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  • Author: Bradley O. Babson
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since his first-annual New Year’s speech in 2012 setting North Korea’s policy priorities, Kim Jong Un has emphasized his commitment to economic development, notably promising his people that they will never have to tighten their belts again. The Byunjin policy of equally prioritizing economic development and security through nuclear and missile programs reflects Kim’s desire to assure regime stability by delivering broad-based economic development while establishing a security environment that deters external threats and potential domestic unrest. While United States policy has used sanctions and other pressures to stymie Kim’s ambitions, the Kim regime has nonetheless modestly furthered economic development and significantly advanced security through its nuclear and missile testing programs.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Syed Fazl-e Haider
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the central component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in South Asia, has been a source of significant attention and controversy (China Brief, January 12, 2018; China Brief, February 15). Parts of South Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, however, are also host to another ambitious infrastructure program: the “International North-South Transport Corridor” (INSTC), a transportation development plan first established in 2000 by Iran, Russia and India. The INSTC envisions a network to connect Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf ports and rail centers to the Caspian Sea, and then onwards through the Russian Federation to St. Petersburg and northern Europe.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This timely session was dedicated to a debate with the President of Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to discuss central geo-political and domestic developments, including the protests and the crisis of governance in Baghdad; the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria (particularly Rojava); and finally, the effects of internal political fissures within the KRI.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Baghdad, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Alice Ekman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: “Smart city” development has become a fashionable policy and research topic. A growing number of central and local governments in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, in partnership with companies from diverse sectors (construction, transport, energy, water, etc), consulting firms, NGOs and experts, are now developing smart-city-related projects. This report looks at the smart city from a broader, geopolitical perspective, and considers it, for the first time, as a potential area of geopolitical competition between countries. This approach is relevant given the strategic nature of the infrastructure involved in smart-city development (telecommunication and energy grids, mobile networks, data centers, etc). It is also relevant at a time of prolonged tensions between China and the United States – a period during which 5G and other technologies that are key to developing smart cities are generating global debate and diverging positions across countries.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Urbanization, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Smart Cities
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Manju Menon
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2000, the central government declared Northeast India as India’s hydropower hub. Over 165 large dam projects were proposed to come up in the region. These projects were held as crucial to India’s energy and environmental security as well as the economic development of the country’s marginalised northeastern borderlands.However, nearly two decades on, this proposal to regulate the region's water resources remains unimplemented. In addition, the projects have generated a lot of public opposition in Arunachal Pradesh where most of these dams are supposed to be situated, and in the downstream Brahmaputra valley of Assam. This article will look into the government's hype and failure to construct hydropower dams in the Northeast region. It points to the need for a reflexive political decision on water resource management from the BJP-led governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and at the Centre.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Linear projects like highways have the potential to change existing land use of large areas. These changes are not limited only to the stretches made for transportation of vehicles. The effects of construction are also visible on landscapes on both sides of highways. This study presents the findings of a two-year long groundtruthing study carried out between June 2016 and August 2018 along 187 kilometres of National Highway 66. The study is a collaborative effort of the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Programme and communities from towns and villages situated between Karwar and Kundapur, especially the 27 Panchayats, in the district of Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. The study presents evidence of non-compliance of environmental safeguards resulting in social, economic and health impacts on the local communities in the project areas. It also highlights several aspects that were not taken into account in the project’s impact assessments. The study includes a broad assessment of the project’s scale of direct impacts. During the course of the study, the following types of non-compliance were identified: Permissions for blasting, groundwater and river water withdrawal were not taken; Dumping soil on wetlands and creeks caused flooding and salt water intrusion; The construction caused soil erosion and landslides along embankments; Non-submission of six-monthly compliance reports by the project proponent; Non-compliance of other laws and compensation agreements; The report includes a case study of a stone crusher unit operating in Bogribail village and causing water and dust pollution.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Law, Social Policy, Pollution
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Ritwik Shukla
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Integrated Child Development Services is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme aimed at providing basic education, health, and nutrition services for early childhood development. This brief uses government data to analyse ICDS performance along the following parameters: Allocations, releases, and expenditures; Component-wise trends; Human and physical resources; Coverage, and Outcome.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Health, Budget, Children
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Ashwini K. Swain
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India’s move to electrify every village and household in the country has been lauded as a success. Building on decades of targeted programmes and public investments by multiple governments, the country completed 100% village electrification in April 2018; a year after, it has electrified nearly all ‘willing’ households. Despite the time it took to get here, these achievements are important milestones in India’s development trajectory. But does connecting households to the electric grid resolve the electricity access challenge? The answer depends on whether electrons flow through the wires and whether all consumers are served equally and adequately.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Investment, Electricity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: José Galdo, Bayarmaa Dalkhjavd, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, Soyolmaa Batbekh, Maria Laura Alzúa
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Because of its high incidence and potential threat to social cohesion, youth unemployment is a global concern. This study uses a randomized controlled trial to analyze the effectiveness of a demand-driven vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Mongolia. Mongolia, a transitional country whose economic structure shifted from a communist, centrally planned economy to a free-market economy over a relatively short period, offers a new setting in which to test the effectiveness of standard active labor market policies. This study reports positive and statistically significant short-term effects of vocational training on monthly earnings, skills matching, and self-employment. Substantial heterogeneity emerges as relatively older, richer, and better-educated individuals drive these positive effects. A second intervention that randomly assigns participants to receive repetitive weekly newsletters with information on market returns to vocational training shows positive impacts on the length of exposure to and successful completion of the program. These positive effects, however, are only observed at the intensive margin and do not lead to higher employment or earnings outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Labor Issues, Employment, Youth, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Asia
  • Author: Vivid Lam, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Pingyao (平遥) is a remote place for a tourist attraction. Located in the centre of Shanxi province, it is some 380 miles from Beijing and further from Shanghai or Hong Kong where the tourists tend to congregate. Yet, despite the isolation, come they do to Pingyao. The nearest airport to Pingyao is in Tiayuan, over one hundred kilometres away, so most visitors arrive by coach or by train; along the poorly paved streets and past the decaying houses until they arrive in the middle of the city. Here the tourists disembark from their coaches and their trains and find themselves transported to the days of the Qing dynasty emperors, surrounded by imperial architecture. The tourists wander slowly towards West Street. This is the home of the most popular attraction: the headquarters of Ri Sheng Chang (日昇), a late Qing company which revolutionised Chinese banking, now a museum and an increasingly busy tourist attraction. This is the story of how it came to be and how the little city in a small province in China rose to prominence, became the financial centre of the world’s largest economy, fell to obscurity and, now, rises again.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia