pragmatically averted violence, but societal tensions remain unaddressed. The presidential vote by a clan-selected parliament in January 2014 will thus be fraught. Weak political and judicial institutions will struggle to mediate, risking involvement by partisan arms of the state. Direct elections are no panacea for reducing the conflict risks, but hard-won incremental progress on the constitution and local democratisation must not be abandoned. The cancelled ballot's lessons should be instructive for promised elections in the rest of Somalia. Better technical preparations matter, but Puntland's experience shows that donors and other international actors also need to be heedful of local political realities, including support of elites, robustness of institutions and viability of electoral districts.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Touko Piiparinen
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Last March the UN Security Council authorised the so-called Intervention Brigade to undertake 'targeted offensive operations' against illegal armed groups operating in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Brigade, which undertook its first operations in August, differs from traditional UN peacekeeping in terms of its robust mandate and mobility. The UN has simultaneously adopted a new technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in the DRC, which represents the first-ever use of UAVs as a part of UN peacekeeping. UAVs will be deployed in the DRC at the end of November, and start operating in early December The Intervention Brigade and UAVs have been hailed as a turning point in UN peacekeeping. However, they should not be perceived as completely new or standalone instruments of UN conflict management. They could instead be best understood as a continuum and extension of the long held state building doctrine applied by the UN. These new instruments enable the UN to perform one of its key functions of state building and protection of civilians, namely controlling and policing the whole territory of a state where an intervention has been undertaken more effectively than before. The lessons learned from the UN peace operation in the DRC indicate that the UN state building doctrine remains self-contradictory on account of the tendency of UN state building missions to spill over into wars and the mismatch between the ambitious goals set for state building and the chronic lack of resources. The Intervention Brigade and UAVs can potentially help the UN to resolve that mismatch by enhancing the UN's state building and protection capacities. However, they cannot resolve the other major disadvantage of state building, namely collateral damage inflicted in state building wars, and may even aggravate that problem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Science and Technology, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Isaline Bergamaschi
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief deals with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It explains its first achievements and the two main challenges it has faced so far: issues of leadership, including co-ordination between actors and capacities, on the one hand, and issues related to security conditions and the absence of peace, on the other. Finally, the policy brief proposes some recommendations to the actors involved – MINUSMA itself (i.e. its civilian and military personnel) and the UN member states supporting it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Diana Felix da Costa
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Despite the Murle group being politically and economically marginalised, local and national political and popular discourses portray this group as the main aggressor in South Sudan's Jonglei State. This widely asserted narrative ignores the fact that responsibility for the cycle of violence in Jonglei rests with all those perpetrating violence and certainly not solely with one group. While sharing an overarching ethnic identity, when it comes to issues of peacebuilding, the Murle can be neither seen nor treated as a consolidated group. Rather, there are cattlekeeping Murle living in the lowlands of Pibor county and agrarian Murle living in the Boma Plateau; there are also age-sets, clans and many other differentiating factors. Accusing all Murle of responsibility for violence only serves to magnify the sense of marginalisation and isolation felt by the Murle as a whole. This policy brief seeks to address some of the differences between the cattlekeeping lowlands Murle and the cultivating highlands Murle from the Boma Plateau. By doing so, it highlights the importance of understanding cultural specificities and the local political economy and, when it comes to peacebuilding, of differentiating who is responsible for a specific conflict and who has influence over those responsible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Michael Olufemi Sodipo
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Northern Nigeria has been the locus of an upsurge in youth radicalization and virulent militant Islamist groups in Nigeria since 2009. Nigeria's ranking on the Global Terrorism Index rose from 16 th out of 158 countries in 2008 to 6 th (tied with Somalia) by the end of 2011. There were 168 officially recorded terrorist attacks in 2011 alone. Bombings across the northeast prompted President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2013 to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States. Many Nigerians have come to question whether the country is on the brink of a civil war.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Economics, Islam, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Yobe State, Borno State, Adamawa State
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Violent conflict and the power of armed nonstate actors remain defining priorities in 21 st century Africa. Organized violence has killed millions and displaced many more, leaving them to run the gauntlet of violence, disease, and malnutrition. Such violence has also traumatized a generation of children and young adults, broken bonds of trust and authority structures among and across local communities, shattered education and healthcare systems, disrupted transportation routes and infrastructure, and done untold damage to the continent's ecology from its land and waterways to its flora and fauna. In financial terms, the direct and indirect cost of conflicts in Africa since 2000 has been estimated to be nearly $900 billion. The twin policy challenges are to promote conflict resolution processes and to identify who can stand up to armed nonstate actors when the host government's security forces prove inadequate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Fragile/Failed State, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Patrick Keller
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The "grand narrative" of German security policy since the end of the Cold War has oscillated between Germany's reluctance to use hard power and Germany's desire to be seen as supportive of its American and European allies. This is reflected in the varying decisions it has made during foreign military operations and in the manner in which Germany's military has conducted those operations. At the same time, the German military has undergone a series of reforms designed to modernize German forces and to make them more flexible and deployable. But a stagnant and low level of defense expenditures has made carrying out these reforms an ongoing challenge to the German military and German defense ministry. Germany has a vital interest in a stable and liberal international order and, hence, in having a military capable of helping maintain that order. As Europe's leading economic power and, increasingly, as Europe's central political actor, Germany could and should take the lead in reversing the precipitous decline in European hard power.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, International Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Andrew Shearer
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Like many other Western states, following the Cold War, Australia cut its defense budget, resulting in significant shortfalls in key military capabilities. Since the mid-1990s, successive Australian governments have outlined plans intended to boost the capabilities of Australia's armed forces. However, these strategic ambitions have in recent years been undercut by changes in government spending priorities and shortfalls in the national budget, jeopardizing the long-standing technological advantage Australian forces have enjoyed over other states in the region. As major Asian states such as China continue to grow their economies and modernize their armed forces, Australia must commit sufficient resources to its modernization agenda or risk losing its ability to help shape the Asia-Pacific ­security environment and risk fulfilling its role as a key US partner in America's pivot to Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Cold War, Economics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Xavier Carim
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Proponents tend to argue that bilateral investment treaties (BITs) encourage investment and strengthen the rule of law particularly in jurisdictions where court systems are weak or biased against foreigners. This premise is contested. First, studies on BITs and FDI suggest the relationship is, at best, ambiguous and that BITs are neither necessary nor sufficient to attract FDI. Indeed, South Africa receives FDI from investors in countries with whom it has no BIT and often little or no FDI from others where a BIT was in place.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Nikia Clarke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Energy investments and infrastructure contracts remain prominent in China's Africa engagement. However, investment in manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Its characteristics–large numbers of smaller transactions by privately owned small and medium-sized firms–make these flows difficult to assess or control. However, China and African governments have an interest in effectively channeling this type of FDI.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Benjamin P. Nickels
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: On 22 March 2012, disaffected soldiers took control of Bamako and reversed the regime of President Amadou Toumani Touré, known as ATT, an act that exacerbated Mali's descent into chaos and accelerated a disaster that has propelled the West African nation and the Sahel region to the front pages of newspapers across the world. Something of a consensus narrative of events has since coalesced. The demise of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi un - leashed weapons and warriors into the Sahel, where they mixed with terrorists and rebels who seized Mali's North by routing its military, sparking the coup but eventually provoking intervention by a French and African coalition that has reclaimed Northern cities and is now hunting down rebels in remote refuges. One year after the army rebellion, it may be useful to step back from this narrative and to analyze the Mali Crisis, responses to the crisis and ways to enhance those responses the Mali crisis are global, ethnic, governmental and environmental in nature. For each facet, the past year has provided spectacular examples, all of which are symptoms of much deeper and more persistent problems.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, France, Libya, Chad
  • Author: Kei Otsuki, Weena Gera, David Mungai
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 2000s, African cities have witnessed a series of interventions to improve water and sanitation. This policy brief outlines key lessons learned from the intervention experience, drawing on the UNU research project Multi-level Urban Governance for Total Sanitation (2011-2013) under the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) Project. It highlights the importance of multi-actor approaches for promoting: (1) an institutional framework to coordinate civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and the state agencies across levels; (2) policy recognition of water and sanitation as socially embedded infrastructure with gendered dimensions; and (3) the relevance of scientific research and university education to ongoing policy interventions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Health, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul D. Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: More than 50 peace operations have deployed in Africa since 2000, including multiple African-led or hybrid African Union/United Nations initiatives. The frequency of these deployments underscores the ongoing importance of these operations in the playbook of regional and multilateral bodies to prevent conflict, protect civilians, and enforce ceasefires and peace agreements. Recent operations have featured increasingly ambitious goals and complex institutional partnerships. The achievements and shortcomings of these operations offer vital lessons for optimizing this increasingly central but still evolving tool for addressing conflict and instability.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Prosper Nzekani Zena
