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  • Author: Paige Arthur
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As increasing political and budgetary pressures have come to bear on UN peace operations in recent years, more attention has been paid to ensuring that drawdowns are undertaken in a way that sustains the gains of a mission’s presence. This policy briefing highlights a number of missed opportunities and argues for greater collaboration between the UN, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of a mission’s departure to build greater synergies between the country’s political and economic pathways. The brief begins by summarizing the economic challenges related to UN transitions, including diving deeper into the debate on whether or not these transitions create a “financial cliff”—in particular, in relation to official development assistance and foreign direct investment. We then describe three key opportunities for the UN, the Bank, and the IMF to leverage their respective mandates and comparative advantages during mission drawdowns, seizing the moment around transitions to support a country’s pathway to peace in ways that also lessen its economic burdens and supports key reforms. These opportunities include: Generating better alignment and planning between the three institutions in transition moments, with a focus on maintaining and strengthening peacebuilding gains while also seeking to unlock broader economic opportunities; Collaborating across areas of expertise to assess budgetary and resourcing gaps that may prove crippling to a country’s emergence from fragility, if not addressed; Activating levers for additional peacebuilding financing and to support reform, from the UN’s PBC and multi-partner trust funds, to IMF support to improve access to financial markets, to the sensitive use of the World Bank’s new FCV envelopes in IDA19 . The brief is based on desk research as well as interviews with a small number UN, World Bank, and IMF representatives involved in the transition process in Timor-Leste, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia, as well as the expected transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Topic: Politics, United Nations, Reform, Multilateralism, Peace, IMF
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Laura E. Bailey, Nanjala Nyabola
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The global pandemic has laid bare the digital inequities across vertical (income) and horizontal (social, political, and identity) dimensions, while exposing the extent to which pre-pandemic approaches to bridging the digital divide have been dominated by economic considerations even while they are not universally treated as policy priorities. Access to digital is a product of both material investment and political will. Where there is no conscious effort to include marginalized communities into digitalization plans, these communities can be left behind. In countries where identity-based exclusion is routinely built into political behavior, there can be systematic patterns of exclusion of specific groups (e.g., the indigenous First Peoples of North America, the Roma of Europe, or the Somali of northeast Kenya). Many countries around the world have such communities, and any work to digitalize a country must be founded on politically and socially conscious efforts to include groups that may be left behind by historical marginalization. This brief reviews key aspects of the digital divide, with special attention to exclusion and inequality, emphasizing that poor connectivity isn’t just about wealth—it is also about inequality. This paper examines the following: That COVID-19 has shown how poor policymaking in digital access and use deepens the current inequalities in addition to creating new ones, Digital equity through recent thinking, research—and why it matters, and Experience with digital equity initiatives (pre- and post-pandemic). Finally, the authors provide key recommendations for potential digital policies and interventions that can advance equality and inclusion.
  • Topic: Inequality, Digital Culture, COVID-19, Exclusion
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Liv Tørres
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Si vis pacem, cole justitiam” – “If you desire peace, cultivate justice,” is the motto enshrined in the foundations of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) building in Geneva, established in 1919. World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the fear of communism that followed, had convinced world leaders that, “universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice,” as they stated in the 1919 Versailles Treaty. Widespread injustice, inequalities, and exclusion were the enemies of peace. Many would argue they are no less relevant today. Over the past 100 years, “social compacts” and “social dialogue” are frequently referenced all over the world as tools to achieve shared growth and prosperity, better working conditions, higher living standards, and higher productivity. Social dialogue is often seen as a miraculous recipe for sustainable development, decent work, and growth, especially in times of crisis or recovery. This was seen in South Africa, where institutions were established as part of the effort to rebuild after Apartheid. It has also occurred periodically in Latin America when social issues have become contentious. The concept was evoked in the U.S.’ New Deal of the 1930s following the economic “crash,” as well as in crisis-torn Scandinavia in the same decade. Now, social dialogue has emerged again among those who are now planning priorities for next decade in the face of massive challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Liv Tørres considers the following questions in this paper: what actually is social dialogue and what value may it hold for post-pandemic management and recovery?
  • Topic: Inequality, Peace, COVID-19, Injustice, Dialogue
  • Political Geography: South Africa, Africa
  • Author: Céline Monnier, Daniel Mack
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The consequences of violence worldwide are dire. More than half a million people die from violent deaths each year. In 2019, violence cost the global economy $14.5 trillion USD, or $1,909 USD per person. Countries with armed conflicts account for 80 percent of humanitarian spending. Beyond these cold numbers, the human toll of violence results in the suffering of families, trauma-affected communities, and increased fear and hopelessness. Different types of violence—such as crime, violent extremism, and armed conflict—are often interlinked and share risk and resilience factors. Although currently siloed, the UN system has the capacities and knowledge to develop approaches to prevention that cut across interlinked forms of violence. This policy paper makes the argument that the UN can and should adopt a more integrated violence prevention strategy across these three forms of violence. It draws from desk review of UN and academic documents, interviews with UN staff working on different types of violence prevention across the UN system, and a workshop among them. The paper discusses why there is a need for more integrated prevention approaches across different types of violence, what benefits that would bring, and what challenges need to be overcome first. It concludes by making four recommendations: governments should use the SDG 16.1 framework to bring actors together at national level; member states should ask the UN to develop evidence-based guidelines on prevention for countries to implement themselves; the UN should initiate a strategic dialogue at headquarters between fields to better identify commonalities in approaches; and country teams should develop an integrated strategy with specialized sub-strategies.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Security, Peace, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian Goldin
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the extent to which we rely on essential workers. Around the world, health workers have been greeted by clapping, but this has not translated into improvements in their working conditions or pay. On the contrary, as COVID-19 cases and deaths have mounted, so too have the pressures and fatalities among health and other essential workers. A new deal for essential workers is not only the right thing to do on ethical and other grounds. It is in everyone’s self-interest. Without a new deal for essential workers, societies will not be able to respond to the intensifying cycle of crises that arise from an increasingly complex, interconnected, and unstable world. Whether it is a natural disaster, large-scale terrorism, geopolitical hostilities, or another pandemic, it is only a matter of time before society must again face down a crisis of unprecedented scale. To build resilience, we need a well-trained, deeply committed, and full complement of essential workers who will rise to the challenge. A new deal for these workers should be seen as a central tenet of creating more resilient economies, and an investment to reduce risk and future proof our societies. In order to close the widening divide between the rhetoric and reality, author Ian Goldin argues in this policy brief paper that a new deal is required for essential workers and begins by defining essential workers and laying out the key facts around the prevailing socioeconomic background for such workers. It then draws on the experience of mitigating and compensating for risks in other socially necessary but hazardous occupations, such as the military, and uses this to define the contours of what a new deal for essential workers should look like.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Peace, Justice, COVID-19, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a dire risk to the tens of thousands of people imprisoned in Syria’s archipelago of prisons and detention facilities, many in conditions so ghastly that they constitute crimes against humanity. These facilities function as overcrowded torture chambers by design. Thousands have already died in detention due to such circumstances, and those still living are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. If COVID-19 is permitted to take hold, the devastation among the prison population will be swift and fatal. Nor will it stop at the prison walls. What can be done to avert a catastrophe that threatens not only the up to 100,000 who may still be alive in detention, but also the war-weary Syrian population at large? This briefing outlines a two-step approach to averting the looming disaster, calling first and foremost for immediate and large-scale prisoner releases, because no prevention or mitigation efforts will succeed unless the challenges presented by overcrowding are addressed. While releases are underway, the living conditions of those who remain imprisoned must be radically transformed to safeguard health and prevent the pandemic from taking hold.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Knut Gerlach, Robert Kang
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: 2020 is the 75th anniversary year of the United Nations (UN), and it has already shaped up to be a year of unprecedented international shocks and potential for transformation, from COVID-19’s impact to the current mobilization for racial justice in many areas of the world. What does this mean for global trust in international cooperation and multilateral institutions? This briefing by Karina Gerlach and Robert Kang examines recent global polling data, finding a growing demand for international cooperation but diminished trust in international institutions to play a role in the response to COVID-19. It also looks at shifts in member state leadership and perceptions of United States-China rivalry, arguing that middle power alliances and regional networks offer a path forward for international cooperation even in difficult circumstances.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, United Nations, Reform, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Ben Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis is significantly affecting people’s priorities for the future. With economies around the world suffering the impact of the pandemic, the global public wants governments to adopt bold approaches in response—and polls from a range of countries show that large majorities believe their actions have not been strong enough. In this briefing, Leah Zamore and Ben Phillips examine global polling data to show what kinds of policies—including those previously deemed “radical”—are now garnering widespread support. They find that people want governments to act boldly both in responding to the immediate economic crisis and in fundamentally transforming the social contract moving forward. The briefing examines polling on a range of topics, from wide support for redistributive programs and a rejection of austerity policies, to the growing popularity of measures that check corporate power in favor of workers and consumers.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, Economy, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marc Jacquand
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In recent years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the United Nations (UN) have increased their collaboration and strengthened their respective capacities to engage more effectively in fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) contexts. Recent global developments, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, point to the need to accelerate such efforts and deepen collaboration between these three institutions. Everywhere—including in high-income countries—political turbulence and contestation of traditional governance arrangements are increasing the stakes and impact of macroeconomic decisions, and now of pandemic response measures. This extremely challenging global landscape, where risks intersect with increasing virulence, is calling out for greater collaboration between the IMF, the Bank, and the UN, as the three institutions to which many countries that find themselves facing such crises often turn. This briefing by Marc Jacquand makes the case for increased collaboration on four levels: factual, financial, political, and counterfactual. It also lays out the challenges, both internal and external, that impede collaboration. Finally, it makes recommendations for institutional improvements to facilitate more effective joint work in FCV contexts.
  • Topic: United Nations, Governance, Reform, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, IMF, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paige Arthur
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In 2018, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank published a groundbreaking report driven by the conviction that the international community’s attention must urgently be rebalanced from crisis response to prevention. Pathways for Peace offered a joint framework for conflict prevention, and as it has gathered momentum, other international financial institutions (IFIs)—such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)— have re-examined their approach to fragile and conflict-affected countries. Now, with the UN and the IFIs mobilizing in response to the COVID-19, the progress made in recent years will be tested. There is a risk that these opportunities will be overshadowed by the colossal need generated by the pandemic—but the scale and urgency of the crisis is also creating new opportunities for UN-IFI collaboration. This briefing provides an external perspective on the evolution of the UN-IFI relationship over the past three years. The first part of the stocktaking will focus on the UN-World Bank relationship, followed by a brief overview of partnership with the IMF. It is written for a broad audience—across the UN system, the World Bank and other IFIs, UN member states, civil society, and beyond—and aims to build consensus on next steps needed to accelerate implementation of a preventive approach.
  • Topic: United Nations, Fragile States, Multilateralism, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus