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  • Author: Jeromin Zettelmeyer et al
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Greece’s debt currently stands at close to €330 billion, over 180 percent of GDP, with almost 70 percent owed to European official creditors. The fact that Greece’s public debts must be restructured is by now widely accepted. What remains controversial, however, is the extent of debt relief needed to make Greece’s debt sustainable.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Once again, the United States and other members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been asked to address the adequacy of IMF financial resources and the distribution of voting power in the Fund. Observers are justified in thinking that they just witnessed this drama. IMF members completed an agreement on the size of IMF quota resources and governance—or voting power—reform in November 2010. As part of that agreement on the 14th general review of IMF quotas, members committed to bring forward the completion of the 15th general review of quotas to January 2014. The target was not met because the United States delayed approving the 2010 agreement until December 2015, which was necessary for the implementation of the 14th review. As a result, in December 2016, the governors of the IMF freshly resolved to complete the 15th review by the spring of 2019 or the fall of 2019 at the latest.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Euijin Jung, (Lucy) Lu Zhiyao
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The fraught negotiations over revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have focused largely on US demands to limit imports from Canada and Mexico. But one little discussed step could help the United States increase exports to Canada and Mexico in a way the Trump administration ought to support. US express shipments to its NAFTA partners are far below potential, partly due to what are called low de minimis thresholds in those countries. The de minimis threshold refers to the value of imported goods below which no duty or tax is collected, and the customs declaration is very simple.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Many countries have squandered their natural resource endowments. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank routinely hector developing economies to save and invest more of their revenues from resources such as oil and gold for the benefit of future generations after the resources run out. But, can a country save too much of its resource revenues? Gagnon argues that since the first capital transfers to its Government Pension Fund Global in 1996, Norway has saved more than was needed to raise consumption of all generations equally. Norway’s excess saving imposes a cost on the rest of the world during periods of weak aggregate demand and ultralow interest rates. Gagnon proposes a counterfactual saving policy that would have increased Norway’s household consumption by nearly 9 percent on average from 1996 through 2017. The proposed policy would have reduced Norway’s current account surplus by more than one-third, or $13 billion per year on average, from 1996 through 2017. Even now, Norway could raise current consumption by more than US$2,000 per capita, while keeping the contribution of oil wealth to future generations equally large.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Norway
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: President Trump has asserted that trade balances are a key measure of a nation’s commercial success and that large US trade deficits prove that past trade approaches have been flawed. But trade deficits are not in fact a good measure of how well a country is doing with respect to its trade policies. Many of the assumptions on which the administration’s beliefs rest are not supported by the evidence. This Policy Brief argues that trade deficits are not necessarily bad, do not necessarily cost jobs or reduce growth, and are not a measure of whether foreign trade policies or agreements with other countries are fair or unfair. Efforts to use trade policy and agreements to reduce either bilateral or overall trade deficits are also unlikely to produce the effects the administration claims they will and instead lead to friction with US trading partners, harming the people the policies claim to help
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tetyana Payosova, Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Jeffrey Schott
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since its inception in 1995, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism has resolved an impressive number of trade disputes and has earned a reputation as the “crown jewel” of the global trading system. Today, however, the mechanism is in crisis. WTO members have failed to negotiate updates to the rulebook, including rules on dispute settlement itself. As a result, the WTO Appellate Body increasingly is asked to render decisions on ambiguous or incomplete WTO rules. Its interpretations of such provisions have provoked charges by the United States and others that binding Appellate Body rulings, which establish precedents for future cases, effectively circumvent the prerogative of member countries to revise the WTO rulebook and thus undercut the national sovereignty of WTO members. For the past few years, US officials have blocked appointments of Appellate Body members to force WTO members to negotiate new rules that address US concerns and limit the scope for judicial overreach. If this problem is not resolved, the Appellate Body soon will not have enough members to review cases and the vaunted WTO dispute settlement system will grind to a halt.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Christopher G. Collins, Mohammad R Jahan-Parvar, Thomas Pellet
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Immediately following the US presidential election in November 2016, many economists were concerned that increased uncertainty over economic policy would lead to a decline in the US stock market. From the time of the election to the end of 2017, however, the stock market, as measured by the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 index, increased by about 25 percent. Price swings since then have led investors and economists to increasingly ask: Was the stock market rise justified by an increase in actual and expected future dividends, or did it reflect unhealthy price developments, which may reverse in the future?
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Markets
  • Author: William R Cline
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The centerpiece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 is the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated the net revenue loss from the tax overhaul at $1 trillion over the next decade. The underlying premise of the legislation is that lower corporate taxes will spur growth, with trickle-down wage benefits that spread the resulting economic gains.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Chorzempa
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Formidable barriers stand between the modern financial system and the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens still using costly informal credit. For many, the financial data that could be used to give them a credit score that would lead to a fair priced loan exist but are not being used. This analysis finds that the most difficult barriers cutting these data off from their potential use for greater financial inclusion are the legal and political restrictions on data sharing and use, economic and competitive concerns from data holders, and the technical difficulty of integrating disparate systems. Policies that encourage coordination between public authorities and private actors in finance and technology can go a long way towards making these data available and driving access to credit in China. This shift would not only help borrowers: It would also encourage the needed economic rebalancing towards consumption, increase competition in the financial sector, raise efficiency through better credit allocation, and contribute to sustainable economic growth and social welfare.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Few challenges facing the European Union—immigration pressures, the need to decrease security dependence on an increasingly erratic United States, and the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (Brexit)—are compelling EU leaders to consider overhauling the revenue side of the European Union’s existing budget. To deal with these challenges in the future, the European Union will need resources—at a time when Europeans are increasingly skeptical about the effectiveness of budget-making in Brussels. Longstanding US budgetary procedures of trust fund accounting and earmarking government revenue towards specific priorities can provide a template for European policymakers. Shifting the EU budget towards more earmarked resources would reduce distrust among taxpayers by limiting Brussels’ spending discretion while focusing expenditures on specific challenges facing the European project.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the transatlantic partnership are spurring the German debate on how to prepare for the possibility of a post-Atlantic Europe. Germany has renewed its focus on the EU’s security and defence policy. This includes long-term initiatives to improve European operational readiness, as well as recognition of the EU mutual assistance clause in the doctrine of the German armed forces. However, efforts by German politicians to convince the public of the need for a greater international engagement face difficulties as Germans see the threat as negligible and eye the military with suspicion. The challenge for Berlin remains to step up the ambition for European defence cooperation, while avoiding new fault lines among EU members.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin has cast a cloud over the horizon for millions of Russian citizens. People do not perceive the forthcoming pension reform as a necessary measure for sustaining economic and social stability. Rather, it has ignited a collective sense of anger among the people that they have been cast adrift by the elite
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Emma Hakala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As climate change progresses, it will have impacts on global politics, creating both new vulnerabilities and opportunities. Geoeconomics provides a useful analytical framework for the political implications of climate change as it shifts the focus from military force to economic means of exerting power. This working paper looks at the geoeconomics of climate change in the case of India. It examines the ways in which India has used climate policies to gain leverage and contain threats regionally and globally. Due to its emerging power status and high vulnerability to climate impacts, India holds a key position in the global fight against climate change. The paper argues that India has incorporated geostrategic uses of climate change into a wider shift in its foreign policy. Globally, it has chosen a cooperative strategy to emphasise its responsibility through diplomacy and sustainable energy investments, contributing to its role as a global power and to its influence in partner countries. Yet a similar geoeconomic climate policy has not been applied in its regional relations. The Indian case shows how climate change can lead to both competitive and cooperative geostrategies.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Xi Jinping Thought is aimed at guiding China both domestically and internationally. The goal is China’s national rejuvenation, which will break the global dominance of Western civilization. The revival must allegedly be led by a strong ideology guided by a strong and charismatic leader: Xi Jinping. Based on the ancient Chinese ideal of “great unity under Heaven”, Xi’s long-term goal for China is the creation of a “community of a common destiny for Mankind”. So far, this idea has no concrete manifestations on the global scale. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China is building a regional community of common destiny in Central and Southeast Asia. This is both an indirect challenge to the existing “Western” system, and a step in delineating China’s sphere of influence.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Katja Cruetz
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) principle both seek to respond to mass atrocities. They are products of the heyday of the international liberal order, which allowed the formation of projects based upon interference in the internal affairs of states in order to protect populations from atrocity crimes. The changing international system with the redistribution of power between states has affected these projects by bringing uncontroversial activities to the fore in order to secure state acceptance. Consensus on the RtoP extends to the primacy of the state in protection of its populations, while actions of the international community going beyond assistance and capacity-building are contested, particularly highly coercive ones such as military intervention. Alongside its judicial task of trying perpetrators of international crimes, the ICC has focused on positive complementarity whereby national capabilities are enhanced. It has also engaged in symbolic activities, such as highlighting certain international crimes.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mika Aaltola
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The 2020 US presidential election could be a close call with a narrow margin of victory. Many key factors underlying Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral success are still active and might suffice to win over a very polarized electorate in an extremely ugly election.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Chad Michael Briggs
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Paid parental leave can provide important health and educational benefits to children while enabling mothers to remain attached to their prior jobs, which can increase earnings substantially once the mother returns to work
  • Topic: Finance, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China is investing much less in the US than it did just a year ago. It has never invested much in the Belt and Road. Yet China’s global investment spending remains healthy, with impressive diversification across countries and the reemergence of private firms.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: In October 2017, twenty-two scholars from eight countries attended a workshop titled “ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What should be done?” The workshop was designed to facilitate a frank and creative discussion of policy recommendations, with the intention of providing the resulting proposals to ASEAN member states and other regional powers. Following two days of discussion and debate, the attendees produced a series of specific policy recommendations (SPRs).
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tony Bricktua, Abigail Lawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Report Recommends Approaches to Meet Needs of Law Enforcement While Managing Risks to Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wael Abdul-Shafi, Jan Hanrath
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The repercussions of climate change and environmental challenges pose enormous risks to Iran and Saudi Arabia alike. While there are differences in geography and climate in both countries, they also have many environmental challenges in common. Problems such as sand and dust storms or diminishing water resources are border-crossing phenomena that no country can deal with alone; therefore, cooperation is key. At this point in time, however, willingness to cooperate is utterly lacking in a region marked by geo-strategic rivalries, ongoing military conflicts and deep-rooted mutual distrust between regional rivals, and between Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular.
  • Topic: Environment, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Barak Barfi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Abdul Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, Egyptians were clamoring for stability after the chaos of the post–Arab Spring years and the failed leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood government. Emblematic of this stability, Sisi was at one point so highly regarded that his face adorned chocolate bars. Although he remains popular four years later, Sisi can no longer rest on prior achievements and promises of financial improvement. Grappling with a moribund economy, domestic unrest, jihadist threats, and foreign policy challenges, he will need even stronger support as he implements an austerity plan approved by the IMF in November 2016. In this new study, Barak Barfi methodically sets the leadership of President Sisi in the context of his military predecessors Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. He then examines trends in the country such as the growing role of the military, the need for reductions in subsidies, and the looming water crisis posed by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The U.S. role, as well, is subject to a much-needed assessment. Among the limited ways Washington can influence Cairo, he argues, is by tying increased aid to the enactment of essential economic reforms.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alistair D. B. Cook, Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The exposure to natural hazards has prompted Bangladesh to institutionalize disaster management and coordination. This report examines Bangladesh’s established disaster management structures and the role of key actors through reviewing existing literature from international organisations, academia, and think tanks, followed by interviews with key disaster management stakeholders in Bangladesh from the end of February to the beginning of March 2018. In analysing the response to the 2017 Rohingya Exodus, this report aims to identify lessons learnt and factors which may impede effective disaster management and coordination between different actors with some operating outside their traditional mandated area of natural hazards to govern a complex humanitarian emergency.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Human activities, technology and climate change drive changes to our environmental landscape and societal order. Marine microplastics arising from woeful human use of plastics threaten marine ecology. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels disrupts weather systems and consequently undermines food security. Unequal access between the “haves and have nots” aggravates food insecurity. Without meaningful intervention, annual deaths from food-borne diseases (FBDs) caused by anti-microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria will reach 10 million in 2050. Human displacement continues unabated across state lines as humanitarian crises require fresh responses. Ubiquitous use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has created a new landscape where cyber-threats target both hardware and software and where truth has become its latest victim. Moreover, social media has been weaponized to breed intolerance. The Annual Conference of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia held in Singapore recently examined responses to these uncertainties, if not threats to humanity, arising from key disruptions. This report captures the responses and hopes touted by experts at the Conference with the view of providing policy makers and invested scholars interested in such developments with some recommendations towards building resilience within and across states.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jose Ma, Luis Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: As Southeast Asian economies become deeply integrated, there are concerns as to whether movement of people through labour migration should be part of this integration. While labour migration offers benefits especially in addressing labour shortage in countries with shrinking working age population, for countries at different levels of economic development, opening up the labour markets presents disadvantages to locals facing more job competition and falling wages. This paper re-examines this debate by analysing a number of factors that have allowed states to maintain their competitiveness and improve wages. By comparing the experiences of a number of countries that have seen rising wages with those countries that saw falling wages with labour migration, and using a statistical (two-sample difference of means) test, this preliminary study shows that labour migration by itself is neither boon nor bane. A more nuanced view is needed, as labour migration’s impacts on wages hinge on the nature of institutional support provided by governments in helping firms to be internationally competitive.
  • Topic: Migration, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vishalini Chandara Sagar, Alistair D. B. Cook, Tamara Nair, Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past fifteen years, Timor Leste has made noteworthy gains in national development in general but continues to experience significant exposure during natural disasters like prolonged droughts and flooding in particular. Yet there is little documented evidence of these disasters and their impact on human security in Timor Leste. The challenges facing the country are considerable, and low institutional capacity makes it difficult for the government to increase resilience to slow onset disasters. This report explores how current structures, mechanisms and institutions in the country have been organised for emergencies and how disaster response operations have been conducted thus far. Data was collected by conducting in-depth interviews with relevant personnel from government agencies, international aid agencies and local non-state actors. This was supplemented by document analyses of major reports and literature surrounding disaster preparedness in the country. The findings reveal that there are three key strategies that need further development: enhancing institutional capacity, strengthening coordination mechanisms and evaluating current emergency response plans. Further research should include conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, mapping the localised response structures, and the contextualising of human insecurities in the country.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Timor-Leste
  • Author: Paul Holtom, Irene Pavesi
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The 2018 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer (the Barometer) identifies the most and least transparent of 49 major small arms exporters, based on their reporting of their arms-trading activities undertaken in 2015.1 For the first time the Barometer assesses Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Programme of Action on small arms (PoA) reports to determine small arms exporters’ levels of transparency. These sources provide new information for the Barometer’s assessment of national transfer control systems, while ATT annual reports on arms exports reveal new data compared to national arms export reports; United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) data, and the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UN Register). Despite the increase in reports containing information on national transfer control systems and small arms exports assessed by the Barometer, no major exporter received full marks for transparency.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfram Lacher
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Since the arrival of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in March 2016, four large local militias have gradually divided up the capital between themselves. Though nominally loyal to the government, they now exert a degree of influence over state institutions and resources that is unprecedented in post-Qaddafi Libya. This Paper examines the rise of a militia cartel in Tripoli, and concludes that the situation is untenable, as it risks provoking a major new conflict over Tripoli fought by those who have been excluded from access to the state and impedes efforts to establish a meaningful unity government
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Aaron Karp
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Available sources indicate that as of 2017 there was a global total of at least 22.7 million known or estimated law enforcement firearms, equal to roughly 2.2 per cent of all firearms identified by the Small Arms Survey around the world. Worldwide, 4.8 million law enforcement firearms have been reported to the Small Arms Survey or documented from other sources. An additional 17.9 million or so firearms owned by law enforcement agencies can be estimated with reasonable confidence. The global estimate is slightly lower than the previous Small Arms Survey global estimate for 2006, the result of methodological changes and a decision not to estimate the holdings for many specialized or smaller law enforcement agencies. There are several reasons to assume that the total of 22.7 million law enforcement firearms given in this Briefing Paper is an underestimate. The state of research on law enforcement armament makes it hard to say whether global law enforcement weapons inventories are increasing or decreasing. But the types of firearms used by law enforcement agencies appear to be changing more rapidly than those of military services, also becoming more alike to military armament
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aaron Karp
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Uncertainty about any firearms data requires systematic estimation that relies on a broad spectrum of sources and makes approximation unavoidable. The Small Arms Survey’s estimates of civilian firearms holdings use data gathered from multiple sources. However, with much of civilian ownership concealed or hard to identify, gun ownership numbers can only approximate reality. Using data from several different sources, at the end of 2017 there were approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world’s 230 countries and territories. Civilian firearms registration data was available for 133 countries and territories. Survey results were used to help establish total gun civilian holdings in 56 countries. The new figure is 32 per cent higher than the previous estimate from 2006, when the Small Arms Survey estimated there were approximately 650 million civilian-held firearms. Virtually all countries show higher numbers, although national ownership rates vary widely, reflecting factors such as national legislation, a country’s gun culture, historical and other factors. While some of the increase reflects improved data and research methods, much is due to actual growth of civilian ownership.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthias Nowak
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Craft weapons production in Nigeria is under-researched, yet it is highly relevant for any future actions to counter small arms and light weapons proliferation.1 This Briefing Paper provides new research findings based on extensive fieldwork in four Nigerian states (Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, and Plateau). It reviews demand and supply factors that shape the craft market in Nigeria, finding that demand is driven by insecurity and conflict, but also by cultural and societal factors. Supply is mostly demand driven. The quality of the products and production methods varies greatly across the surveyed states. Craft production poses a significant challenge for the Nigerian state and will require a mix of holistic measures to regulate or deter it, ranging from improving security (and security perceptions) and the relationship between security providers and communities, to licensing, measures aimed at providing alternative livelihoods for craft producers, and a more comprehensive application of the relevant legal framework.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Glenn McDonald
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: This Briefing Paper outlines possible next steps in the UN small arms process as proposed by participants in the thematic symposia that were held in October–November 2017 as part of a European Union project designed to support preparations for the Third Review Conference of the UN Small Arms Programme of Action (PoA). The paper outlines the main observations and recommendations made by participants in the following areas: small arms control in conflict and post-conflict situations; small arms and the SDGs, and gender-related aspects of small arms control; recent developments in small arms manufacturing, technology, and design; and synergies between the PoA and other arms control instruments and processes. Each of the symposia sought to identify practical, actionable steps that could be taken by the UN membership in strengthening small arms-related work after the Review Conference.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Holger Anders
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: UN Peacekeeping operations are in a unique position to monitor flows of illicit arms and ammunition in their areas of operation. Systematic collection and analysis of data regarding matériel encountered by peacekeeping operations can enhance their situational awareness. It can provide important information about sources and supply chains of armed actors illicitly procuring arms and ammunition, as well as help in assessing capacities, intent, and geographical expansion of those actors. It can also make important contributions to the work of UN Panels of Experts monitoring arms embargoes. This Briefing Paper reviews relevant aspects of UN peacekeeping operations— their mandates, relations with UN Panels of Experts, as well as different approaches towards monitoring illicit arms flows. The Paper presents case studies on the UN peacekeeping operations in Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. The Paper considers the scope for improving management of arms and ammunition by peacekeeping missions to prevent materiel from being lost or otherwise diverted. This Briefing Paper concludes that UN peacekeeping missions could become substantially more involved in monitoring illicit arms and ammunition flows. This requires greater awareness and support for such work within the UN system and in its operations. This Paper’s findings are also relevant to efforts to monitor progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 16 and Target 16.4, which calls on states to significantly reduce illicit arms flows
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jovana Carapic, Paul Holtom
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: This Briefing Paper analyses the emergence of a life-cycle management of ammunition (LCMA) system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) during the period 2012–16, with reference to four of the five elements of the Small Arms Survey’s LCMA model: national ownership, planning, stockpile management, and disposal. The paper examines the key challenges faced by the international community and BiH government in addressing the safety and security risks posed by BiH’s post-conflict ammunition surplus, focusing on the international community’s role in facilitating the development, and transfer to national ownership, of an LCMA system. The paper notes ‘ten lessons learned’ that could apply to other post-conflict countries. These lessons stress the importance of building sustainable national capacity in states receiving international assistance. Training, infrastructure, and operating standards need to be country specific to achieve this goal and reduce the risk of unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) and diversion in the long term.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mihaela Racovita
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The Government of Nepal has recently stepped up efforts to integrate women within the state security apparatus. This Briefing Paper examines recent legislative and institutional changes governing female participation in the security sector, the latest recruitment and advancement trends, and the persistent challenges facing female security providers. It shows that while formal and institutional changes have enabled more women to become part of Nepal’s security sector, women remain under-represented therein, and face challenges including objections to positive discrimination, difficult trade-offs between professional careers and personal lives, and societal attitudes that see security provision as a male-only occupation
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Dabarre
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: While humanitarian action was traditionally designed to be a short-term emergency response, this is increasingly perceived as inaccurate and even undesirable. Humanitarian actors have acknowledged a responsibility to work toward bridging the “humanitarian-development divide” and not to overlook the nexus between addressing and reducing humanitarian needs and building the foundations for sustaining peace.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Current drug policy too often has a negative impact on communities and runs counter to efforts to ameliorate poverty through sustainable development. However, this is often not captured by the metrics used to measure the impact of drug policy. One way to improve these metrics is to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would not only help overcome many of the limitations of drug policies resulting from suboptimal metrics but also make sure these policies enhance, rather than hinder, efforts to achieve the SDGs.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Cheryl He
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In December 2016 Gambians took to the polls and successfully replaced longtime president Yahya Jammeh with current President Adama Barrow, ushering in a political transition. More than a year into this transition, the country is at a tipping point. Public expectations remain high, and the list of competing priorities, from increasing economic opportunities to implementing transitional justice, is long.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Gambia
  • Author: Guillio Coppi
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Two years into its current crisis, Yemen is torn apart by an interlinked series of conflicts with intricate and mobile front lines. These have resulted in what the UN has called “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.” While compounded by decades of conflict, violence, and underdevelopment, the major cause of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the conflict between the two competing governments, along with the intervention of the Saudi-led coalition.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • Author: Els Debuf
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: IPI’s research project on mechanisms to investigate attacks on healthcare aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, member states, and other stakeholders in operationalizing Resolution 2286 and the UN secretary-general’s recommendations for its implementation. The project focuses on recommendations regarding the use of international mechanisms to ensure that the “full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations” required by Resolution 2286 are carried out when parties to the conflict are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Through a combination of desk research, key informant interviews, and an expert meeting bringing together stakeholders in the implementation of Resolution 2286 and experts on international fact-finding and investigation into violations of international humanitarian law, the project developed a set of tools, available on this page. These include:
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey’s projection of its military presence in the Middle East has become a source of worry to the “moderate” Arab states and specifically to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s annexation of Crimea triggered a shift in NATO’s policy towards Georgia. NATO moved from mainly political support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations to enhanced practical military cooperation. Although it might be more difficult for Russia to coerce its small neighbour, the lack of visible progress on the path to NATO membership may weaken Georgian morale and lead to a reversal of democratic gains. Hence, it is important that during the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels the Allies offer additional support to help Georgia increase its resilience.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Georgia
  • Author: Łukasz Ogrodnik
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Austria’s government has declared it will be a bridge-builder in the European Union between its western and eastern members. This is in fact rather more an endorsement of the Union cohesion on the eve of Austria’s presidency of the EU Council than a genuine offer to represent the Visegrad states’ interests in the EU. Vienna is also trying to strengthen its position in Central Europe using regional cooperation initiatives such as the Slavkov Triangle, Three Seas Initiative, and the V4+ format. However, Austria’s pro-Russia stances and economic conflicts of interest have burdened relations with regional partners. Common goals remain limited but include the development of transport infrastructure, an endorsement of the European integration of the Western Balkans and strengthening the EU’s external borders.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Austria
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In his first term, Chinese leader Xi Jinping abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy dictum of “keeping a low profile.” But China’s activism in the middle of Xi’s first term was still more reactive than creative. However, in the last two years a new phase of diplomacy has emerged, in which all actions are subordinated to China’s unchanging strategic foreign policy goal of regaining its superpower status. This means that China strives to enforce change in the global system, which is dominated by the West.[1] The PRC is already trying to introduce new standards for international relations and promotes its values and principles more aggressively worldwide. There are already examples that Xi is effectively implementing his ideas.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Stephen Commins
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growing share of Africa’s urban residents living in slums is creating a further source of fragility. In response, some cities are implementing integrated urban development strategies that link local government, police, the private sector, and youth to strengthen social cohesion and enhance stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Urbanization, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Persistent economic and social disparities between urban centers and outlying communities present an ongoing source of instability for countries in the Maghreb.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Maghreb
  • Author: Amal Cemal Ertürk
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Since the end of World War II, foreign policy and security issues have haunted the European dreams of complete integration in terms of alignment in a highly challenging field, which is also constantly interrupted by sovereignty concerns of member states. Within today’s changing dynamics, the EU’s current instruments seem to fall short of preventing terrorism or providing a meaningful answer to the problems in the Middle East. The EU’s capacity to act in this field needs to be strengthened. The newest approach presented by the European External Action Service (EEAS) is called PESCO (the Permanent Structured Cooperation) and aims to change this current structure of “inactivity”. This short paper will briefly analyze this new instrument.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi indicated in a televised broadcast on 16 January, 2018 that his country neither wants war with Sudan nor Ethiopia; Egypt was also not looking to meddle in the internal affairs of these two countries. These pronouncements came at the backdrop of what is proving to be a challenge for these three countries, the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the largest hydro-electric dam project in Africa. This policy brief gives a snapshot of the brewing tension surrounding the GERD and some of the regional geopolitical concerns as well as an alternative for a workable solution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Çağlar Açıkyıldız
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The events in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011 have been a source of concern for the international community. The ongoing civil war has caused many military and civilian casualties. Reports on the state of the country indicate that both government forces and rebels have committed both crimes against humanity and war crimes. What began as a crisis in March 2011, turned into a civil war between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups and has resulted in over 465,000 deaths. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), as of April 2017, there were more than 5 million Syrian refugees and at least 6.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Over 13.5 million Syrians remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.5 million people in inaccessible areas, including at least 419,900 people trapped in 10 besieged communities. Besides, Islamic State has been very effective in the country especially since 2014. The Islamic State took control of some land and equally committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore, Syria demonstrates a clear case of a state unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens; hence, enough ground to invoke Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to save civilian lives in Syria. However, it is difficult to assume that the international community has a solution to the problem. In this paper, the validity of the R2P and problems of its implementation in the Syrian case are discussed.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Syria