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  • Author: David Bright
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: One of the most interesting consequences of the development of the European Union has been the stimulus it has given in recent years to the rediscovery of region within European states. As the supra-state functions of the European institutions in Brussels have burgeoned and the intrinsic sovereignty of the state in Europe has declined, so regions have acquired an ever greater social and political significance. Of course, in some cases, the state was traditionally federal in nature—as with Germany\'s Länder system—and, politically at least, regional aspirations have been satisfied. In the past two decades, however, regional aspirations have expanded into social and cultural spheres that require a new, defined political context. Even in such long-established states as the United Kingdom, such pressures now have to be acknowledged as sub-state factors enter into the complex array of political elements that go to make up the contemporary Union. In this context the Spanish experience is illuminating, both in the way it demonstrates how such tendencies should be accommodated and in the way in which regional populations respond. It is, in fact, a paradigm for a development that will become inevitable and universal as the power of the state declines within the wider structures of contemporary \'Euroland\'.
  • Topic: Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Christiaan Vrolijk
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Kyoto Protocol agreed in December 1997 was a landmark, but not an end point. Negotiations are on going to fill in the gaps left in the Protocol. From 2 to 14 November the Conference of Parties met again to follow up on Kyoto in its fourth session (COP-4) in Buenos Aires. After the media hype of the Japan meeting, the lack of news coverage was not entirely deserved. Although discussions had to focus on filling in the details in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, these details will determine just how big a step Kyoto was The Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was negotiated at the \'Earth Summit\' in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and has entered into force in 1994. Under the Convention the Parties have committed themselves to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations \'at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system\'. The headline commitment for the countries listed in Annex I of the Convention, the industrialized countries, is to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, and to show a reversal in the trend of growing emissions before the year 2000. The Conference of Parties meets annually as the supreme body of the Convention, dealing with various issues related to it. The Kyoto Protocol, negotiated at COP-3 in Japan, is a Protocol to the FCCC, and as such was also on the negotiating table of the COP in Argentina. It sets out renewed, and now legally binding, emission reduction commitments for the Annex B Parties (the industrialized and former COMECON countries). The overall commitments add up to a 5% reduction from 1990 in a basket of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, some industrial gases (HFCs, PFCs, SF6) and emissions and removals from land-use change and forestry (LUCF). After its entry into force, the Meeting of Parties (to the Kyoto Protocol) will take over the responsibility for the Protocol issues Many Annex B Parties that have taken up commitments under the Kyoto Protocol stressed the importance at working on the rules for the mechanisms of the Protocol. The EU also stressed the need for limits on the use of these mechanisms and a compliance regime. The G77/China stressed the importance of a debate on the adverse effects and impact of responses. One of the commentators said that Article 17 on international emissions trading \'contains the basic principles, but its main feature is the fact that it can be interpreted to anyone\'s liking\'. Many articles leave room for further work by the COP. Even if the text was not deliberately ambiguous, only general principles were described, so that the 170 Parties at the negotiations could reach agreement, with a later COP to decide on the details of the issue This paper will first briefly discuss the science of climate change and then consider the Buenos Aires Plan of Action and the most important individual issues of the conference.
  • Topic: Environment, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Martin Plaut, Patrick Gilkes
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In May 1991 the capital of Eritrea, Asmara, fell to the liberation movement that had been fighting for the independence of the territory for the past thirty years. At the same time the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was captured by forces led by northern rebels from the province of Tigray. It seemed, for a moment, that the long and bloody wars that had racked the region might be at an end. The dual victories were the result of a close cooperation between the two movements that had led these struggles—the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Both had been determined to overcome authoritarian rule from Addis Ababa and had worked closely together to achieve this end. Two years later Eritrea achieved formal independence, recognized by the United Nations, by the Organization of African Unity and—most important of all—by the new rulers in Ethiopia. At the hour of victory relations between the two movements appeared genuinely warm and friendly. Yet just seven years later the divisions could hardly be deeper. Since May 1998 they have been in—or close to—open warfare. Their leaders, who were once close personal friends, are no longer on speaking terms. Tens of thousands of people have been deported or displaced and radio stations blare out vitriolic propaganda against one another. These are complex events that have been further obscured by the contradictory versions of the truth that both sides have advanced.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Migration, Nationalism, Sovereignty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.4 percent, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.5 percent in December. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The coincident indicators show that the economy continued to expand through the end of 1999. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion during 2000. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems should be monitored for future increases.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.3 percent, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.3 percent in November. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The coincident indicators point to GDP rising in the 4th quarter of 1999. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems should be monitored for future increases.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index held steady, the coincident index increased 0.6 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in October. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The coincident indicators point to GDP rising in the 4th quarter of 1999. The leading indicators have paused after strong growth early this year. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems should be monitored for future increases.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index decreased 0.1 percent, the coincident index decreased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.4 percent in September. This report merits careful interpretation, but does not change general conclusions drawn from previous releases, which show the economy is in good health: The coincident indicators point to GDP rising in the 4th quarter of 1999. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion through early 2000. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems must be monitored for future increases.
  • Topic: Economics, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index decreased 0.1 percent, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.2 percent in August. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The coincident indicators point to GDP rising at a pace of 3.0 percent (annualized) in the 3rd quarter of 1999. The leading indicators point to a continuation of the expansion through early 2000. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems do not seem to be a problem yet.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.3 percent, the coincident index increased 0.2 percent, and the lagging index increased 0.6 percent in July. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a healthy economy: The coincident indicators point to economic activity rising in the 3rd quarter from the 1.8 percent (annualized) rise in GDP in the 2nd quarter. The leading indicators point to continuation of the expansion through early 2000. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems show inconsistent patterns of growth.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The leading index increased 0.3 percent, the coincident index increased 0.4 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.4 percent in June. Taken together, the three composite indexes and their components show a very healthy economy: The coincident indicators point to economic activity rising at a pace of 2.7 percent (annualized) in the 2nd quarter of 1999, compared to the advance estimate of GDP showing a 2.3 percent increase. The leading indicators point to continuation of the expansion through early 2000. Cyclical imbalances and related economic instability problems are almost nonexistent.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States