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  • Author: John Magrath, Elvis Sukali
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: A wind of climate change is blowing through the southern African nation of Malawi, bringing confusion to fisherfolk and farmers alike.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Gender Issues, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Malawi
  • Author: Emily Alpert, Melinda Smale
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2008, world food prices reached their highest peak since the early 1970s. Food stocked on grocery store shelves was out of reach. Riots ensued. Millions were afflicted. Another 100 million people were pushed into the ranks of the hungry, raising the total to nearly one billion worldwide. And these numbers could climb again as food prices remain high, and continue to rise in many local markets.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The semi-autonomous north-eastern Somali region of Puntland, once touted as a success of the “building blocks” approach to reestablishing national stability and widely viewed as one of the most prosperous parts of Somalia, is experiencing a three-year rise in insecurity and political tension. At its roots are poor governance and a collapse of the intra-clan cohesion and pan-Darood solidarity that led to its creation in 1998. Intra-Darood friction has eroded the consensual style of politics that once underpinned a relative stability. The piracy problem is a dramatic symptom of deeper problems that, left untreated, could lead to Puntland's disintegration or overthrow by an underground militant Islamist movement. A solution to the security threat requires the Puntland government to institute reforms that would make it more transparent and inclusive of all clans living within the region.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia, Puntland
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Depuis 2003, l'exploitation du pétrole a contribué lourdement à la détérioration de la gouvernance interne au Tchad, menant à une succession de crises politiques et de rébellions. Les retombées financières du pétrole – 53 millions de barils rapportant 1,2 milliards de dollars à l'Etat en 2007 – ont attisé les appétits au sein du régime qui ont, à leur tour, nourri des dissensions et débouché sur des rébellions rapidement soutenues par le voisin soudanais. Les revenus du pétrole ont par ailleurs donné au président Idriss Déby les moyens de rejeter tout dialogue politique véritable, et de répondre aux menaces de renversement venues du Soudan par le surarmement. L'enthousiasme suscité par l'exploitation du pétrole a fait place à un désenchantement généralisé. Pour sortir de ce cercle vicieux et susciter les conditions d'une stabilisation durable du pays, le gouvernement tchadien doit redéfinir un consensus national autour de la gestion des revenus pétroliers, et ses partenaires principaux, la France, les Etats-Unis et la Chine, doivent conditionner leur soutien au régime à cette politique, tout en oeuvrant à la stabilisation complémentaire de ses relations avec le Soudan.
  • Topic: Corruption, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last month, Kamal Hassan, a Somali-American living in Minnesota, pled guilty to training and fighting with al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. In July, two other Somali-Americans in Minnesota pled guilty to similar charges, with the FBI continuing to investigate more than a dozen others who may have traveled from the United States to Somalia. The FBI also recently arrested seven individuals in North Carolina on terrorism-related charges, including one who had spent time in Afghan training camps. These and other recent events have raised new concerns in the United States about the threat of homegrown radicalization.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Washington, North Carolina
  • Author: Joel Negin, Jolyon Ford
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Zimbabwe's long night is by no means over. Nearly a year after the violent and disputed March 2008 elections, and months after the September signing of a 'Global Political Agreement' with the ruling ZANU-PF party, the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed in February to take part in a coalition government in which its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, became Prime Minister. The state apparatus in Zimbabwe is currently shared uneasily by reformers and reactionaries with each of the MDC and ZANU-PF having half of the cabinet seats. Hardline ZANU-PF elements remain in government and control the security services, and a quiet but intense power struggle continues.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Foreign Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea's stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars. The military junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil national pour la démocratie et le développement, CNDD), is denying its evident responsibility and playing for time by offering what it calls a “national union government” to opposition parties. But with the mood on the streets hardening against the junta, worse trouble is likely unless combined domestic and international pressure is applied to force the soldiers from power.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Author: Nick Martlew
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 1984, one million Ethiopians died during a catastrophic famine. The government at the time hid the scale of hunger until a shocking BBC television report ignited a massive relief effort, supported by the Band Aid movement. Though this was too late for too many, thousands of lives were saved.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Steve Jennings, John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The timing of rain, and intra-seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to smallholder farmers in developing countries. Seasonality influences farmers' decisions about when to cultivate and sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. Worryingly, therefore, farmers are reporting that both the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rains within seasons are changing. These perceptions of change are striking in that they are geographically widespread and because the changes are described in remarkably consistent terms. In this paper, we relate the perceptions of farmers from several regions(East Asia, South Asia, Southern and East Africa, and Latin America) of how seasons are changing, and in some cases, how once distinct seasons appear to be disappearing altogether, and the impacts that these changes are having. We then go on to ask two critical questions. Firstly, do meteorological observations support farmers' perceptions of changing seasonality? Secondly, to what extent are these changes consistent with predictions from climate models? We conclude that changing seasonality may be one of the major impacts of climate change faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries over the next few decades. Indeed, this may already be the case. Yet it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We also suggest some of the key adaptation responses that might help farmers cope with these changes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, the world is faced with a dire economic situation. No one hesitates to call this situation a crisis, most governments have rushed to prioritise it, and, in response, wealthy countries have pledged $8.4 trillion in bank bailouts.
  • Topic: Education, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS OF 2008 HAS INDUCED two negative external shocks in African countries. The first is a financial shock with the availability of credit declining and the cost of international credit increasing (a financial crisis); and the second is a shock relating to the demand for and price of exports, as most of Africa's important markets went into recession and commodity prices tumbled (an economic crisis).
  • Topic: Globalization, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jon Temin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past few months, much of the international attention devoted to Sudan has focused on “CPA implementation.” Within that focus on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), most attention is paid to the status of Abyei, if and when nationwide elections will happen, border demarcation and, above all else, the 2011 referendum on the status of southern Sudan. But there are other aspects of the north-south dynamic deserving of discussion and strategic thinking that don't receive their due. This Peace Brief describes six of those issues and questions that, while they get some attention, could use a little more as decisive events in Sudan's political history approach.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: David R. Smock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The demands of the population in the Niger Delta to enjoy greater benefit from the oil produced in their region continue to go unanswered. The people in the Delta complain that oil-spill pollution has made their water undrinkable, gas flaring has made the air unfit for breathing, while revenue from the oil has paid for mansions to be built in the capital, Abuja. Although well armed militias have suspended their attacks for a few weeks, they threaten to resume operations soon. A Technical Committee appointed by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Aduato make recommendations for action relating to the Delta made its report nine months ago, but the government has taken no action on the report. The government has offered an amnesty to the militants for a period that expires in early October, but so far few militants have responded. Oil production continues to be seriously reduced by the militants' attacks and by the stealing of oil (termed “bunkering”) by militants and others.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jules Siedenburg, Kimberly Pfeifer, Kelly Hauser
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Worldwide, 1.7 billion small-scale farmers and pastoralists are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. They live on marginal rural lands characterised by conditions such as low rainfall, sloping terrain, fragile soils, and poor market access, primarily in Africa and Asia. Such farmers are vulnerable because their farms depend directly on rainfall and temperature, yet they often have little savings and few alternative options if their crops fail or livestock die.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The stalled electoral process has plunged Somaliland into a serious political crisis that presents yet another risk of destabilisation for the region. If its hard-won political stability collapses under the strain of brinkmanship and intransigence, clan leaders might remobilise militias, in effect ending its dream of independence. The political class must finally accept to uphold the region's constitution, abide by the electoral laws and adhere to interparty agreements such as the electoral code of conduct and memorandum of understanding signed on 25 September 2009, so as to contain the crisis and permit implementation of extensive electoral reforms. International partners and donors should keep a close watch on developments and sustain pressure for genuinely free and fair general elections in 2010.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sudan is sliding towards violent breakup. The main mechanisms to end conflicts between the central government and the peripheries – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Darfur Peace Agreement and the East Sudan Peace Agreement – all suffer from lack of implementation, largely due to the intransigence of the National Congress Party (NCP). Less than thirteen months remain to ensure that national elections and the South Sudan self-determination referendum lead to democratic transformation and resolution of all the country's conflicts. Unless the international community, notably the U.S., the UN, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the Horn of Africa Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), cooperate to support both CPA implementation and vital additional negotiations, return to North-South war and escalation of conflict in Darfur are likely.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, South Sudan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Diaspora communities are a double-edged sword. They have promoted peace as often as they have spurred conflict. There are many opportunities to harness the Congolese diaspora to support peace and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ?War and civil unrest have swelled the ranks of the DRC diaspora. These individuals can play a role in strategizing for sustainable solutions - particularly in the mining sector and the fight against corruption. Trans-Atlantic participants in the USIP diaspora dialogue called for tighter regulation, effective transparency, integration of the informal economy, greater investment flows and support for Congolese solutions to Congolese problems. Proposed solutions will be neither effective nor sustainable unless the war is ended and governance improves. This would involve effective regional support for peacekeeping, international efforts to deter spoilers and domestic initiatives to make governance more effective. The DRC diaspora are committed to be a source of advocacy, technical assistance, investment and accountability.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Joel Negin, Jolyon Ford
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What should Australia do to assist Zimbabwe's re-emergence? In March 2009, Australia became the first major donor country to provide assistance to the new power-sharing government in Zimbabwe. Given the pervading influence of hardline elements, many doubt the merits and viability of the 'inclusive government'. Ought Australia continue its support, accepting the risk of buttressing Mugabe and his regime? Or should Australia stand back and maintain pressure for a more acceptable government – at the risk of contributing to theinclusive government's failure?
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Australia/Pacific, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Mutual accountability has become one of several principles that underpin the PBC's work. The commission has facilitated the articulation of mutual commitments as part of the peacebuilding frameworks developed in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic. This has begun to fill an important gap. But, the PBC has so far not fulfilled the full promise of this principle: to serve as a forum where national and international actors can hold each other to their commitments. This brief reflects on the PBC's experience with mutual accountability and puts it into a broader context to highlight why it is an area where the PBC can potentially add value.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Burundi
  • Author: Lorenzo Cotula
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the past 12 months, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Augustus Vogel
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Maritime security challenges in Africa are growing rapidly and represent an increasingly central component of the threat matrix facing the continent. African states struggle to meet these threats because their maritime security structures are misaligned with the challenges posed. Redressing this misalignment will require valuing the coast guard capacity demanded by these threats and constructing the array of intragovernmental partnerships needed to be effective in combating these threats.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: William M. Bellamy
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite significant recent gains, Africa's security environment remains fragile with a wide array of ongoing and emerging threats placing great strains on already overburdened governments. United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa have realized some success in recent years, especially when they have involved direct support from members of the Security Council. Much more cohesive interagency coordination under strong White House direction is required if the United States is to contribute to Africa's sustained stability given the region's persistent conditions of poverty, inequality, and weak governance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, International Security, International Affairs, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Manju Kedia Shah, Alan Gelb
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why has the private sector failed to thrive in much of sub-Saharan Africa? Drawing on a unique set of enterprise surveys, we identify inadequate infrastructure (especially unreliable electricity and poor quality roads) and burdensome regulations as the biggest obstacles to doing business. We find as well that the private sector in many countries is dominated by ethnic minorities, which inhibits competition and lowers demand for a better business environment. Solutions include investing in infrastructure, providing risk guarantees, and reforming regulations to lower the cost of doing business, as well as increasing access to education for would-be entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Koen Vlassenroot
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the pursuit of security and development in Africa, more and more reference is being made to the concept of fragile states. This paper explores the meaning of this concept and considers the attention that is being paid to it as a consequence of integrating security and development into the policy of the major donor countries. In an African context state fragility is a cause of numerous conflicts, but also a major focal point of peace processes and donor interventions. This paper is intended to be a warning against a too narrow focus on security in the process of combating fragility. It pleads for an integrated policy, based on the pursuit of sustainable development and emphasises the strengthening of the authority and power of the state and the promotion of local economic and social development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Economics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa