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  • Author: Valeriya Mechkova, Anna Lührmann, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Establishing accountable governments is a top priority on the international development agenda. Yet, scholars and democracy practitioners know little about how accountability mechanisms develop and thus can be supported by international and national actors. The present study tackles the questions of how, and in what sequence accountability sub-types develop. We consider not only vertical (elections and political parties) and horizontal accountability (legislature, judiciary and other oversight bodies), but also diagonal accountability (civil society and media) in both their de-jure and the de-facto dimensions. By utilizing novel sequencing methods, we study their sequential relationships in 173 countries from 1900 to the present with data from the new V-Dem dataset. Considering the long-term dimensions of institution building, this study indicates that most aspects of de-facto vertical accountability precede other forms of accountability. Effective institutions of horizontal accountability – such as vigorous parliaments and independent high courts – evolve rather late in the sequence and build on progress in many other areas.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Abstract It appears from his decision to replace Abdelilah Benkirane with Saadeddine Othmani as head of the government that Moroccan King Mohammed VI does not want to deviate from the requirements of the constitution and democratic methods. He is attempting to use his constitutional powers to find an acceptable solution to end the stalemate and form a government. Othmani has succeeded in reaching a tentative agreement to form the government and is likely to succeed in its formation and leadership. However, he will head a heterogeneous government afflicted by many contradictions, which may implode if it falls under excessive pressure. The government would then be in crisis, which it would have to overcome with a cabinet reshuffle to avoid a complete collapse, especially given the strong position of the king who wants the Justice and Development Party to continue leading the government in future.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Aaron Connely
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In April 2016, the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop on Southeast Asian perspectives on U.S.–China competition, which informed this publication. That workshop was made possible in part by the generous support of the Robina Foundation. This report is a collaboration between the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this report are entirely the authors' own and not those of the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Robina Foundation.
  • Topic: Governance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In 2012, when Bashar al-Assad’s regime withdrew most of its security forces from the Jazira in northeastern Syria, it ceded local power to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing. The PYD replicated past regime behavior, focusing on maintaining a secure hold of this strategic geographical area at the expense of effective governance. This approach has hindered the prospect of building a self-sustained administration. At the same time, outside actors such as Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, and the United States have inadvertently reinforced the PYD’s security-focused rule while pursuing their own security concerns. Exploring potential avenues to peace and stable governance in Syria requires carefully identifying the interrelated nature of these various actors’ security concerns in the Jazira.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egypt’s new authoritarian regime is rapidly closing the public space—cracking down on autonomous civil society and independent political parties, asphyxiating the practice of pluralist politics, and thwarting citizens’ peaceful and active engagement in public affairs. The government’s primary strategy is to institute wide-scale repression through lawmaking and justify its behavior through conspiratorial and populist narratives. With unprecedented resolve, it has passed new protest and terrorism laws, introduced legal amendments targeting nongovernmental organizations, and extended the military court’s jurisdiction. Essentially, the regime is adapting lawmaking for its own purposes. To fight against the tide, those challenging the system need to fully understand how.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Mohammad Tariq
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper concludes a series on governance and human rights action in North Africa. Written by Mohammad Tariq, it presents a preliminary analysis of the issues of governance in human rights organizations in Morocco. Such a research faces methodological and practical impediments stemming from the scarcity of information on funding flows and other governance issues.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Hafedh Chekir
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: ARI's project on the Future of Human Rights Action in North Africa continues to explore the governance challenges and moves in this paper to Tunisia where prominent feminist, academic and human rights defender Hafidha Chekir explores the legal environment of civil society organizations in Tunisia and how this affected their own internal governance.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Yara Shahin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper explores the state of internal governance in Egyptian human rights NGOs. It looks at their internal structures including; decision-making processes, the existence and role of governing boards, relationships with donors, levels of accountability and representation of constituencies along with the relationship with the government within a restrictive legal and political environment. It argues that while the restrictive environment for civil society in Egypt has hindered the development of stronger internal governance mechanisms in many organizations, the internal dynamics of these organizations have also contributed to the weak internal governance structures in most of them. The dilemmas that persisted through different generations and phases of Egyptian human rights organizations include balancing activism on public issues with bureaucratization and professionalization of vehicle organizations, the difficulty for and resistance from founders/directors to leave their influential posts, developing better participatory mechanisms of accountability towards the NGOs constituencies and addressing the “stigma” of foreign funding
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper explores China’s perspectives and practices in its quest for overseas energy supply security and its participation in international energy cooperation since becoming a net oil import country in 1993. It compares the traditional approach, in which China mainly focuses on bilateral means to pursue its overseas energy supply security, and the new concept of energy security, in which greater involvement in global energy governance, in particular in the Group of Twenty (G20), is highlighted to promote China’s energy security. The paper argues that China still retains a bilateral and regional cooperation approach, while making progress in developing closer cooperation with existing major global energy governing institutions. The One Belt, One Road strategy proposed in 2013 is regarded as a strengthened version of the bilateral and regional cooperation approach. Chinese academic circles constitute the main forces advocating China’s more positive participation in global energy governance. The G20 provides significant institutional arrangements to coordinate big powers to govern the international energy markets and to address climate change. This paper suggests that, given China’s growing prominence at the G20, it could be the proper platform for the country to play a more active role in global energy governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Governance, G20
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Internet enables the free flow of information on an unprecedented scale but to an increasing extent the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, such as privacy and the mediation of free expression, is being left in the hands of private actors. The popularity of a few web platforms across the globe confers on the providers both great power and heavy responsibilities. Free-to-use web platforms are founded on the sale of user data, and the standard terms give providers rights to intrude on every aspect of a user’s online life, while giving users the Hobson’s choice of either agreeing to those terms or not using the platform (the illusion of consent). Meanwhile, the same companies are steadily assuming responsibility for monitoring and censoring harmful content, either as a self-regulatory response to prevent conflicts with national regulatory environments, or to address inaction by states, which bear primary duty for upholding human rights. There is an underlying tension for those companies between self-regulation, on the one hand, and being held accountable for rights violations by states, on the other hand. The incongruity of this position might explain the secrecy surrounding the human systems that companies have developed to monitor content (the illusion of automation). Psychological experiments and opaque algorithms for defining what search results or friends’ updates users see highlight the power of today’s providers over their publics (the illusion of neutrality). Solutions could include provision of paid alternatives, more sophisticated definition and handling of different types of data — public, private, ephemeral, lasting — and the cooperation of all stakeholders in arriving at realistic and robust processes for content moderation that comply with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard E. Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Central Asia is strategically important to the West because of its neighbors, but not immediately, because it is not a “hot spot” on the world stage. Western governments are ambivalent about the region because of its poor record on human rights and governance. It presents the classic choice: ideology or realpolitik. But Western policy in Central Asia does not have to be one or the other — it can be both. Western nations can engage strongly to support humanist values in Central Asia through quiet and appropriate behind-the-scenes work with government officials who understand and have similar concerns — and they most certainly do exist and can produce results. Western governments need to engage in Central Asia precisely to ensure that it does not become a hot spot and instead becomes, over time, ever more firmly embedded in the community of responsible nations. Strategic engagement by the West is essential, and it will pay off.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Eric G. Berman, Kerry Maze
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) provides an increasingly critical framework for governments and civil society. Armed groups continue to illegally access and use illegal weapons to mount mass attacks on civilians and terrorize cities and communities, commit human rights violations and banditry, and incite and prolong armed conflicts. Some 60 million people are displaced due to war and insecurity (UNHCR, 2016). Armed attacks and kidnappings directed at humanitarian workers are at record highs. Armed groups are increasingly disregarding international humanitarian law and, as a result, are blocking much needed assistance to populations at risk.1 The vast majority of deaths from armed violence do not occur in conflict settings, however. Of the more than 500,000 lives that are lost annually to armed violence, in some countries small arms––many of them illicit––are used in more than three out of four homicides (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2015).
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, Governance, Weapons , UNDP
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aleksandra Maatsch
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how the intergovernmental reform process of European economic governance affected national parliaments’ oversight of this policy area. Which parliaments became disempowered and which managed to secure their formal powers – and why? The dependent variable of the study is operationalized as the presence or absence of “emergency legislation” allowing governments to accelerate the legislative process and minimize the risk of a default by constraining national parliaments’ powers. The paper examines how national parliaments in all eurozone states were involved in approving the following measures: the EFSF (establishment and increase of budgetary capacity), the ESM, and the Fiscal Compact. The findings demonstrate that whereas northern European parliaments’ powers were secured (or in some cases even fostered), southern European parliaments were disempowered due to the following factors: (i) domestic constitutional set-up permitting emergency legislation, (ii) national supreme or constitutional courts’ consent to extensive application of emergency legislation, and (iii) international economic and political pressure on governments to prevent default of the legislative process. Due to significant power asymmetries, national parliaments remained de jure but not de facto equal in the exercise of their control powers at the EU level. As a consequence, both the disempowerment of particular parliaments and the asymmetry of powers among them has had a negative effect on the legitimacy of European economic governance.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Law, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: S. Fitzgerald Haney
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The United States’ strong partnership with Costa Rica has deep roots: our countries established diplomatic relations in 1851, when Costa Rican Minister Felipe Molina presented his credentials in Washington, and a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation was finalized the following year. This early cooperation provided a strong foundation for a bilateral relationship that has only gained depth and breadth, and which continues to grow, evolve, and reveal new sources of strength. Today, the United States is Costa Rica’s largest trading partner and greatest source of foreign investment. Costa Rica’s stability, natural beauty, and proximity to the United States make it a favorite destination for US citizens—tourists, investors, and residents alike—further deepening the connections between our countries. Our shared values, long history of close cultural and commercial ties, and growing cooperation on regional initiatives make Costa Rica a valued strategic partner as the United States promotes prosperity, good governance, and security—the three pillars of the US Strategy for Engagement in Central America (the Strategy)—throughout the region.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Costa Rica, United States of America
  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality.
  • Topic: Security, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Andrei Gheorghiță
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: In the contemporary political environment, the added value brought by leaders to the electoral performance of the parties appears to be significant and growing. However, the impact of leader evaluations on the vote choice is likely to vary from one voter to another. This article explores the influence of voter characteristics on the magnitude of leader effects in the context of the 2012 legislative elections in Romania. Five such characteristics are considered: objective political knowledge, subjective political information, party identification, political engagement, and time of voting decision. For this purpose, the paper employs data from the 2012 Romanian Election Studies (RES) three-wave panel survey. The analyses prove a significant influence of political knowledge and party identification and negligible effects of the other three voter characteristics considered. Thus, political knowledge appears to stimulate the manifestation of leader effects. Similarly, voters holding partisan ties appear to experience higher levels of personalization. The implications of these findings are discussed extensively.
  • Topic: Security, Human Welfare, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Romania
  • Author: Donald Kerwin, Robert Warren
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The Obama administration has developed two broad programs to defer immigration enforcement actions against undocumented persons living in the United States: (1) Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); and (2) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program, which began in August 2012, was expanded on November 20, 2014. DAPA and the DACA expansion (hereinafter referred to as “DACA-plus”) are currently under review by the US Supreme Court and subject to an active injunction. This paper offers a statistical portrait of the intended direct beneficiaries of DAPA, DACA, and DACA-plus. It finds that potential DAPA, DACA, and DACA-plus recipients are deeply embedded in US society, with high employment rates, extensive US family ties, long tenure, and substantial rates of English-language proficiency. The paper also notes various groups that would benefit indirectly from the full implementation of DAPA and DACA or, conversely, would suffer from the removal of potential beneficiaries of these programs. For example, all those who would rely on the retirement programs of the US government will benefit from the high employment rates and relative youth of the DACA population, while many US citizens who rely on the income of a DAPA-eligible parent would fall into poverty or extreme poverty should that parent be removed from the United States.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty, Labor Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: David S. Mitchell, Jeremy Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor (DOL) published two important legal opinions that propose to give states new options for expanding retirement coverage for private-sector workers. These opinions open the door for states to move forward along one of two distinct paths: a payroll deduction plan that avoids ERISA, or a more traditional model that would fall under ERISA. This issue brief summarizes these rules and highlights the tradeoffs state policymakers will face when deciding which of these new avenues to pursue. The brief will be updated once the proposals are finalized.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jason Thistlewaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes that employ a range of different standards to measure climate change risks and corporate sustainability, this task will be challenging. But the diversity of schemes also represents an opportunity to assess which practices are effective at improving corporate accountability for sustainability performance, as well as efficient at producing comparable reports that do not unfairly burden reporting organizations. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the FSB and its Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Governance, G20, Regulation, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Piotr Kościński
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At a time when many European countries are strengthening border protection (including building walls), migrants will seek new avenues to Europe. In this context and of particular importance will be the policy of the authorities of Ukraine, which currently, and despite the still unstable situation in the country (war in the east and economic problems) could become the country of choice for migrants. Another problem for Kyiv may be internal migration. Both forms increase the risk of migration to EU countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which are neighbours of Ukraine. In this situation, additional EU assistance to the authorities in Kyiv will be necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine