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  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Rend Al-Rahim Francke
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In meetings conducted in Beirut and Baghdad in mid-January 2008, a high-ranking and broad cross-section of the Iraqi political spectrum expressed views on the current political situation, main priorities for the next year, prospects for moving forward on key issues, and the American military presence in Iraq. The Iraqis, numbering about 40, included parliamentary leaders, members of the presidency and their staffs, top government officials and leaders in both the Anbar and Baghdad "Awakenings" (tribal groups prepared to fight Al Qaeda and guard their own neighborhoods.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Kelly Campbell
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the planned deployment of the joint UN and African Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping force to Darfur begins, these institutions are placing more emphasis on finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Darfur. After the failure of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), the international community realized the importance of involving all the key rebel movements in peace negotiations. Planned peace talks in Sirte, Libya have been delayed in an effort to convince key rebel leaders to participate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Robert Perito, Jasenka Jocic
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Haiti's constitution was adopted on March 29, 1987 when over 90 percent of the voters approved it in a popular referendum. The result was not surprising. Among the most democratic in the world, Haiti's constitution was proposed in the aftermath of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship and seemed to promise an end to arbitrary and violent rule. Unfortunately, that was not the case as the country endured two more decades of turmoil. In the period of instability following adoption of the constitution, its provisions were more often ignored or violated than observed.
  • Topic: Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, Nicholas Turner, Thomas Karl Wagner, Greg Lowden
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the context, development and future of the human rights regime in the Americas —a region where people in many states have suffered brutal repression on a massive scale. It argues that the changing nature of human rights violations in Latin America demands a refocusing of international and domestic policies, building state capacity and improving the implementation of judicial reforms. The significant progress achieved in protection of civil and political rights should inspire and guide strategies to promote economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: World hunger is prevalent yet receives relatively less attention compared to poverty. The MDGs have taken a step to address this with the resolution of halving the number of starving people in the world by 2015. A substantial and sustainable reduction in hunger will also greatly improve the chances of meeting the MDGs related to poverty reduction, education, child mortality, maternal health, and disease. Hunger though is not a straightforward problem of producing enough to feed the world's population; it has many cross-cutting dimensions. This study addresses a combination of economic, social, and political perspectives, drawing upon academic research of the economic factors and the experiences of international organizations and civil society.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, International Organization
  • Author: Jenny Hayward-Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Pacific Islands region is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed targets for improving human development by 2015. The Melanesian countries, which have the largest population, face the most significant challenges in attempting to meet the goals. In the Port Moresby Declaration of 6 March 2008, the Australian government promised to work jointly with Pacific Island countries to meet the goals in the context of new Pacific Partnerships for Development. While the Millennium Development Goals may not be the fairest measurement of the success of inputs from the Australian aid program, they provide a valuable universal mechanism of measuring development outcomes.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Naton huippukokouksessa Bukarestissa 2.-4. huhtikuuta 2008 Albania kutsuttiin aloi t tamaan jäsenyys-neuvottelut sotilasliiton kanssa. Monessa suhteessa Länsi-Balkanin kehityksessä hännillä ollut Albania siirtyykin nyt kärkikaartiin. Albanian Nato-jäsenyys on selkeä viesti esimerkiksi parlamenttivaaleihin valmistuvalle Serbialle: Belgradista käsin takapajuisena nähty Albania on nyt siirtynyt selkeästi naapurimaidensa edelle euro-atlanttisessa integraatiossa. Tämän toivotaan herättävän serbialaisäänestäjät valitsemaan EU-tien tulevissa vaaleissa. Naapureiden positiivisella esimerkillä onkin Balkanilla usein tehokkaampi uudistusvoima kuin Brysselin tai Washingtonin julkilausumilla. Albanian rooli on 1990-luvulta ollut rakentava alueellisissa kysymyksissä. Se ei ole vaarantanut mah-dollisuuksiaan Nato-tai EU-jäsenyyteen liian kansallismielisellä Kosovo-politiikalla – se on päinvastoin antanut kaiken tukensa länsiliittoutuman politiikalle Balkanilla. EU on jälleen vahvistanut Länsi-Balkanin jäsenyysnäkymiä poliittisella retoriikalla niin komission tuoreessa Länsi-Balkanin tiedonannossa kuin ulkoministerien EU-Länsi-Balkan ministerikokouk-sen julkilausumassa. Tästä huolimatta Albanian EU-jäsenyyteen on vielä pitkä matka. Maan on ensin toimeenpantava EU:n kanssa solmimansa vakaus-ja assosiaatiosopimus. EU-lähentymisen hitautta kompensoidakseen unioni väläyttelee alueelle viisumivapauden mahdollisuutta. Albania on yhä heikko valtio: se kärsii raastavista sisäpoliittista ristiriidoista ja poliittisen johdon epäkyp-syydestä. EU-jäsenyys on liian kaukainen tavoite velvoittaakseen maan johdon todellisiin uudistuksiin. Monet poliitikot ajattelevat vain lyhyen tähtäimen etuja – vaalimenestystä tai taloudellista voittoa. Kommunistidiktatuurin taakka näkyy yhä yhteiskunnan kehityksessä mutta myös käytännössä muun muassa raskaan teollisuuden saastuttamina alueina tai vaarallisina vanhenevina asevarastoina.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Mikko Patokallio
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent years, Russia's resurgence has been driven by favourable conditions rather than solid foundations. Despite the favourable conditions, Russia's resurgence has only achieved mixed results. Buoyed by economic growth, Russia has become wealthy, assertive and confident; but the country has also alienated and provoked its neighbours and the West. Sustaining these conditions is unlikely due to problems resulting from Russia's internal structural weaknesses and assertive foreign policy. Without change, these problems are likely to worsen. Energy exports – the cornerstone of Russia's resurgence – are set to decline. The end of this boom threatens Russia's domestic stability and ability to tackle other long-term threats as external resistance to Russia hardens.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's conduct in the post-Soviet space in general and its policies toward Central Asia in particular should be seen within the context of Russia's post-imperial readjustment. The notion of the sphere of “privileged interests” currently advanced by the Kremlin is a clear indication that Russia's search for a new modus operandi with its ex-Soviet neighbours is a painful and, essentially, an open-ended process. Moscow views Central Asia as an area of great strategic importance as it presents both considerable opportunities (due to the region's rich energy resources) and serious threats (stemming from the region's inherent instability and its proximity to volatile Afghanistan). Russia's key interests in Central Asia appear to be preservation of the region's stability, strengthening control over the region's energy resources, and balancing other major actors that are increasing their presence in the region – the United States and China. The effectiveness of the Kremlin's policies in Central Asia seems to be constrained by the nature of Russia's current socio-political system whose key features are authoritarianism and rent-seeking. The latter prompts Moscow to act as a conservative rather than reformist force in the region. Russia's goal of maintaining strategic pre-eminence in Central Asia underpinned by Moscow's significantly increased economic and political clout may ultimately not be realized. The odds are that, given the rise of China, Russia may prove to be a weaker competitor. The European Union's strategic interests increasingly compel the bloc to engage the Central Asian nations, particularly in the spheres of energy and security. Eventually, Russia's wariness of China's growing economic and political clout might prompt Moscow to seek deeper cooperation with Brussels in Central Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Robert M. Perito
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti