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  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: It is time for the Canadian government to conduct a holistic review of Canada’s national security complex. The Defence Policy Review is floundering as a consequence of an uncooperative world, Canada’s domestic security institutions require legislative empowerment, and the election of Donald Trump has placed increased pressure on Canadian security and defence. Securing the U.S.’s northern border is a no-fail mission for Canada as peace and prosperity depend upon it. However, this must be done within Canadian security norms and values. Only a ground-up examination of the Canadian national security system will elicit a comprehensive understanding of the current deficiencies that will allow focused alignment of government objectives, policies and public funds. Crisis management requires a strategic plan with clear objectives from which to conduct concurrent and coordinated activities. The Trudeau government has the team in place; now, it needs a new National Security Policy statement to assist in “lead turning” an unconventional U.S. administration steadfast in its stance over national security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Immigration
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Sarah Goldfeder
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Jan. 23, the first Monday after being sworn in as president of the United States, Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that laid the groundwork for exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was the elegant solution to a host of hold-over irritants from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as a way to address wholly new issues of trade and commerce. In the wake of this decision, Trump also promised a wholesale reworking of NAFTA, in which everything would be on the table. In the days since, the Trump trade team has been off to a rocky start. Finally, after months of discussion, the notification incumbent for use of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was provided to Congressional leaders on May 18, 2017. Mexico has taken it all in stride, as it took almost immediate advantage of the blusterous U.S. rhetoric to outline its demands for any NAFTA discussion. Canada meanwhile plays the sphinx, open about its willingness to negotiate, but not much else. The U.S. may find that it’s less ready for this round of negotiations than it wanted to be, but its partners are well placed to unite and drive a hard bargain.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada, Global Focus
  • Author: Sandro Knezović, Nani Klepo
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, the architecture of global governance has significant- ly changed in terms that post-Cold-war system dominated mainly by Western countries is now facing fragmentations. New actors, new forms of governance and various forms of partnerships are shaping new multilateralism, which is challenged with many security issues and conflicting relations between global actors.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Francesca Fabbri
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Among the countries of the 2011 Arab revolutions, Tunisia clearly underwent the most robust process of transition to a pluralistic and democratic regime. While consolidating the recent changes is challenging, Tunisia’s ability to successfully confront its problems rests on two important preconditions: eradicating corruption and achieving a sound decentralisation process. Today, lack of transparency and stagnating regional development are deeply intertwined problems that need to be tackled swiftly by the Tunisian government with the support of its international partners. Recent laws and measures, such as the five-year Development Plan, the adoption of an Investment Law, and the reform of the local electoral legal framework, seem to confirm the ambition to reform, but implementation remains very patchy. The EU, with its ambition to make Tunisia an example for enhanced cooperation in the region, should play a greater role in encouraging the Tunisian government to enact much needed reforms through a more critical approach.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Marco Giuli
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Energy poverty, defined as the "inability to afford basic energy services such as adequate warmth, cooling, lighting and the energy to power appliances due to a combination of low income, high energy expenditure and poor energy efficiency of dwellings",2 has recently been on the radar of policymakers, leading to some efforts in tackling the issue. Yet, developing adequate policy solutions has remained difficult both at the national and European level, not least due to the complexity and the multidimensional nature of the phenomenon and the limited competences of the European Union (EU) in the social area. Thus, despite some positive developments, there still is a long journey towards eradicating energy poverty. This paper presents some milestones along the way and recommendations for the future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The basic tenet of the Russian disinformation strategy is the claim that all news is constructed and therefore contested. In the best postmodern tradition they claim there is no ‘objective news’ – only different, rivalling interpretations which purport to show different aspects of what may be called ‘reality’. And what the Russian media outlets present are merely possible explanations which serve as alternatives to the stories offered by Western media. It is a strategy which is both cunning and elegant as it preys on the enlightenment tradition and on the vulnerabilities of liberal democratic media. The Russian authorities seem to believe that (dis-) information campaigns hold great prospects. In a 2017 article, the Russian Chief of Staff informed the public about the Russian military thinking on the topic of ‘war’ and on the role of the non-military or "non-kinetic" in this. It seems premature to conclude that this thinking sees the possibility of war as an exclusively non-kinetic activity – this at least was not announced in the article – but the development points strongly in this direction and we should therefore expect to see an increased Russian focus on (dis-) information campaigns designed to bring well-defined outcomes. There will not be any easy or fix-it-all solutions to this development. Rather, liberal democracies, especially vulnerable as a result of their free media culture, should prepare themselves for a long-term commitment to countering disinformation and to building up cognitive resilience to ensure that the former has minimal effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David S. Mitchell, Jeremy Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor (DOL) published two important legal opinions that propose to give states new options for expanding retirement coverage for private-sector workers. These opinions open the door for states to move forward along one of two distinct paths: a payroll deduction plan that avoids ERISA, or a more traditional model that would fall under ERISA. This issue brief summarizes these rules and highlights the tradeoffs state policymakers will face when deciding which of these new avenues to pursue. The brief will be updated once the proposals are finalized.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Georges Fahmi
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: Egypt and Tunisia have been witnessing over the past few years a new wave of violent Islamist radicalisation. The engagement of Egyptian and Tunisian youth in political violence shows that depending only on classical counter-terrorism strategies will not only fail to prevent violent radicalisation, but it might actually increase it. Both the political and religious actors need to work together to formulate a comprehensive de-radicalisation strategy to render the political and religious spheres less enabling for violent radical ideas and movements.
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus