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  • Author: Daniel Markey
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama publicly unveiled his administration's so-called AfPak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) strategy on March 27, 2009. Over the subsequent weeks, the White House has also briefed relevant congressional leaders and committees, the media, NATO allies, and other regional and international partners. The U.S. House of Representatives has moved ahead with its own legislative debate (the PEACE bill), and the administration recently submitted a 2009 supplemental budget request consistent with its new strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Tobias Hauschild, Esmé Berkhout
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This report aims to identify key challenges arising from reform of the health-care system in Georgia, especially in primary health care, and to present some possible strategies to address them. It will be a useful reference document for Oxfam, our partners, and all those concerned with improving the provision of health care in Georgia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health, Reform
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Asia, Georgia
  • 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: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 17 July 2009, suicide bombers attacked two hotels in the heart of a Jakarta business district, killing nine and injuring more than 50, the first successful terrorist attack in Indonesia in almost four years. While no one has claimed responsibility, police are virtually certain it was the work of Noordin Mohammed Top, who leads a breakaway group from Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the regional jihadi organisation responsible for the first Bali bombing in 2002. One of the hotels, the Marriott, was bombed by Noordin's group in 2003; this time, a meeting of mostly foreign businessmen appears to have been the target. The restaurant of the nearby Ritz-Carlton was also bombed.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Robert Gutierrez, Patricia Chow, Jason Baumgartner, Yuriko Sato
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: IIE Open Doors Data on U.S. International Educational Exchange. Project Atlas: Global Student Mobility. International Student Economic Impact in the U.S. Comparison of International Student Economic Impact in USA, Japan and Australia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Markets, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, California, Australia, Texas
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum comprises 21 developed and developing economies that surround the Pacific Rim. The organization was created in 1989 and holds annual Leaders' Meetings that bring together its heads of government. In this policy brief, I assess the record of the APEC over the 20 years of its existence and discuss the world environment in which APEC is likely to be operating in the next 20 years, with a particular focus on the major change in global institutional arrangements implied by the replacement of the Group of Seven/Eight (G-7/8) by the Group of Twenty (G-20) as the chief steering committee for the world economy and, within that group and other international economic organizations, the increasingly central role of an informal and de facto Group of Two (G-2) between China and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Mohsin S. Khan
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Many previous attempts to improve economic ties between India and Pakistan unfortunately have been derailed by periodically heightened political tensions between the two countries—be it Kargil in May 1999, the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, or most recently, the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. Although successive Indian and Pakistani governments have often repeated the desire for peaceful relations, reaching a comprehensive agree ment that settles outstanding disputes still seems far off. But this does not mean that steps toward better economic relations cannot be taken. Indeed, there was a major breakthrough in trade relations at the meeting between then President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in New Delhi in April 2005 (Joint Communiqué 2005). A number of trade-related issues were discussed at this meeting, and several key decisions were taken to move the process along.
  • Topic: Economics, Peace Studies, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia, New Delhi
  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen, Thilo Hanemann
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 1967 Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber published Le defi americain, a call to beware of American multinationals buying up the world. In the 1980s and 1990s it was Japan's turn, spawning books like Clyde Prestowitz's 1993 Trading Places: How We Are Giving Our Future to Japan. Today it is China's outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) that elicits the most anxiety China's OFDI has reached commercially and geoeconomically significant levels and begun to challenge international investment norms and affect international relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, America, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than a month after the 17 July 2009 hotel bombings in Jakarta, Noordin Mohammed Top remains at large, but his network is proving to be larger and more sophisticated than previously thought. Not only was it responsible for coordinated bombings at two luxury hotels in the heart of Jakarta's business district, but it also was apparently contemplating a car bomb attack on President Yudhoyono's residence. As more information comes to light, it looks increasingly likely that Noordin sought and received Middle Eastern funding. While the extent of foreign involvement this time around remains unclear, recruitment in Indonesia has proved disturbingly easy. The salafi jihadi ideology that legitimises attacks on the U.S. and its allies, and Muslims who associate with them, remains confined to a tiny fringe, but that fringe includes disaffected factions of many different radical groups and impressionable youths with no history of violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Indonesia, Asia, Jakarta
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Catherine Morris, Go Funai
