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  • Author: Gretchen Baldwin, Sarah Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past twenty years, UN peace operations have made progress toward gender equality. Most of their mandates refer to women or gender, and the UN and member states have agreed to numerical targets to increase the percentage of women peacekeepers. Meeting, and exceeding, these targets, however, will require the UN to better understand the barriers and often-unrealistic expectations facing uniformed women. This paper provides an overview of how the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries are trying to integrate uniformed women into missions and how mission mandates interact with the women, peace, and security agenda. It also expounds upon expectations of uniformed women in peacekeeping operations, specifically regarding the protection of civilians, as well as structural barriers, taboos, and stigmas that affect uniformed women’s deployment experiences. It is the first paper published under the International Peace Institute’s Women in Peace Operations project and provides an overview of research that will be conducted through May 2022. The paper concludes with initial findings and guidance for researchers and practitioners. It calls for the UN and member states to consider transformative possibilities for increasing women’s participation that push back against existing assumptions and norms. This requires grounding integration strategies in evidence, transforming missions to improve the experiences of women peacekeepers, and implementing a gendered approach to community engagement and protection.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2019, a far-reaching reform of the UN development system went into effect. This was referred to by the deputy secretary-general as “the most ambitious reform of the United Nations development system in decades.” While this reform has only briefly been in place, questions have already arisen about its implementation and implications. This issue brief aims to contribute to the understanding of this ongoing reform and its significance. It provides a detailed overview of the UN development system reform at the headquarters, regional, and country levels, highlighting why it was undertaken and identifying some of the political and bureaucratic complexities it entails. The report concludes that more than a year into the reform of the UN development system, significant progress has been made, but it is too early to assess the reform’s long-term impact. What is clear, however, is that bringing about change of this scope will require the UN to adapt not only its structure but also its way of working.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nur Sinem Kourou
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Populism is one of the outstanding political phenomena in contemporary world politics for the last decade. This is not only about the election triumph of populist parties in several countries, but also it is about the impact of populism as a political strategy to other movements in different contexts. This paper focuses on the link between populism and gender. For this purpose, this paper aims to put one of the salient debates in the 2010s with the relational perspective to understand the new trends on rising right-wing populism and anti-gender movement at the same time. By so doing, this paper analyzes the common triggers of right-wing populism and anti-gender movements to see what makes them coherent. It is then concluded by asking why this relation is a matter while underlining the vulnerable position of women in populist politics.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics, Women, Populism, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Binhan Oğuz, Godfrey Gordon, Henry H. Cruz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: With subsidence of the Covid-19 pandemic to medically acceptable levels, international coordination of health and safety protocols, once agreed and implemented, will be the critical first step to the next phase to the opening of international tourism, more likely well into 2021, and unlikely to be a robust one, if travel is restricted to any agreed ‘quarantine-free corridors. Then there remains the issue of social (physical) distancing and wearing protective masks at airports and onboard planes, and expectation that at destination countries agreed protocols will be respected. One major challenge to medical tourism for the immediate future is travel by the elderly and other vulnerable individuals, for whom travel restrictions may be more stringent.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Tourism, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today and yesterday, 17-18 June 2020, the UN General Assembly elected India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway to the UN Security Council for the period of 2021-2022. With their election, 7 of the 15 members of the Council in 2021 will be “Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” – having appointed an R2P Focal Point and/or joined the Group of Friends of R2P in New York and Geneva. Despite its role as the UN body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, all too often the Security Council has been unable to take timely action on mass atrocity situations due to deep political divisions inside the Council over human rights, conflict prevention and national sovereignty. In recent years this has had a debilitating effect on the Council’s capacity to respond to atrocities in Myanmar, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. It is therefore more important than ever for Council members to work in creative ways to ensure that the international community is able to take timely, practical action to prevent atrocities and protect vulnerable populations. Since 2005 the Security Council has adopted 84 resolutions and 21 Presidential Statements that refer to the Responsibility to Protect, including with regard to situations in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and eight other country situations, as well as a number of thematic issue areas. As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect, it is our hope that the Security Council will consistently uphold their commitment to taking decisive action to avert emerging crises and halt atrocities wherever they are threatened.
  • Topic: United Nations, Elections, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Kenya, India, Norway, Mexico, Ireland, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: According to the UN Human Rights Council-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM), the treatment of the Rohingya population during the “clearance operations” amounts to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, the commission of which evoke specific obligations and responsibility under international law. In its final report, published in September 2019, the FFM concluded that “the State of Myanmar breached its obligation not to commit genocide” and found that Myanmar “continues to harbor genocidal intent” towards the Rohingya, emphasizing the need for accountability. This fact sheet answers fundamental questions about the ongoing ICJ case, Myanmar’s responsibility for genocide and its impact on the Rohingya population. (Answers to questions about the early stages of the lawsuit are here.)
  • Topic: Security, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), International Court of Justice (ICJ), Rohingya
  • Political Geography: Myanmar, Global Focus, Gambia
  • Author: Leah Goldmann, Elizabeth Dartnall, Anik Gevers, Edgar Karungi, Lori Michau, Janet Nakuti, Sophie Namy
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • Abstract: Prevention of and response to violence against women and girls (VAWG) has become more prioritized at the global level in the past decade, with recognition of the pressing need to create safer environments for women and girls around the world. This is a welcome development, building on years of feminist activism and research in the Global South
  • Topic: Women, Research, Sexual Violence, Collaborative Learning
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Aaron Sayne, Melanie D. Reed
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: The complex, secretive nature of foreign corruption calls for a collaborative, all-hands-on-deck approach. Corrupt actors go to great lengths to hide their wrongdoing, using layers of legal entities, transactions, secrecy jurisdictions and middlemen. No one response can detect and prevent every bad act, and different anticorruption actors have their own unique interests, mandates and abilities. In many cases, they may struggle even to learn the facts of what went wrong. Prosecuting a corruption crime generates reams of valuable information. This can include the names of bribe takers and payers; the industries, countries and public institutions involved; how the proceeds of crime changed hands; and who facilitated or turned a blind eye. Who should get to see this information? Thought leaders on anticorruption, from Transparency International (TI) to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Working Group on Bribery (OECD WGB), have long endorsed greater transparency in foreign corruption cases. They argue, for example, that access to information raises awareness, gives guidance to anticorruption practitioners, encourages cooperation with prosecutors and boosts confidence in law enforcement. Conversely, opacity in corruption cases can weaken the deterrent value of prosecutions, open doors for prosecutorial misconduct and thwart efforts to make victims whole. These concerns are particularly keen in cases that settle via tools like deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) or plea bargains. Many governments share evidence from corruption cases confidentially, through formal legal instruments and close working relationships. But how does public disclosure of facts from corruption cases, whether by courts or other law enforcement bodies, aid the broader fight against corruption? Put differently: At a time when enforcement of anticorruption laws remains low in many countries, could more transparency help anticorruption efforts by regulators, companies, the media, civil society and others? To answer this question, the authors of this briefing analyzed materials from foreign corruption cases that have arisen since the inception of laws banning foreign bribery. During the past four years, they also conducted over two dozen interviews with experts government, the private sector, civil society and the press. From this work, they found instances in which other anticorruption actors used published facts from court cases to do their jobs more effectively. Although they undertook this research as part of the Natural Resource Governance Institute’s (NRGI’s) programming aimed at reducing corruption risks in the oil, gas and mining sectors, they did not limit themselves to cases in the extractive industries. Accordingly, their findings and recommendations apply broadly to corruption in other sectors.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Economy, Accountability
  • 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: David Manley, David Mihalyi, Colin Fleming
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Earlier this year as people around the world responded to the coronavirus pandemic, their demand for oil tumbled. At the same time, OPEC and Russia initially failed to agree to coordinate supply cuts. Consequently, the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell from $60 in December 2019 to $20 in April 2020. As of this publication, the price is $43. If the price stays low, and if oil executives expect the price to remain low, companies may lobby governments to reduce taxes and other costly regulations. Payments to governments are often larger than costs for a company, so there is pressure on governments to reduce taxes to keep projects viable. This briefing considers the following key questions: Where will the oil price go next? What is the impact on currently operating projects, undeveloped projects, and those that are yet to be discovered? How should governments respond in changing oil and gas taxes? Will governments try to “race to the bottom,” but then lose a race back to the top? Key messages: There’s no certainty over future prices. Some rise is likely in the next few years, even if an energy transition results in a structural decline in the oil price in the longer-term. Governments must consider this uncertainty and probable rise when taxing oil and gas. Tax breaks on most currently operating projects are likely a waste of public money. Some governments may be pressured into reducing tax on projects awaiting development. But they must identify which projects would become viable with lower taxes, and which do not need a tax break. If in doubt, governments should consider whether a project that needs a tax incentive really will provide value for the country. For most countries, relative to total oil and gas produced, the production from projects that could be delayed or cancelled is small. But not so for the “new producer” countries like Senegal and Guyana. Changing taxes to make a country more attractive has the most impact before companies have invested – e.g., in attracting investment in licensing rounds. But setting low taxes now could force a government to raise taxes later if prices rise again. If a tax break is unavoidable, governments could use a “sunset clause” to limit the duration of the tax break. Ideally, governments should set progressive tax regimes that respond to changes in profit. But as many taxing authorities struggle to measure profit, governments could set simpler tax regimes based on sales revenue or prices – but must prepare to change tax rates in the future, and be prepared for the repercussion for a government’s credibility with investors. Governments should disclose contract terms detailing tax changes, tax exemptions, incentives and estimated break-even prices of projects to help government auditors, local think tanks, and the public check and support tax policy decisions.
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Tax Systems, Commodities, Coronavirus, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus