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  • Author: Julien Maire, Adnan Mazarei, Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—funds accumulated by a government that are invested in whole or in part abroad to benefit the country in the future—have faced increased public scrutiny over their investment patterns, financial results, and governance. This Policy Brief updates and expands a prototype scoreboard rating the transparency and accountability of SWFs, which Truman established in 2007. This fifth edition of the scoreboard shows that the average scores continued to improve for the 64 SWFs examined, but governance issues remain. New funds have emerged—many of them government holding companies or strategic investment funds—but the growth of assets under management by SWFs has slowed, in some cases partly because of withdrawals to help finance expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising questions about their future role.
  • Topic: Government, Markets, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Governance, Regulation, Capital
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Masooma Rahmaty, Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Youth movements have played an increasingly prominent role in calling for action to address climate change. Many youth-led organizations are also engaged in initiatives to build peace in their communities. In global policymaking fora, however, youth remain sidelined. The sidelining of youth peacebuilders and climate activists can be attributed to four main factors. First, there are widespread misperceptions of youth grounded in age and gender stereotypes. Young men are often seen as perpetrators of violence, while young women are seen as passive victims. These misperceptions can lead policymakers to adopt a securitized approach to youth, peace, and security and overlook the efforts of young peacebuilders. In some cases, the perception that young activists are a threat to national security can also put them at risk. Second, global policy frameworks on youth are outdated and piecemeal. While the UN Security Council has passed three resolutions on youth, peace, and security since 2015, there is no comparable framework for youth and sustainable development or climate action. Moreover, there is no overarching global framework on youth that links the youth, peace, and security and youth climate action agendas. Third, youth organizations and activists are underfunded. Much of the work that young people do is voluntary. While there are some initiatives to direct more funding toward youth-led organizations, funding largely remains ad hoc, and many organizations lack the capacity to meet the onerous application and reporting requirements. Finally, youth have weak institutional links to global governance fora. There are some mechanisms for consulting and involving youth, including the secretary-general’s global envoy on youth, the UN-coordinated Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security, and the Youth Constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, youth have no direct decision-making role in the work of the UN and its member states, and engagement is often ad hoc. To build peace and tackle climate change, governments and multilateral institutions must shift toward inclusive governance systems that involve and empower youth. They must also consider the synergies between youth, climate, and peace.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julien Maire
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In March 2020, most countries implemented stringent measures—closing schools and workplaces, limiting public gatherings, and curbing travel—to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using the Oxford Stringency Index and smartphone data from Google, Maire examines the effects of the stringent measures implemented in March–May 2020 on individual mobility. The results suggest that stringent measures were more effective at reducing individual mobility in higher-income countries than in lower-income countries and that the differences reflect factors such as extreme poverty, perception of risk, the share of vulnerable employment, number of hospital beds, age distribution of the population, and population density. Understanding how the effects of lockdown measures on individual mobility differed across countries is important to determine the effectiveness of such measures on health outcomes and their impact on economic activity.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Governance, 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: David Steven, Maaike de Langen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global emergency. It is not only a health crisis but also a human rights crisis. Justice actors face daunting responsibilities as they design, implement, and enforce new measures to prevent the spread of infection. Measures that heighten the risk of human rights abuses can undermine trust, at a time when the justice system most needs to maintain the public’s confidence. For better or for worse, justice systems and justice workers are on the frontline of this pandemic. This Pathfinders briefing, drafted by lead authors David Steven, Maaike de Langen, Sam Muller, and Mark Weston with the input of more than 50 justice experts from around the globe, discusses the most pressing priorities that the public health emergency poses for justice leaders and proposes seven areas for urgent action as the tide of infections continues to rise. It is the first in the Justice in a Pandemic series.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Rule of Law, Crisis Management, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Guggenheim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This policy briefing examines how governments, multilateral organizations, and international financial institutions can leverage existing and new community-based responses to deal more effectively with the health, social, and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Governments around the world are stretched to their limits trying to cope with not just the health risks of the COVID-19 virus, but also the economic fallout as people lose their jobs and entire sections of the economy close down. In this policy briefing, Pathfinders adviser Scott Guggenheim argues that governments must harness an underutilized but highly effective tool—traditional community solidarity and volunteerism.
  • Topic: Governance, Food Security, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conducted their first virtual Spring Meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This briefing summarizes the discussions, which focused on the economic impact of the pandemic, and provides key takeaways on topics such as debt relief, financing for COVID-19 response, multilateral partnerships, and efforts to support global supply chains. In this readout of the 2020 Spring Meetings, CIC director Sarah Cliffe details the historic—but ring-fenced—debt moratorium and accelerated financing deal that were reached, as well as efforts to inject more global financing through an exceptional issue of IMF Special Drawing Rights. The briefing also covers partnerships between the United Nations and the international financial institutions, including a call for collaboration on global supply chains for medical equipment, agricultural inputs, and other goods and services.
  • Topic: Governance, Finance, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, IMF, COVID-19, Supply
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Heller, Ethan Elkind, Ted Lamm
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: The global transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) will require the production of hundreds of millions of batteries. The need for such a massive deployment raises questions from the general public and critics alike about the sustainability of the battery supply chain, from mining impacts to vehicle carbon emissions. Growing demand for the mineral inputs for battery production can provide an opportunity for mineral-rich countries to generate fiscal revenues and other economic opportunities. But where extraction takes place in countries with weak governance, the benefits expected by citizens and leaders may not materialize; in some cases extraction might even exacerbate corruption, human rights abuses and environmental risks. Many EV proponents and suppliers are aware that supply chain governance problems pose a challenge to the evolution of the EV industry, but outstanding questions remain about how these challenges materialize. This brief, jointly published by UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) provides basic information on the EV battery supply chain and key battery minerals, such as cobalt and lithium, and addresses the following questions: What does the supply chain for EV batteries comprise? How do carbon emissions from EVs compare to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles? What are the most significant challenges in managing the mineral extraction necessary for the EV supply chain, and what sustainability and human rights initiatives apply?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Government, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Governance, Regulation, Legislation, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Baran Alp Uncu
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Today, we are living in a world that is on average about 1 degree warmer than the pre-industrial period. If we do not limit this human-caused temperature rise to around 1.5 degrees until the end of the century, various disasters we are already experiencing such as the rise in sea levels, melting of ice sheets and glaciers, extreme weather events, floods and inundations, drought and water scarcity will increase in intensity and scope and furthermore assume an irreversible condition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Social Movement, Crisis Management, Urban, Justice, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ilgın Özkaya Özlüer
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Rather than recommending “new” means to be established for the first time in terms of Turkish legislation, “The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters” (“The Aarhus Convention”, in short) will ensure that already existing procedural means that implement rights such as the right to information, the right of participation and the right to environment are compatible with international networks. In this sense, the Aarhus Convention is the body of “procedural means” that is clearing the path to establishing a participatory public administration that can transform the aforementioned rights into effective tools for their beneficiaries, to assist in the creation of an egalitarian, transparent and effective administration and a new public order facilitating the social integration of disadvantaged groups like the elderly, the youth, women, children and immigrants.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Environment, Governance, Legislation, Accountability, Urban, Transparency, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The toolbox of international migration governance has few instruments for dealing with the migration-related challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most international agreements on migration are designed to aid people on the move and to assist states in dealing with this movement, voluntary or forced. Yet the pandemic is a disaster characterized more by immobility than movement. While some migrants have been sent back to their origin countries or compelled to return due to job losses, many others have been stranded in destination countries by border closures and travel restrictions, and some would-be migrants have been unable to move abroad as intended. The most recent addition to the migration governance toolbox—the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration—does, however, offer states useful guidance. As this policy brief discusses, the objectives outlined in the compact include some that have gained added, real-time urgency during the pandemic and others that will be essential as states work to restart international migration safely. This brief also considers how the pandemic and its economic fallout have affected the relationship between migration and development, including in terms of its impacts on migrant workers and remittances. With remittances predicted to drop by at least 20 percent globally in 2020 compared to 2019, the effects on remittance-dependent countries will be particularly severe. This may spread the pandemic-induced economic pain even to places that have been relatively less affected by the virus itself. Looking ahead, this brief considers how greater cooperation between states and with multilateral agencies, civil-society organizations, the private sector, and philanthropies can assist in the immediate pandemic response, as well as in efforts to rebuild lost livelihoods and, eventually, reopen legal migration channels.
  • Topic: Migration, Governance, Employment, COVID-19, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lena Kainz, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The world has changed dramatically since the international community came together in December 2018 to adopt the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Two years on, national governments and UN agencies are working to implement the compacts in an environment of new and intensifying challenges, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. Given the significant political energy invested in the compacts, there is immense pressure to turn the commitments made on paper into reality, challenges or not. And while the migration landscape continues to change, the movement of people across borders remains at the heart of many pressing issues, including public health, economic recovery, and social inequality. This policy brief examines how implementation of the two compacts has played out thus far, highlighting areas in which the pacts have lived up to or fallen short of expectations. It also identifies sticking points and opportunities at the intersection of the compacts that merit greater attention. To do so, the brief draws on interviews with government officials and UN agency representatives in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, as well as an in-depth review of countries’ implementation plans and progress updates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, Governance, Immigrants, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean-Jacques Hallaert
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: China’s rise and the U.S. response to the perceived threat it represents to its predominance jeopardize the world order and affect international institutions. The paralysis of the WTO and the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO are the most visible examples, but not the only ones. This article presents the case of the International Monetary Fund. Quotas are the cornerstone of IMF governance. They determine each member’s contribution to the institution’s resources and their voting power. As the world evolves, the quota distribution needs to be adjusted. Adjustments in quota shares and thus voting powers have always been politically difficult. However, they were possible. In the early 1990s, members agreed to an increase in the representation of Japan. In the 2000s, they agreed to increase substantially the voting power of emerging economies. In contrast, the 15th General Review of Quotas concluded early 2020, failed to increase and realign quotas. The proximate cause for this was the opposition of the United States to a change in quotas. This paper argues that the U.S. decision was in large part motivated to prevent an increased influence of China. The failure to increase and realign voting powers may have long-lasting consequences. In the absence of a quota increase, the IMF will need to continue to rely on borrowed resources to avoid a drop in its lending capacity. This extension of the “temporary” recourse to borrowed resources undermines the governance of the Fund as voting powers (which are not linked to borrowed resources but only to quotas) are disconnected from member’s total contributions to the Fund and to their economic weight. This may trigger a new legitimacy crisis and provide incentives for countries like China to support the development of new and competing institutions which would better represent their interests and economic weight. Such a development would undermine the complex and fragile international financial architecture.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, Governance, IMF, WTO
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Global Focus