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Building peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) troubled regions requires sustained intervention by a wide range of stakeholders to address aspects of the regional political economy that perpetrate cross-border abuse of the country's abundant resources. Violent competition for control of mineral resources, particularly in northeastern DRC, has involved regular forces as well as militia from the subregion and contributed to a flourishing war economy, many years after the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in 1999.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A preliminary breakthrough in the two-decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – a framework agreement on basic principles – may be within reach. Armenia and Azerbaijan are in substantial accord on principles first outlined by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group in 2005. A basic principles agreement, while only a foundation to build on, is crucial to maintain momentum for a peace deal. Important differences remain on specifics of a subsequent final deal. Movement toward Armenia-Turkey rapprochement after a century of hostility has brought opportunity also for ending the Nagorno-Karabakh stalemate. Sustainable regional peace requires compromises on all the quarrels, but there is backlash danger, especially in Armenia, where public discontent could derail the Nagorno-Karabakh framework agreement. Presidents Sarkisian (Armenia) and Aliyev (Azerbaijan) need to do more to prepare their publics. The U.S., Russia and France, Minsk Group co-chairs, have stepped up collective efforts, but more is needed to emphasise dangers in clinging to an untenable status quo.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Peter McCawley
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? In addition to the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC), there is a second global crisis: long-term mass poverty in the third world. While the rich world worries about a repeat of the Great Depression, today more than a billion people in Asia live in conditions of bitter poverty which are much worse than those of the 1930s. As a result of the GFC, poverty in developing Asia is now likely to increase.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Fergus Hanson
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? China lacks a coherent strategy for its aid program in the Pacific – beyond checking and reversing diplomatic recognition of Taiwan – and tends to pursue short-term objectives. China pledges aid in an erratic manner, funds projects without regard to recurring costs, and the secrecy surrounding its program obstructs development outcomes, and breeds suspicion. This short-termism has likely led China to miscalculate by over-engaging the dictatorship in Fiji. This approach is a legacy of its long-running battle with Taiwan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The United States and India share the fundamental objective of preserving an Asia that is peaceful, prosperous, and free. Without security, India's meteoric rise cannot continue. While New Delhi can manage Pakistan, its longtime regional adversary, it will have more difficulty confronting the challenges posed by a rising China. As a result, India will continue to depend on the United States to preserve order in Asia until it can protect its own interests there.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, Power Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, China, India, Asia
  • 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 number of Islamists in Kyrgyz and Kazakh prisons is small but growing, in both size and political significance. Well-organised Islamist proselytisers, mostly imprisoned on charges of religious extremism, are consolidating their position within the informal structures of power behind prison walls. Incarcerating determined activists is providing them with the opportunity to extend their influence among convicts, at first inside prison and then on their release. Problems within jails in Central Asia have been known to seep outside the prison walls; the expansion of radical Islamist thought within prisons is likely to have serious consequences. The paradox of the situation is that, in private at least, political leaders in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are intensely aware that the best way to defeat extremism is to address woeful social and economic conditions, fight the systemic top-to-bottom corruption that besets all the region's regimes, and in the words of one regional leader, “give people a future”.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Michael Pettis
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September, the Obama administration imposed tariffs on Chinese tires. In October, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would launch an investigation into imports of seamless steel pipes from China. That same month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.–China Business Council, two groups that in the past have defended Chinese policies, testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that Chinese contracting rules, technical standards, and licensing requirements were protectionist.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Melissa L. Finucane
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Pacific Islands are extraordinarily vulnerable to the effects of climate change. And although policymakers are turning to science to answer questions of how communities should deal with climate challenges, scientific knowledge is only one element of an effective risk-management process. The people of the Pacific Islands hold diverse beliefs about climate change and these beliefs inform their decisions. In addition, a dynamic social context influences the extent to which people are able to respond meaningfully to climate impacts. To solve the climate crisis, policymakers need to set a risk-management agenda that integrates sound science with an understanding of how that science is interpreted and translated into action in society. They will need to work not only with scientists, but also with cultural leaders, theologians, philosophers, and community groups. Lessons learned in the Pacific region, along with broader knowledge about factors affecting human decisionmaking, illustrate how policymakers can bridge the gap between climate science and society to facilitate adaptation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Igor Torbakov, Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As the Kremlin believes that the global economic downturn is increasing the trend towards greater regionalism, the strategic conclusion is to strengthen Russia's position as the centre of its "own region" - post-Soviet Eurasia. In order to enhance its geopolitical posture in the ex-Soviet area, Russia has been pursuing a two- track policy: it is buying up assets from, and giving out loans to, its distressed neighbours on a massive scale. Several forces appear to be working at cross-purposes with the Kremlin's ambitions: 1) the state of Russia's own economic system; 2) the wiliness and cunning maneuvering of Moscow's "allies"; and 3) the growing competition on the part of the other centres of power - the European Union and China. Ultimately, the Kremlin's desperate efforts to turn Russia into a geopolitical leader of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are likely to be frustrated by Russia's lack of a coherent long-term strategy and by its socio-political system's dearth of appeal.
  • Topic: Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Anna Korppoo
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The 10-15% reduction target by 2020 announced by Russia reflects neither the country's efficiency potential, nor modeled emissions trends. With emission reduction measures, Russia could commit to a target of ca. -30% by 2020. Transferring the surplus emission allowances Russia gained under the Kyoto Protocol due to the economic restructuring of the 1990s represents an extreme threat to both the environmental and market integrity of the Copenhagen agreement as it could be used to offset real domestic emission reduction measures in other countries. But it seems politically unlikely that Russia would join without transferring the surplus under the Copenhagen agreement. Countries should recognize the threat posed by the surplus, and offer a cooperative strategy to deal with it. However, pushing through a 'cancel or discount' approach to the surplus problem by three-quarter majority, which could be brought together without the co-operation of the surplus-holding countries, should be kept as a reserve strategy. More ambitious targets - beyond the 25-40% suggested by the IPCC - for the Annex I industrialized country group, especially for the surplus holding countries including Russia, could absorb the transferred surplus. However, given the current low pledges of Annex 1 countries, higher targets are unlikely to absorb the whole surplus, and therefore, a basket of approaches should be applied. To gain credibility on this issue of vis-à-vis Russia and to avoid Russia setting the tone, before Copenhagen the EU must adopt an internal solution to deal with the surplus of its new member states. If expecting to transfer the surpluses, the other surplus holding countries including Russia could announce national surplus use plans prior to the Copenhagen climate talks. In order to minimize a scenario of Russia blocking the Copenhagen process in the final hours, key countries should publically engage Russia on climate and the Copenhagen talks. Important Annex I countries, especially the US, should send very high-level representatives to Moscow like they have sent to China and India.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, India, Asia
  • Author: Alexandru Luta
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent elections for the lower house of Japan's Diet herald the end of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) domination of Japanese politics. The winner, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), aims to thoroughly reform the way the country is governed. The strategic goals of the DPJ's reform agenda are to shift the locus of policy-drafting away from civil servants to the legislature, and to bring the latter firmly under the control of the Prime Minister's Cabinet. In order to be able to work towards its strategic goal, the DPJ needs tactical victories to maintain its popularity with the electorate. The climate negotiations' high profile makes domestic climate policy a natural area for the DPJ to differentiate its political brand from that of the LDP. Just as with governance reform, the DPJ has time and again asserted its commitment to pro-active climate goals both in pre-and post-electoral speeches, at home and abroad. Therefore it is very likely to continue pouring political capital into this policy area. The division between major ministries about how to formulate Japanese climate policy presents a willing Cabinet with structural advantages to assert its leadership successfully. The wider reforms currently being implemented further strengthen the new government's position. There are some factors that might limit the ability of Japan's new leadership to fight climate change. These include how their relationship with domestic media outlets shapes their approval ratings, how the positions of other stakeholders develop, how other electoral promises conflict with the new climate platform, and how the climate negotiations progress on the international level.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Benjamin Freedman
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 8, the United Nations Security Council will host its first-ever thematic debate on drug trafficking as a threat to international security. This focus is notable. U.S. officials are increasingly concerned with the evolving threat of drug trafficking, especially as terrorist organizations stake a bigger claim in this illegal arena. In fact, on November 18, FBI director Robert Mueller met with senior Turkish officials to address U.S.-Turkish efforts targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel. A press release from the U.S. embassy in Ankara following the meeting stressed that U.S. officials "strongly support Turkey's efforts against the PKK terrorist organization" and highlighted the two countries' long history of working together in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Ken Davies
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In 2008 global FDI fell by around 20%, while outward FDI from China nearly doubled. This disparity is likely to continue in 2009 and 2010 as China invests even more overseas. What is driving this continuing surge in China's outward FDI?
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Gert Bruche
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With some delay, the internationalization of business R is following the globalization of production. Starting on a small scale during the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of globally distributed R networks of multinational enterprises (MNEs) accelerated rapidly in the 1990s. The “globalization of innovation” was facilitated and driven by a complex set of factors, including changes in trade and investment governance, improved intellectual property rights through TRIPS, the growing ease and falling cost of communicating and traveling around the globe, and the concomitant vertical industry specialization and unbundling of value chains. The growing and sustained level of cross-border M was one major direct driver, often having the effect that merged firms inherited multiple R sites in a number of countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Yury E. Fedorov
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the 'Law on Amendments to the “Law on Defence”' proposed by President Medvedev entered into force. It allows the Kremlin to dispatch troops outside Russia for four purposes: to counter armed attacks against Russian armed forces, other troops and bodies deployed beyond its borders; to counter or prevent an armed attack against another country if this country has requested Russia to do so; to protect Russian citizens abroad from an armed attack; and to combat piracy and guarantee the safety of shipping. The law is an attempt to close the gap between Moscow's strategic goals, primarily the establishment of its geopolitical dominance over the former Soviet republics, and Russia's legislation, which restricted its ability to deploy armed forces beyond national borders. In effect, the amended legislation enables the Kremlin to deploy its armed forces abroad in a wide range of situations, precisely because of a lack of clear criteria. The wording of 'Medvedev's amendments' sheds light on some plans and scenarios that may be taking shape in Moscow. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Russia may plan to ignite large-scale disturbances and ethnic clashes in Sevastopol or in Latvia and Estonia, which may be used as a pretext for Russian military intervention. A Russo-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea would pose not so much a military as a political challenge for Europe and the West. Even though Ukraine does not belong to these organizations, if NATO and the EU failed to respond to Russian intervention in Crimea with strong political and economic measures, their strategic relevance would be seriously undermined. If NATO did not defend its member states in the Baltic, the strategic role of the Alliance would be reduced to zero. The aforementioned scenarios fall into the worst-case category, yet there are numerous precedents in Russia's history which demonstrate that worst-case scenarios can become reality. European dependence on Russian energy supplies and interest in Russia's support in resolving the Iranian nuclear problem and the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as the Obama administration's interest in Russia's partnership in nuclear issues, constrain Western ability to respond. However, the West could and should make it quite clear that new Russia's military interventions will result in the country's political ostracization. Furthermore, the West could propose and develop an internationally recognised mechanism regulating the most important aspects of humanitarian intervention. In particular, it should minimise the ability of individual states to make unilateral decisions to intervene militarily if the UN Security Council were unable to make firm decisions. Such mechanisms could be discussed and developed in the frameworks of the UN, the OSCE, the so-called Corfu process and similar international forums.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jefferson Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the last half-century, public policy has affected land-use practices across the borders linking China, Thailand, and Laos. Political and economic reforms have facilitated labor mobility and a shift in agricultural practices away from staple grains and toward a diverse array of cash crops, rubber being one of the foremost. China has promoted the conversion of forests to rubber agroforestry in southern Yunnan--profitable for farmers, but a concern in terms of biodiversity and long-term viability. In Thailand, the response is at the other end of the spectrum as the government's concerns about land-use practices and watershed management have led to policies that dramatically constrain land-use practices and limit tenure rights. In Laos the future is not yet clear. Government policies provide weak support for both private land ownership and protected areas. In a global environment where national policy has such a dramatic effect on land use and land cover, the factors behind land-use change merit close examination.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michelle Staggs Kelsall
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In late 2008 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) committed to creating a human rights body, which emerged as the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (ICHR), the terms of reference (TOR) for which have since been adopted. Although the TOR for the commission currently outlines a primarily advisory rather than an enforcement role, the very existence of the ICHR has the potential to act as a trigger to further discussion on human rights issues in member states and open avenues for further action. To take maximum advantage of this opportunity to further the human rights agenda in ASEAN member states, it is essential that critical early decisions are made carefully so as to leave the most latitude for future action. While some observers are concerned that the ICHR lacks teeth, the fact that all ten ASEAN governments have agreed to implement a human rights commission is remarkable and is an essential first step toward ASEAN's stated goal of respecting and protecting human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michael Renner
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Water issues play a crucial role in Central-South Asia, both in the quantity of water available and its quality. Access to clean drinking water is a major, though largely unmet, objective. While much of the region is experiencing water shortages, poor water management lies at the heart of many problems. Climate change — in the form of glacier melt, drought, rising temperatures, and changes to the monsoon cycle — will increasingly exacerbate water scarcity. Although the region's water challenges do not necessarily or inevitably lead to armed conflict, they increasingly threaten to undermine human security. Cooperation will be critical for the region to meet its water challenges in the years and decades ahead.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The economic crisis of 2008–09 is the second major crisis in just over a decade that Asia has endured. Unlike the Asian crisis of 1997–98, however, the current crisis originated mainly in the West. Asia's excessive reliance on net exports as the principal driver of economic growth since the 1997–98 crisis rendered it especially vulnerable to external shocks, and most Asian countries have paid dearly. The more open the economy, the more vulnerable it is to such shocks. The newly industrialized Asian economies (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan), which are among the most open and dynamic in the world, are expected to contract by about 6 percent in 2009.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Political debates about globalization are focused on offshore outsourcing of manufacturing and services. But these debates neglect an important change in the geography of knowledge––the emergence of global innovation networks (GINs) that integrate dispersed engineering, product development, and research activities across geographic borders.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Asia