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  • Author: James M. Boughton
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has 188 member countries. The United Nations has 193. The difference is not economically or politically trivial. Although none of the members missing from the IMF is a large country, two of the five are potentially important in their regions: Cuba and North Korea. What would it take to complete the process to have both countries included as IMF member countries? What are the obstacles to becoming members, and how can they be overcome? For three years, 1997 to 2000, tentative moves toward membership for North Korea were encouraged by South Korea and were tolerated by most Western powers. The détente did not last, but the episode offers a model for a resumption of progress if conditions improve. Notably, the IMF could provide technical assistance and training, collect economic data and provide information on its membership requirements and obligations. Cuban membership faces additional hurdles because of US laws that were targeted specifically at the government of Fidel Castro. Moreover, to this date, neither country has applied to join the IMF. Because every other country in the world, aside from the very smallest and those not generally recognized as states, has joined the IMF, it is virtually certain that Cuba will apply eventually, as will North Korea, unless that prospect is preempted by reunification of the Korean Peninsula. When they do apply, a concerted political commitment will be needed to overcome the remaining technical obstacles.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, United Nations, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Cuba
  • Author: Wendy Dobson
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper reviews Indonesia’s economic prospects and what these imply for a closer relationship with Canada. By posing the question “Is Indonesia the next China?,” the author suggests that Indonesia has the considerable economic potential envisaged by foreign investors, but conveys uncertainty as to whether Southeast Asia’s most populous country can make the changes necessary to realize that potential. A review of the economic record and comparison of China’s and Indonesia’s economic structures, endowments and institutions show major differences between the two countries. The paper further questions what it will take to realize Indonesia’s potential, finding the answers to be: human capital development; increased participation in the region’s global value chains; meeting the growing middle-class demand for modern services; raising productivity in agriculture and fishing; and increasing use of the Internet. Failure to make these changes will increase the chances of Indonesia’s growth in per capita incomes slowing and falling into the middle-income trap. Canada’s role will be to monitor closely how Indonesia tackles its five priorities at the same time as it responds to the opportunities to exploit Indonesia’s abundant natural resources, urbanization and its expanding consumer demand for modern services and educational opportunities.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Regulation
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia
  • Author: Patrick Leblond
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is possibly the most ambitious regional free trade agreement that Canada and the European Union have negotiated so far. One of its main components is a chapter that seeks to liberalize trade and investment in financial services between Canada and the European Union, while ensuring that markets and their agents will be properly regulated and protected through prudential regulation. However, this chapter is unlikely to have a significant impact on the financial services sector in Canada and the European Union in the short and medium term. Although some observers fear that CETA might undermine the high quality of financial regulations in Canada or the European Union, this paper’s analysis demonstrates that such concerns are unfounded.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Canada, European Union
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of four major financial sector sustainability codes of conduct, the UN Environmental Programme Finance Initiative, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the Equator Principles and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values with regard to their impact on the sustainability of their members. The codes of conduct focus on the integration of environmental, social and governance criteria into financial decision making in lending, investment, asset management and project finance. corporate sustainability voluntary codes of conduct have a positive impact on their members. The effectiveness, however, depends on the quality and content of a code, as well as on implementation and compliance mechanisms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, United Nations, Ethics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brian Dodwell, Daniel Milton, Don Rassler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of over 4,600 unique Islamic State personnel records that were produced by the group primarily between early 2013 and late 2014. The importance of this data for understanding the Islamic State and, in particular, the foreign fighter flow, cannot be overstated. To put it simply, it is the largest cache of primary source documents produced by the Islamic State available in the open-source as of this date. These particular documents were acquired by NBC News from an Islamic State defector and subsequently provided to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (and other entities). This report provides a window into the organization’s global workforce, revealing information about foreign fighters’ countries of origin, citizenship, points of entry into Syria, marital status, skills and previous occupations, education levels, religious knowledge, fighting role preferences in the group, and previous jihadist experience. In addition to analyzing the data at the macro-level, the report also highlights numerous anecdotes of individual fighters. Taken together, the analysis in this report reveals an organization that is attempting to vet new members, manage talent effectively within the organization, and deal with a diverse pool of recruits.
  • Topic: ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Soren Scholvin
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Geopolitical research is frequently portrayed as a dead end. To some scholars it appears that in the 21st century geography is largely scenery, all but irrelevant to the most important issues of grand strategy. This working paper aims to revitalise geopolitics, reflecting both on the critique of the subject and the strengths that have characterised it for more than a century. It is argued that geographical conditions constitute a set of opportunities and constraints, a structure that is independent of agency. General patterns and long-term processes can be aptly explained by this structure but geopolitics is not a theory of state behaviour or foreign policy. Understanding specific phenomena that occur in international relations therefore requires taking into consideration non-geographical factors. Such a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors provides sound explanations, as several examples demonstrate: China’s projection of power into the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe in 2008, Iran’s maritime strategy and the poor integration of Colombia and South America. Given that geopolitics is about analysing international relations (or politics) for its geographical content, all those committed to geopolitics should concentrate on the three guiding questions: Do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome? If yes, do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome significantly? If yes, how, meaning in combination with which other factors do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome?
  • Author: Soren Scholvin
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Geopolitical research is frequently portrayed as a dead end. To some scholars it appears that in the 21st century geography is largely scenery, all but irrelevant to the most important issues of grand strategy. This working paper aims to revitalise geopolitics, reflecting both on the critique of the subject and the strengths that have characterised it for more than a century. It is argued that geographical conditions constitute a set of opportunities and constraints, a structure that is independent of agency. General patterns and long-term processes can be aptly explained by this structure but geopolitics is not a theory of state behaviour or foreign policy. Understanding specific phenomena that occur in international relations therefore requires taking into consideration non-geographical factors. Such a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors provides sound explanations, as several examples demonstrate: China’s projection of power into the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe in 2008, Iran’s maritime strategy and the poor integration of Colombia and South America. Given that geopolitics is about analysing international relations (or politics) for its geographical content, all those committed to geopolitics should concentrate on the three guiding questions: Do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome? If yes, do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome significantly? If yes, how, meaning in combination with which other factors do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome?
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, South Africa, Colombia, South America, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Saori N. Katada
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In 2015, two mega-initiatives took shape that will affect economic relations in the Asia-Pacific region: the US-promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Although they address different needs, both are expected to have profound effects on Asia's economic governance in the near future, and will shape economic norms in the Asia Pacific and beyond. Japan has joined the TPP but stayed out of the AIIB, decisions that might seem counterintuitive considering its history of resisting trade liberalization and of promoting infrastructure investment. Is Japan simply favoring its US ally over rival China? Or is it that Japan's position on the TPP and AIIB aligns with its own economic priorities, and enhances its geo-economic advantage? With a US-China competition over economic ideas and regional strategies, Japan occupies a unique position that may allow it to influence the direction of Asia-Pacific economic governance, which is now being battled out by the two "titans."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Christoph Sperfeldt, Melanie Hyde, Mychelle Balthazard
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Using outreach-friendly television broadcasting of the Khmer Rouge (KR) trials in Cambodia in conjunction with community-based dialogue meetings, the Voices for Reconciliation: Promoting Nationwide Dialogue on the Khmer Rouge Past through the Mass Media and Community-Level Survivor Networks project aimed to 1) increase community awareness and understanding of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) trials, 2) empower conflict-affected groups to create spaces for dialogue at the community level, and 3) build the necessary capacities among those groups and civil society intermediaries to create environments favorable for longer-term reconciliatory processes beyond the ECCC. The project engaged with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association's Civil Party Representative Scheme, which supports a network of Civil Parties (CPs) and Civil Party Representatives (CPRs) who are party to the ECCC proceedings. To achieve the objectives, the project had a three-prong strategy: 1) the production and broadcasting of television programs and media outreach to the general population, 2) the organization of community-based dialogue meetings using outreach films to inform Cambodians in rural areas about the ECCC and its developments, and 3) capacity building to civil society groups and 46 CPRs who were directly involved with the project. This report was produced as part of an evaluation of the project in Cambodia, and involved an assessment of the project outcomes in relation to the participation of the CPs and CPRs in the project and lessons learned from the project implementation. The results are based on interviews with a non-random sample of 101 CPs and 38 out of 46 CPRs who participated in the project. To complement the survey, four focus group discussions including a total of 18 women and 14 men, were conducted in four different provinces. The interviews and the focus group discussions took place during the first two weeks of July 2015 at the end of the project. The results represent the points of view of study participants at the time of the survey and focus groups discussions only. This project was supported by USAID and implemented by the East-West Center and WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Stanford University.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Human Rights, History, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Cambodia