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  • Author: Isabelle Facon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Three years after the Euromaidan protests and as the war in the east continues, the government has pursued significant military reforms. Kiev has published new strategic documents which reflect the complexity of the challenges facing Ukrainian national security. Pressure from NATO comes in addition to pressure from civil society, which manifests itself in numerous ways. Nonetheless, military reform in Ukraine is still suffering from a number of constraints related to the amount of resources available, resistance on the part of various national players and conflicts between different institutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Celine Pajon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: In recent years, Japan's security contribution in Africa rose with the unprecedented participation of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in an international counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, the subsequent build-up of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, and the SDF's longest participation in United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations (UNPKO), in South Sudan (2012-May 2017). This increased security contribution has been driven by a need to react to various events, such as the rising Chinese presence in Africa and the increase in terrorist attacks and piracy. It is also a means of reassuring a risk-averse business sector and encouraging it to step up its investment in Africa. Finally, it is about demonstrating Japan's identity as a "proactive contributor to peace", and responsible shareholder in international security. While media attention is drawn to the Japanese SDF presence on the ground and at sea, the bulk of Japan's security contribution to Africa remains low-key, mostly in the form of financial contributions and capacity-building assistance, and is very often channeled through or in partnership with multilateral institutions or a third country, such as France. This said, Africa is now being associated more tightly with Japan's strategic core interests. Terrorist attacks on the continent are posing a direct risk to Japanese nationals. Threats to the security of vital maritime shipping routes transiting from the Middle East to the Indian Ocean are also directly undermining Tokyo's interests. The inclusion of Africa in the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" demonstrates Japan's willingness to adopt a more strategic approach to Africa.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The influence these great powers exert, on themselves and others, is uneven and difficult to predict. Alongside a public consensus on a “democratic world order”, there are significant differences of perspective and sometimes conflicting interests. It is far from clear whether the Russia-China-India matrix can form the basis of an emerging network of cooperation, or whether its contradictions foreshadow an increasingly problematic engagement.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India
  • Author: Françoise Nicolas
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Ethiopia seeks to replicate the experience of East Asian countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, or China and to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to accelerate the development of its manufacturing capacities (in particular through an ambitious industrial Park – IP - development program and the acceptance of foreign-owned Special Economic Zones - SEZs). On the other hand, China looks to export its development model (including SEZs), to delocalize its most labor-intensive activities, and to promote connectivity between Asia and the African continent. In this context, the Chinese government identified SEZ projects in 19 countries – including one in Ethiopia (the so-called Eastern Industry Zone - EIZ), located in Dukem some 30 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa. Today, China is by far the leading foreign direct investor in the country. In addition to the Chinese-owned EIZ in Dukem, Chinese investors are also present in privately-run SEZs that are not part of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) strategy, as well as in government-led IPs and outside SEZs or IPs. Lastly Chinese firms are also extremely active in all kinds of infrastructure development thanks to Chinese funds.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Ethiopia
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari, Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The election of pro-European Emmanuel Macron as president of France has reignited hopes that the so-called Franco-German engine, providing political impetus to European integration in the past decades, might be revived. While Macron’s election proved a rebuke to the populist challenge, it remains to be seen whether and how it will manage to rebalance the partnership with Berlin, which is overwhelmingly premised on Germany’s growing strength and clout at the European level. While pronouncing herself supportive of the new course in Paris, Chancellor Angela Merkel, like the rest of Europe, remains in a wait-and-see position regarding the ability of President Macron to fulfil his ambitious pro-EU agenda.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erik Lundsgaarde
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief argues that the expertise, networks, and convening role of governments are key assets in efforts to expand business involvement to promote sustainable development goals. In addition, development cooperation providers have the potential to adopt a systemic perspective that can contribute to improving the framework conditions in partner countries. These public sector advantages should provide a point of departure for partnership development approaches.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Helene Maria Kyed
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In Myanmar, ordinary citizens prefer to have crimes and disputes resolved within their village or neighborhood. There is a clear preference for avoiding conflict escalation, rather than punishing perpetrators. The official courts are seen as places to avoid whenever possible. They are mistrusted, associated with high costs, and many feel intimidated by them due to fear of authority and formality. Reforming the official judiciary is important in Myanmar, but even if the courts functioned according to international standards, there would still be a demand for local forms of dispute resolution focused on reconciliation and negotiated settlements. This is due to culturally and religiously informed perceptions of problems and injustices, related to shame, fate and Buddhist beliefs in past life deeds. This policy brief by Helene Maria Kyed argues that any support to justice sector reform in Myanmar should include already existing local dispute resolution mechanisms and take local perceptions of justice serious, rather than alone focus on the official judiciary and international rule of law principles. It is important to base programming on inclusive dialogues about justice at the local level, and invest in building trust and gaining context-specific knowledge.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Security
  • Political Geography: Myanmar