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  • Author: Rafael Tamayo-Álvarez, Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, Juan David Rodriguez-Rios
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Free trade agreements (FTAs) and international investment agreements (IIAs) are regarded as instruments to promote world trade, investment flows and market liberalization. The question, however, is whether they promote sustainable development as well. This Perspective contemplates incorporating voluntary codes of conduct for multinational enterprises (MNEs) in IIA s to strengthen the protection of labor rights, “the social component [...] embedded in the notion of sustainable development.”
  • Author: John Gaffney, James Nicholson
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In their contribution to the FDI Perspectives series, Baiju Vasani and Anastasiya Ugale drew attention to an emerging trend in favor of the so-called “costs follow the event” (CFtE) (or loser pays) approach, which is in contrast to the more “traditional” approach under which parties share the costs of arbitration equally, with each party covering its own legal fees.
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis has reminded Europeans of the importance of defence policy, thus amplifying the main message of the December 2013 European Council on security and defence. Many of the proposals put forward by the December summit are currently being worked on, but the Ukraine crisis creates additional challenges for the EU, highlighting the strategic divergence within the Union and posing fundamental questions about its role as a security provider. Regarding concrete achievements, the EU's defence ministers recently adopted a policy framework for systematic and long-term defence cooperation, and the Commission has also begun to work energetically towards achieving its key objectives in the defence sector. Ultimately, however, the success of the EU's efforts will depend on the commitment of the member states.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Mari Neuvonen
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions and difficulties have emerged again in the Middle East together with the stalled peace process, which is a great concern for the EU. The EU has established two Civilian Crisis Management missions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as instruments of the Common Security and Defence Policy to promote the objectives of the Middle East Peace Process. Both missions, EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah, have been successful in training, advising and mentoring the Palestinian security sector to combat terror and prevent it, and to operate with the Israeli security forces to maintain order. However, the full potential of the two missions has not been utilized as instruments to promote the peace process principles in terms of emphasizing democracy and accountability as being fundamental to an independent state. It is time for the EU to link its state-building initiatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with a clear political position at the "high-politics” level and to translate them into reality. If the focus of these two CSDP missions is not shifted away from polishing the already smooth-functioning Palestinian security apparatus and more towards reflecting the political aims of the peace process, it begs the question of whether these missions can continue to serve as useful instruments for the EU to promote the peace process.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland and Sweden are increasing their bilateral defence cooperation. Officially, it is restricted to peacetime and international crisis management operation activities, but it nonetheless has national territorial defence impacts. The planned deepening of cooperation between Finland and Sweden builds on the already extensive daily cooperation between the two countries. Both Finland and Sweden see deeper cooperation as an important addition to cooperation within the EU, NATO, and NORDEFCO frameworks, as well as other significant bilateral cooperative relationships. Fruitful cooperation will require strengthening trust among military and political actors, as well as an acknowledgement of differing perspectives regarding the role of the defence industry in security and defence policy formation. Cooperation may continue to deepen as the momentum for it builds, or through a binding agreement developing into a defence alliance – Defence Alliance Finland-Sweden (DAFS).
  • Political Geography: Finland, Sweden
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The mantra in Brussels and all over Europe is that investment holds the key to recovery in the euro area. A central element of the new Commission's economic strategy is a proposed programme of investment of €300 billion.The emphasis on investment is not new, but has grown in strength as the euro area seems stuck in a never-ending recession.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Ibbitson
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Of all the reforms launched by this most conservative of Conservative governments, none surpass the root-and-branch restructuring of Canada's immigration polices. And what has come before does not equal what is to come. On January 1, 2015, the federal government will replace the points system used to select immigrants for nigh on 50 years with the entirely new Express Entry program.
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Jenny Hayward-Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Lowy Institute for International Policy is an independent policy think tank. Its mandate ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia – economic, political and strategic – and it is not limited to a particular geographic region. Its two core tasks are to: produce distinctive research and fresh policy options for Australia's international policy and to contribute to the wider international debate. promote discussion of Australia's role in the world by providing an accessible and high quality forum for discussion of Australian international relations through debates, seminars, lectures, dialogues and conferences.
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In contrast to popular uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, Morocco has emerged relatively unscathed, avoiding destabilizing political upheaval or economic impact. The case of Morocco has surprised many observers because its weak and problematic social, political, and economic indicators are much like those of the other transitioning countries.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Lara Friedman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: With their own interests challenged and growing domestic constituencies pressing for action, European leaders are asking what Europe can do to reaccredit its policies in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, notwithstanding U.S. opposition. In this context the time has come for Europe to adopt a new Middle East policy paradigm in which European leverage is identified and employed as part of a coherent effort aimed not at altering the behavior of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but at altering the political environment in which Netanyahu and his challengers on the right operate.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Leila Hilal
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The counterterrorism effort launched by the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition has sidetracked international attention away from a political resolution to the Syrian civil war. Officials, analysts and peace practitioners alike are latching on to quick fixes aimed at mitigating violence at the local level. Although stakeholders are mindful of the need to match bottom-up de-escalation efforts with top-down interventions, a comprehensive approach is as elusive as ever. The United Nations (UN) secretary-general's appointment of a new special envoy for Syria presents an opportunity for building an inclusive peacemaking strategy for the country. This policy brief provides a series of recommendations for the development of a strategy led by the UN with support from key countries.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Silke Pfeiffer
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: While a peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government seems to be within reach, a number of substantial and procedural issues might still cause controversies. One such topic is the question of how a potential peace agreement should be ratified. Both parties have made clear that ratification should involve direct citizen participation. The FARC's proposal for a broadly mandated Constituent Assembly is effectively not politically viable. Other constitutional options have practical, political and legal implications. A final formula will need to deal with the armed group's concern for the legal security of its members while rapidly generating a political mandate to proceed with implementation. The inevitable time lag between signature and ratification will most certainly become a political liability because the FARC is likely to refuse to lay down its weapons in this period. With low levels of trust between the parties and a society deeply sceptical of the guerrilla's intentions to abandon the armed struggle, all sides will feel the need to be protected against risks of non-compliance. The greatest risk related to citizen ratification remains non-approval, because large parts of the population continue to be sensitive – if not opposed – to the idea of granting wide-ranging concessions to the FARC. Mobilising a strong political and social majority behind the peace process and a potential deal is a priority if a final agreement is to survive popular scrutiny and become a foundation for lasting peace.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Kate Meagher
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Addressing the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria requires policymakers to look beyond Western security templates of Islamic terrorism to grasp the underlying causes of what is primarily a Nigerian conflict. This policy brief examines the four explanatory factors behind the insurgency: economic marginalisation, governance failures, extremist operations and security failures. Economic causes are traced to poverty, unemployment and extreme inequality between northern and southern Nigeria, while governance failures relate to national religious polarisation, political brinksmanship among religious elites, and rampant corruption in the face of mass poverty. The focus on extremist operations considers the shifting objectives and recruitment strategies of Boko Haram, which tend to confound clear policy analysis, while an assessment of security failures notes their role in driving rather than reining in radicalisation. Recommendations for international policy interventions focus on four areas of constructive engagement. These include diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian government to demonstrate adequate political will to address the insurgency, supporting human rights training and providing appropriate equipment for the military, providing more socially differentiated support for the generation of dignified livelihoods appropriate to both the educated and uneducated unemployed, and more concerted support for the compensation of Boko Haram's victims.
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Boko Haram is a radical Islamist movement shaped by its Nigerian context and reflecting Nigeria's history of poor governance and extreme poverty in the north. The movement is unique in that it combines a sectarian, radical Islamic agenda with violence. Its stated goal is the establishment of a sharia state, but it shows little interest in actually governing or implementing economic development. It is based on the fundamentalist Wahhabi theological system and opposes the Islam of the traditional northern Nigerian establishment, which is broadly tolerant. Boko Haram and its more radical splinter, Ansaru, are steadily expanding their area of operations. Kidnapping has become a major source of revenue and is widespread, while attacks have occurred in Lagos and Kano. The government's response has been to treat Boko Haram as a part of the international al-Qaeda movement. Security service abuses are likely a driver of some popular support for or acquiescence to Boko Haram. The struggle between the government and Boko Haram has dire humanitarian consequences. Many people have been internally displaced in northern Nigeria and many refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. The international community may be asked to help provide humanitarian assistance in what is one of the poorest parts of the world.
  • Political Geography: Nigeria
  • Author: David M. Anderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The massacre at Mpeketoni in June 2014 signalled a new departure for al-Shabaab in its violent attacks on the Kenyan state. Justifying the attack as retaliation for the extrajudicial killings of Muslim leaders and the general oppression of Muslims, and as an act of war, al-Shabaab dem-onstrated a keen awareness of the sensitive political position of Kenya's Muslim population. Having been founded in a nationalist context in Somalia, al-Shabaab appears now to be rein-venting itself in the context of Kenya's troubled domestic politics. Claims that the Mpeketoni violence was based on local politics only underline the success of al-Shabaab's “reinvention”. The Kenyan state has done little to win support amongst its own Muslim population for its cur-rent invasion of southern Somalia. Its efforts to contain al-Hijra, an al-Shabaab franchise now operating in Kenya, has involved heavy-handed policing, most recently in Operation Usalama Watch, and has seen the killing and “disappearance” of more than 20 Muslim leaders. Kenya's government now needs to rebuild trust with Muslim communities in its north-eastern border areas, and elsewhere, and to seek a consensus against radicalisation. This should involve a reconsideration of policing methods, the creation of opportunities for political dialogue with Muslim leaders, and a more sensitive, culturally appropriate and equitable approach to Muslim communities in general.
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Somalia
  • Author: Ali Bilgic, Daniela Nascimento
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Although Turkey had no past colonial involvement with African countries, there has been an increasing revival of Turkey's relation with the continent since the end of the 1990s, which reached a peak after 2005. From then on, along with a focus on Central Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East, Turkish foreign policy started shifting its focus to Africa, and as a new donor country Turkey's political and economic relations with sub-Saharan African countries have intensified significantly. This policy brief analyses and discusses the main economic, political, and strategic motivations behind these shifts and priorities, as well as some of the perceptions and current challenges this change in policy faces.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Licínia Simão
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: It was not until 2007 that the concept of development assistance became part of the Russian foreign policy toolkit. This policy brief explains Russia's development assistance policy – mainly towards Africa – as an effect of the country's global commitments and socialisation dynamics, on the one hand, and Moscow's growing interest in exploring the potential of soft power as an indispensable element of its diplomacy, since both aspects are interrelated. The policy brief also looks at the mismatches between Russia's normative discourse in its assistance towards Africa, and the economic and geopolitical interests it pursues simultaneously. This provides room for reflection on the specificities of so-called South-South cooperation, with which the BRICS grouping in particular is often associated.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Tiziana Trotta
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The United Nations Peace Conference on Syria is due to take place on 22nd January in Geneva. The Syrian Government and opposition will meet for the first time since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011. Nevertheless, there are very few prospects of finding a satisfactory solution to end the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Islam, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Adriana Skorupska, Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Georgia is to remain the leader among post-Soviet countries in terms of successful democratisation, it must conduct an effective decentralisation of power. During its nine years in power, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement rather oversaw a consolidation of power. The transfer of power to the Georgian Dream coalition in 2012 raised hopes that real decentralisation might happen. Poland has been engaged for years in the transfer of know-how and best practices in the field of local democracy building to its Caucasian partner. It should continue its support to the government in Tbilisi. This, however, should be combined with a constructive critique of Georgian reformers’ actions.
  • Topic: Communism, Reform, Democracy
  • Author: Beata Ociepka
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Diplomacy has been changing dramatically in recent years as a result of an adjustment to more interconnected and hybrid international relations. One of the signs of this change is more stress put on soft-power tools as public diplomacy. Classic diplomacy has shifted from the domain of politics to the public sphere, where public opinion is formed. Formerly latent diplomacy has become public diplomacy with the effect of a more symmetric conduct of international political communication. Poland’s public diplomacy is conditioned by the country’s size and its status as a “new” EU Member State, but there are lessons to be learned from strategies adopted by other countries in the European Union, particularly in the fields of culture, development aid, and education.