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With organized initiatives for demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) in 10 African states, there is widespread recognition of the importance of these programs to advancing stability on the continent. Even so, these initiatives are often under-prioritized and -conceptualized, contributing to the high rates of conflict relapse observed in Africa. DDR efforts across Africa over the past decade indicate that DDR cannot substitute for measures that address core conflict drivers and is often hobbled by expedient but fragile efforts to integrate nonstate militias with a national defense force.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mathurin C. Houngnikpo
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A spate of military coups from 2008 to 2010 in Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar raised the specter of a return to military rule in Africa. While the subsequent resumption of civilian government in Guinea and Niger has reduced these concerns, evidence of military influence in politics remains widespread across the continent. This is prominently in view in Egypt where, in the midst of political transition, the military is attempting to maintain a privileged role for itself despite the widespread demands for genuine democratic reform.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania
  • Author: Evelyne Schmid
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past several decades, dozens of countries have established truth commissions and other bodies to investigate mass atrocities or systematic human rights abuse. Lessons learned from past truth-finding processes are invaluable to help address the legacies of human rights violations in countries transitioning to democratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa and elsewhere. Truth commissions aim to uncover and acknowledge abuses from the past by recognizing the suffering of victims and making recommendations to prevent a recurrence of violence in the future. When convening authorities establish a truth commission, they need to select a process to choose the commission's membership, decide on the subject matter and a deadline for the work it will do as well as its legal powers, its duration and the extent to which its work is public. USIP has established a Truth Commissions Digital Collection (http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-digital-collection) that provides summaries and vital statistics of 41 past commissions from 35 countries, along with copies of most of their legal charters and final reports. Each commission has a dedicated page along with information on subsequent developments, such as reforms, prosecutions and reparations to victims. The Truth Commissions Digital Collection is a resource for researchers and implementers seeking to learn and apply lessons from the past to make current “truth processes” more effective.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Genocide, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Torture
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Somalia's growing Islamist radicalism is spilling over into Kenya. The militant Al-Shabaab movement has built a cross-border presence and a clandestine support network among Muslim populations in the north east and Nairobi and on the coast, and is trying to radicalise and recruit youth from these communities, often capitalising on long-standing grievances against the central state. This problem could grow more severe with the October 2011 decision by the Kenyan government to intervene directly in Somalia. Radicalisation is a grave threat to Kenya's security and stability. Formulating and executing sound counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation policies before it is too late must be a priority. It would be a profound mistake, however, to view the challenge solely through a counter-terrorism lens.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Islam, Armed Struggle, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although the mayhem following the disputed December 2007 elections seemed an exception, violence has been a com­mon feature of Kenya's politics since the introduction of a multiparty system in 1991. Yet, the number of people killed and displaced following that disputed vote was unprecedented. To provide justice to the victims, combat pervasive political impunity and deter future violence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) brought two cases against six suspects who allegedly bore the greatest responsibility for the post-election violence. These cases have enormous political consequences for both the 2012 elections and the country's stability. During the course of the year, rulings and procedures will inevitably either lower or increase com­munal tensions. If the ICC process is to contribute to the deterrence of future political violence in Kenya, the court and its friends must explain its work and limitations better to the public. Furthermore, Kenya's government must complement that ICC process with a national process aimed at countering impunity and punishing ethnic hate speech and violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The next six months will be crucial for Somalia. The international community is taking a renewed interest in the country; the mandate of the feeble and dysfunctional Transitional Federal Government (TFG) expires in a half-year; and emboldened troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Kenya and Ethiopia are keen to deal the weakened (though still potent) extremist Islamist movement Al-Shabaab further defeats. This confluence of factors presents the best chance in years for peace and stability in the south and centre of the country. To achieve that, however, requires regional and wider international unity of purpose and an agreement on basic principles; otherwise spoilers could undermine all peacebuilding efforts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, Terrorism, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Ellie Kemp, Ben Murphy
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: More than six months after famine was declared by the United Nations (UN), Somaliais still in the throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. More than 325,000 children are suffering acute malnutrition inside Somalia, and 31per centof the total population are estimated to be in crisis, while hundreds of thousands have fled to neighbouring countries.
  • Topic: Security, Humanitarian Aid, Islam, Poverty, United Nations, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom