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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution United States Institute of Peace Remove constraint Publishing Institution: United States Institute of Peace Topic Political Economy Remove constraint Topic: Political Economy
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  • Author: Susan Stigant, Elizabeth Murray
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: National dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers; however, it can also be misused and manipulated by leaders to consolidate their power. This brief includes principles to strengthen national dialogue processes and considerations for international actors seeking to support these processes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott S. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's democratic development has taken place within the tight embrace of international support and the conception of "free and fair" elections that comes with it, but Afghan and inter-national views on what to expect from elections have diverged in the past, leading to a deepening of distrust between the Karzai-led Afghan government and the international community. The run-up to the 2014 presidential elections has been shaped by this distrust. Nonetheless, with the breakdown of the reconciliation effort with the Taliban and uncertainty about the result of the transition process due to President Hamid Karzai's unexpected refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the April 5 election is the only remaining opportunity for a political resolution of the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. A more complete understanding of the 2009 elections—how they were and were not a disaster—can help to narrow the gap between Afghan and international expectations; and an understanding of some of the changes that have occurred in Afghan society since 2009 can offer reason for optimism that the election will at the least create space for political elites to address the root causes of the crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Corruption, Democratization, Political Economy, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: William A. Byrd, Javed Noorani
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Case studies of five ongoing mining operations show that Afghan mining companies are wantonly exploiting easily extractable mineral resources with little or no taxes and royalties going to the government. Revenue losses from just two sources —royalties and land rent —at the five mines are more than US$50 million per year. Total revenue losses from all sources for the hundreds of mines contracted to different companies easily could be hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The tendering processes, awards, and contents of contracts issued, contract implementation, and actual operations at the mines all showed clear signs of political interference, favoring bidders that often had no prior mining experience. Companies usually began extracting resources soon after mining contracts were awarded, without paying any taxes and royalties —even though the contract called for an initial exploration period. Companies did not provide the legally and contractually required documents, such as exploration reports and environmental and social impact assessments. Effective inspections of mines were not conducted, and companies were not held accountable for payments due. Sometimes mining activities precipitated local conflicts, resulting in violence and deaths; weaker local communities called on Taliban elements for support in one such dispute. Serious reforms are needed to ensure that mining activities are developmentally beneficial and that revenues generated are paid to the government.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Natural Resources, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan has sizable underground mineral resources, which have potential positive economic impacts but also possible downsides—the so-called “resource curse” often involving negative macroeconomic, developmental, fiscal, governance, political and conflict effects. The success of the broader political transition in coming years as well as regional geopolitical factors will have a major influence on prospects for Afghanistan's underground resources. For “mega-resources” such as the Aynak copper and Hajigak iron deposits, the Afghan government has conducted credible tendering to ensure that contracts with foreign companies are on favorable terms for Afghanistan. Good-practice approaches for mega-resources should continue and be further strengthened, but there will probably be further delays in exploitation, and realization of potential will take much time. Exploitation of other largish and medium-sized resources may involve joint ventures with politically-connected Afghan firms and deals with local strongmen, or sometimes criminal networks with linkages to corrupt officials and insurgents. Spreading patronage can reduce short-run conflict risks, but there are risks of corruption, and conflicts could arise over time. For these resources, priorities include transparent contracting and clarity about ownership of companies; setting basic financial parameters for different resources (e.g. royalty rates) to reduce the risk of overly favorable arrangements for extracting entities; and addressing criminal elements and associated corruption. For smaller, concentrated, high-value resources (notably gemstones), informal exploitation using crude techniques is typically combined with illicit export trade, and local strongmen are involved, which can mean periods of stability but also conflicts when bargains are reopened or new actors get involved. The way forward for these resources includes gradually improving and regularizing the framework; setting low royalty rates to encourage formalization of existing activities rather than leasing resources to outsiders; technical assistance to promote more effective extraction; and encouraging processing and value addition within Afghanistan. Finally, further analytical work is required to better understand the political economy and conflict ramifications of mining in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Political Economy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy. The lingering income and distributional effects of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, anticipated changes associated with the new constitution and the 2010 elections and the Obama administration's decision to devote more attention to Burma suggest that the time is ripe for the creative application of economic mechanisms to promote and sustain peace. Looming challenges could derail Burma's prospects for economic and political stability. These challenges include irrational macroeconomic policies, failing to ensure all citizens enjoy benefits accrued from natural resources, endemic corruption, a flourishing illicit economy, a dysfunctional financial system and critical infrastructure bottlenecks. Failure to address these problems would frustrate peacebuilding efforts. A conflict sensitive economic strategy for Burma would focus on effective capacity-building, sustained policy reform, progressive steps to reduce corruption, fiscal empowerment of subnational authorities and prudent natural resource management. Success in these areas requires unwavering political will for sensibly sequenced policy improvements by domestic actors and finely targeted support from Burma's international partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: After decades of domestic conflict, military rule and authoritarian governance, Burma's economy could provide a viable entry point for effective international assistance to promote peace. Doing so would require a detailed understanding of the country's complex and evolving political economy.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Zoë Cooprider, James Wasserstrom
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Participants at a recent USIP working group meeting on infrastructure development in conflict environments discussed the viability of revitalizing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Iraq. The meeting, held on February 1, 2007, focused specifically on Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Business Transformation (BTA) Paul Brinkley's effort to revitalize a selection of the nearly 200 SOEs that once produced consumer and durable goods, but which have been shut down since the beginning of the stabilization and reconstruction (S) effort in 2003. Brinkley is attempting to rescue what is salvageable through this controversial SOE revitalization project. In January 2007, after eight months of research and investigation, Brinkley announced that ten factories had been selected to initiate his SOE revitalization project and would be open within two to three months.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Beth Cole, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: How can the international community increase the likelihood of success in societies emerging from conflict? This question was discussed at a public Institute event, Nation Building in the 21st Century: Prescriptions for Success, on March 9, 2007. The panel of speakers included Representative Sam Farr (D-CA); Ambassador James Dobbins, director of International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND National Security Research Division; Ambassador John Herbst, coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization; and Beth Cole, senior program officer at the Institute. Daniel Serwer, Institute vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, moderated. The discussion drew on a new RAND book, The Beginner's Guide to Nation Building, whose authors include Dobbins and Cole, a “Framework for Success for Societies Emerging from Conflict” developed by USIP, and new operating models nearing approval by the U.S. government for the deployment of civilians to missions abroad. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies. Drawing on past experience, the panel emphasized that the success of future nation building missions depends on acquiring support from policymakers in Congress and the Administration, applying lessons learned in the past, using common frameworks and doctrine for the future, and increasing civilian capacity, which is sorely lacking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Western policy toward Iran relies heavily on economic pressure, and Iran's political trajectory is shaped in large part by its economic prospects and constraints. A toughened regime of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran and uncertainties about the viability of its petroleum sector—compounded by deep structural distortions caused by a history of economic mismanagement—raise real questions about the state of the Iranian economy. The Iran Policy Forum at the United States Institute of Peace convened a meeting to discuss the status of Iran's economy and energy sector; the effect of Iran's uncertain political climate and concerns over its nuclear program on the economy; and actions the government should take to avoid future economic troubles. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Perito, Beth Cole
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the State of the Union address this year, President Bush joined calls for a U.S. civilian reserve corps that could rapidly deploy to restore public order and begin reconstituting the institutions of governance so desperately needed in states emerging from conflict. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) at the U.S. Department of State was created in part for this purpose, but it has never received adequate resources. The current challenge of locating qualified and willing civilians to join Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan has given renewed impetus to initiatives aimed at overcoming this chronic shortcoming.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Political Economy, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States