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  • Author: Peter R. Orszag, Robert E. Rubin, Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Orszag, Rubin, and Stiglitz outline a new fiscal framework that they argue would better equip policymakers to face deep uncertainties about future interest rates (which, they say, may not remain low forever), hard-to-predict global shocks, and climate risks. They reject fiscal anchors—simple limits on deficits or debt as a share of GDP that governments adopt to check their spending and borrowing—that have historically guided fiscal policy and believe any attempts to modify such targets for the current period of low interest rates are likely to fail. Instead they propose making the budget respond more automatically to economic distress (through stronger automatic stabilizers) and to long-term fiscal pressures (e.g., embedding adjustment mechanisms in health care and pension programs), as well as creating an infrastructure program and extending debt maturities to insure against interest rate changes. Such a "streamlined dashboard" would then allow policymakers to use discretion as necessary to take any additional actions—either to provide more stimulus during short-term difficulties or to adjust the automatic features themselves—rather than adhering to fiscal targets that may no longer be appropriate when economic conditions change.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Economy, Fiscal Policy, Fiscal Deficit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Olivier Blanchard, Josh Felman, Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Anew consensus on fiscal policy has emerged in advanced economies, that stimulus is both needed and feasible. At first blush, the scope for stimulus seems even greater in emerging markets, since their primary deficits are smaller and interest-growth differentials more favorable, suggesting that they can sustain much higher levels of debt. But more careful analysis suggests that this is not the case. The authors point out that what matters for debt sustainability are not current conditions but rather the range of possible future outcomes. And prospects for interest rates and growth are more uncertain in emerging markets, while primary balances are more difficult to adjust. As a result, debt limits are in fact tighter than advanced economies. Taking India as a case study, the authors argue that what is needed in the current situation is responsible, slow fiscal adjustment. More generally, one should be careful about importing wholesale the new fiscal consensus into emerging markets.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, Consensus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simeon Djankov, Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, Lisa Hyland, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite many significant gains by women in the paid workforce in recent decades, the percentage of women participating in the labor force has remained lower than the percentage of male participants. Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn it precipitated, the gap in labor force participation between men and women in some economies has actually widened, with potentially damaging repercussions for women’s career prospects and pay. The pandemic has disproportionately affected sectors employing more women, such as retail stores, restaurants, and the hotel and hospitality business. An increase in family caregiving responsibilities because of school and childcare closures has also fallen on working mothers' shoulders. Both factors have pulled women out of the labor force. The authors track trends in male and female labor force participation in 43 countries and find substantial differences across countries in the way women’s participation has been affected relative to that of men. In some countries, such as Colombia, Chile, and Cyprus, the gender gap in labor force participation widened the most during the pandemic. The gender gap also widened in the United States, driving 2.5 million women from their jobs in what Vice President Kamala Harris called a “national emergency” for women. In other economies, such as Luxembourg and Lithuania, the gender gap in labor force participation, unexpectedly, shrank during the early period of the pandemic. On average, female employees have fared better in countries where women are less concentrated in the services sector, less likely to be employed as temporary workers, and where laws supported greater equality at the onset of the crisis. Greater government expenditure on childcare in the pre-COVID-19 era, however, does not appear to have insulated female workers from the damaging repercussions of the pandemic.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Services, COVID-19, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Cyprus, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan, Thomas N. Hale
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Climate change is the defining global challenge of the twenty-first century. It constitutes a direct threat to the safety and prosperity of Americans. U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to reorienting U.S. foreign policy to meet the climate challenge. This report provides an early assessment of the Biden administration’s international climate diplomacy against these goals in the first 100 days, recognizing that others have focused on domestic policy, and that climate change must be at the top of the U.S. foreign-policy agenda. It builds on a previous report by the Brown University Climate Solutions Lab, issued on October 8, 2020, that identified and recommended ten executive climate actions, which are central to advancing U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Of the 9 internationally-oriented climate pledges evaluated, made by the Biden campaign during the 2020 presidential election, the report finds that the Biden team has already delivered effectively on 4 of them, made some progress on 2, and taken baby steps or made no real progress on 3. These will require further attention and resources in the coming months.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Jana Wattenberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: I n recent years, gender has come up in arms control and disarmament deliberations. Ireland, for example, submitted working papers on gender to preparatory committee meetings of the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT) Review Conferences. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) emphasizes that nuclear weapons use affects men and women differently and calls for equal representation in disarmament negotiations. However, such references to gender are so far the exception rather than the rule in arms control and disarmament talks. We argue that a systematic inclusion of gender perspectives advances arms control and disarmament deliberations and negotiations in four main ways. First, a gender lens calls attention to the human and gendered consequences of the development and use of weapons. Second, it exposes arms control and disarmament agreements that lack gender provisions. Third, a gender lens highlights the absence of diversity in arms control and disarmament communities.3 Fourth, gender perspectives help reveal hierarchical power structures and encourage critical reflections on the legitimacy of established processes and agreements. In sum, the inclusion of a gender perspective produces more humane, effective, legitimate and sustainable agreements.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Gender Issues, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Women, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Johan Norberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that self-sufficiency or less economic openness is a dangerous direction of policy. It would make Europe less resilient and less capable of responding to the next emergency. It is key that people, firms and governments can get supplies from other parts of the world. It is diversification, not concentration of production, that will make Europe more resilient when the next emergency hit. We don’t know where the next crisis will come from. Nature will throw nasty surprises at us, and we will make stupid mistakes, some of which will have devastating consequences. What we do know, though, is that we stand a better chance to fight the next emergency if we get richer and improve our technology. The best policy for resilience is one that encourages specialisation and innovation – and, when the emergency hit, allow for people to improvise in search for solutions. For that to happen, we need openness to goods, services and technology from abroad.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Innovation, Economic Cooperation, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: David Henig
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years global value chains have come to dominate global trade in a way surprisingly little discussed or understood. To meet the policy challenges of today and the future we need to understand the key characteristics of this new global trade and how they came about. The OECD estimate around 70% of total trade takes place in global value chains. Using their definition as where “the different stages of the production process are located across different countries”, and considering both goods and services inputs, this may be an understatement. The example most commonly used is the automotive sector, with 30,000 parts and associated services like satellite navigation going into one car. However there are many others. Modern primary commodity production is optimised by technology developed in other countries, diverse services and goods are frequently combined to create new product offerings, and most international business to consumer transactions are facilitated by leading global platforms. Positively this new globalization has provided consumers with an unprecedented choice of products at affordable prices. More challengingly it has seen governments struggle with the question of how they can best influence modern trade, amid signs of a backlash and simple demands for ‘more domestic manufacturing’. The popular global narrative that feeds such demands is one that has a traditional view of trade as a set of simple primary or manufactured goods transactions. Policymakers must move on from this narrative, making their choices, and explaining them clearly, on the basis of global value chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julia Masterson
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: In recent years, the global norm against chemical weapons use has eroded, and it is critical that responsible states take action to reinforce it. Systematic violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the malign use of chemical agents have continued for nearly a decade without adequate accountability. These incidents risk growing in severity and becoming more widespread for as long as the issue remains unaddressed. Reinforcing the norm against chemical weapons use necessitates a unified global effort to utilize all CWC provisions and to strengthen the consequences that violators face under the treaty and in accordance with international law.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Law, Weapons , Norms, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Daryl G. Kimball, Kingston Reif
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: Upon taking office, the new presidential administration of Joseph Biden will confront a dizzying array of major challenges, not the least of which are related to the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are rising; the risk of nuclear use is growing; billions of dollars are being spent to replace and upgrade nuclear weapons; and key agreements that have kept nuclear competition in check are gone or are in serious jeopardy. The situation has been complicated by the neglect and poor policy choices of President Donald Trump and his administration. Over the past four years the Trump administration made nearly every nuclear policy challenge facing the United States worse. Fortunately, Biden has a long and distinguished track record when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons-related security issues. Unlike his predecessor, Biden possesses a strong personal commitment to effective nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament that dates back to his early days in the Senate and continued through his last days as vice-president under President Barack Obama. In this analysis we have outlined what we believe to be the five most important sets of nuclear weapons policy challenges and decisions that the new Biden administration will need to address in its first 100 days and beyond, along with recommendations for effectively dealing with each of these policy challenges: Reviving and Advancing the Nuclear Arms Control Enterprise Reducing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Excess Stabilizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Jump-starting Denuclearization and Peace Diplomacy with North Korea Restoring U.S. Leadership on Multilateral Nonproliferation and Disarmament If pursued, these actions and decisions would make the United States and the world safer from the threats posed by nuclear weapons. These initial steps would also put the administration in a better position to pursue more lasting and far-reaching nuclear risk reduction and elimination initiatives over the next four years.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Peace, Denuclearization, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Antonio Missiroli, Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan and quickly spread across the globe, will have a lasting impact on worldwide economic, political and strategic developments. Some observers question whether the different approaches by nations to the pandemic may benefit or hinder global economic competition. Others worry that some states may exploit the pandemic as a pretext to curtail individual freedoms. Still others note the emergence of an outright "battle of narratives" on the origins of the virus and the correct approach to bringing it under control, adding fuel to an already lingering "systemic" contest.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Thanks to their higher speed, larger data volume, lower latency, and capacity to sustain very high density connections (including machine-to-machine communications), 5G networks are set to unleash a major economic revolution, potentially adding trillions of dollars to the global economy (at least according to recent forecasts). From smart cities to Artificial Intelligence (AI); telemedicine to driverless cars; virtual reality to the Internet of Things (IoT); Industry 4.0 to all manner of applications that will comprise this new ecosystem, 5G ushers in enormous opportunities. 5G communications still require significant investments, both for research and development of key technologies, and for building the supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the next generation of telecommunications raises several important questions about the political economy of spectrum allocation and standard definition, their military applications, the role of Chinese companies and the attendant cybersecurity risks. These are all relevant topics for NATO from which the Alliance can draw some strategic lessons.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Strategy, Data, 5G, Internet of Things
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Ion A. Iftimie
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, cyberspace was recognized as an operational domain in which NATO military forces must be able to maneuver as effectively as they do on land, at sea and in the air. Since then, Allies have conducted several successful offensive cyber operations against non-state adversaries, such as Daesh. Due to technological transformations in recent years, cyber is no longer viewed by NATO and its member states only as a hybrid threat, but also as a weapon in its own right and as a force multiplier in current military operations. Over the next two decades, NATO will look for new ways to integrate cyber weapons (or offensive cyber capabilities) into its operations and missions.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Non State Actors, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Environmental change is increasingly recognized as one of the major factors that will shape the global security environment. According to most experts, rising global temperatures will lead to rising sea levels and cause more extreme weather events, such as storms, flooding, droughts and wildfires. The firestorms that engulfed parts of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, burning an area the size of Belgium and Denmark combined, and severely decimating that continent's wildlife, were a stark reminder of the force of these changes.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Louise Riis Andersen, Richard Gowan
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: UN peacekeeping is in need of change. Missions struggle to fulfil ambitious mandates in hostile environments. To improve performance and regain global trust, the UN needs tangible support and engagement from its member states, including smaller states with specialized military capabilities. RECOMMENDATIONS Smaller member states can contribute to UN peacekeeping operations by: ■ offering critical enablers (intelligence expertise, tactical air transport, medical services) and working with larger troop contributors to enhance their capacity in these areas. ■ developing guidance materials, technological tools and additional training for troop contributors, e.g. on medical support, prevention of sexual abuse and data analysis. ■ if aid donors, triangulate with the UN and the World Bank to identify projects to sustain security in countries where UN forces are drawing down.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark, Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has had an immediate impact on UN peace operations. Troop rotations have been frozen, and interactions with local populations minimized. Yet the long-term economic and political consequences for peacekeeping look more severe. Recommendations UN leaders and member states should: ■ Sustain and where necessary boost funding for UN operations and other international actors to support host states’ efforts to manage the consequences of COVID-19. ■ Commit to maintaining current levels of UN deployments throughout 2020 and to ensuring that deployed personnel are not carrying COVID-19 in order to reduce uncertainty over the future of missions. ■ Offer specialists in public health management and related fields to strengthen planning within missions at UN headquarters and thus help manage the crisis.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, UN Security Council, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Shock mobilities are sudden human movements made in response to acute disruptions, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike planned migration, shock mobility encompasses various degrees of forced migration or can be categorized as reactive migration caused by a crisis situation. Forced migration often starts with shock mobility, but shock mobility does not always lead to protracted forced migration. FUTURE IMPLICATIONS ■ Shock mobilities may affect broader socioeconomic relations in the future. Five manifestations of shock mobilities as ‘link moments’ provide clues as to how. ■ How shock mobilities will be received and internalized in the years ahead is uncertain. They could yield significant impacts on state-citizen relations, as well as on relations between different populations. ■ The ‘shocks’ give us a glimpse into the world we are entering. Tomorrow’s normality will grow out of today’s disruption. Therefore, a better understanding of ongoing shock mobilities will help us analyse potential problems for decades to come.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Fragile States, Conflict, Risk, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Soyoung Han, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Summer Olympic Games are the most globalized sporting event on earth. Until now, the Summer Games had been postponed only three times—in 1916, 1940, and 1944—all because of world wars. So, the announcement that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Games would be postponed by a year is significant, implicit testimony to the destructiveness of the pandemic. The Tokyo Games were expected to continue the evolution of the Games away from the aristocratic European milieu where the modern Olympic movement began. As poverty has declined and incomes across the global economy have converged, participation in the Games has broadened and the pattern of medaling has become more pluralistic, particularly in sports with low barriers to entry in terms of facilities and equipment. This Policy Brief presents forecasts of medal counts at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games had they had gone on as scheduled, setting aside possible complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The forecasts are not just a depiction of what might have been. They establish a benchmark that can be used when the Games are eventually held, to examine the impact of the uneven incidence of the pandemic globally.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Sports, Olympics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Soyoung Han, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite steady progress, women remain grossly underrepresented in corporate leadership worldwide. The share of women executive officers and board members increased between 1997 and 2017, but progress was not uniform. Partly in response to gender quotas, the shares of female board members have risen rapidly in some countries while lagging elsewhere. This Policy Brief reports results derived from the financial records of about 62,000 publicly listed firms in 58 economies over 1997–2017, which together account for more than 92 percent of global GDP. The authors conclude that if, as emerging evidence in the literature indicates, gender diversity contributes to superior firm performance, then progress in this area could help boost productivity globally. Policymakers and corporate leaders should consider supportive public and private policies, including more gender-neutral tracking in education, firm protocols that encourage gender balance in hiring and promotion, enforceable antidiscrimination laws, public support for readily available and affordable high-quality childcare and maternity and paternity leave, and quotas.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Economic Inequality, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Lawrence H. Summers
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With interest rates persistently low or even negative in advanced countries, policymakers have barely any room to ease monetary policy when the next recession hits. Fiscal policy will have to play a major and likely dominant role in stimulating the economy, requiring policymakers to fundamentally reconsider fiscal policy. Blanchard and Summers argue for the introduction of what they call “semiautomatic” stabilizers. Unlike purely automatic stabilizers (mechanisms built into government budgets that automatically—without discretionary government action or explicit triggers—increase spending or decrease taxes when the economy slows or enters a recession), semiautomatic stabilizers are targeted tax or spending measures that are triggered if, say, the output growth rate declines or the unemployment rate increases beyond a specified threshold. The authors argue that the trigger should be changes in unemployment rather than changes in output, and the design of semiautomatic stabilizers, whether they focus on mechanisms that rely primarily on income or on intertemporal substitution effects (changing the timing of consumption), depends crucially on the design of discretionary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Monetary Policy, Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew Fisher, Adnan Mazarei
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adapts its strategy to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, it should develop a new temporary lending instrument to assist emerging-market countries facing pandemic-related fiscal and balance of payments difficulties. A dedicated IMF Pandemic Support Facility would help meet the exceptional financing needs of emerging-market countries at a time of high uncertainty while providing more lenient repayment periods and also allow the Fund to be more flexible in its operations with minimum disruptions to its existing facilities.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented global recession have triggered fears of a debt crisis requiring massive intervention by international financial institutions as well as debt restructuring by private and official creditors. Truman draws two lessons for the current crisis, based on his ring-side experience during the debt crises of the 1980s. First, the initiation of debt relief will require a broad consensus among four groups: the borrowing countries, their foreign creditors, the authorities of the countries in which those creditors are located, and international institutions. Reaching consensus takes time. Second, implementation of the consensus framework will be case by case, because of differences in the political and economic circumstances of each country, which will militate against simple replication for different countries and against implementation all at the same time. Any framework will not be self-implementing. While the call for rapid action is understandable, applying a one-size-fits-all approach will not be possible.
  • Topic: Debt, Emerging Markets, History, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank, COVID-19
  • 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: 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
  • 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: Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Lockdown measures have been an integral tool in the fight against COVID-19. But they come at a high cost, given their impacts on economies, employment and incomes, education, food systems, mental health and even the potential for civil unrest. This policy briefing by Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, and Nendirmwa Noel examines how countries are balancing the need for lockdown with policy measures to alleviate their effects and plans for reopening. It provides comparative data on the stringency of lockdowns, showing that while there has been a convergence towards more stringent measures over time, there is also wide variation among countries—even among those in the same region, or income group. A brief case study of Sierra Leone and snapshot examples of policy from ten other countries illustrates the range of answers to the question of how much lockdown is enough.
  • Topic: Employment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Global Focus
  • Author: Karina 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, Race, United Nations, Reform, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: David Steven, Maaike de Langen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered what may be the worst global recession since the Second World War—and the impact of this second-order crisis will be widespread, including in the justice sector. Access to justice has been affected by the public health response to the coronavirus, but it will also be challenged by the economic downturn. The first in this series—Justice for All and the Public Health Emergency set out recommendations for how justice systems and actors can respond to the health impacts of the pandemic. This second briefing now turns to the question of how the economic downturn will affect access to justice—and how justice systems and partners can play a role in the recovery. The briefing examines how the economic effects of COVID-19 impact common justice problems, and how justice systems can anticipate and innovate in response. It provides recommendations for how justice systems and actors can react nimbly to the pandemic’s effects, and look ahead for opportunities to build back better, reshaping justice systems so they can support more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economies.
  • Topic: United Nations, Global Recession, Rule of Law, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The clergy’s ambitions for global Shia revolution made the city of Qom uniquely vulnerable to the disease, and their resistance to modern medical science weakened the state’s ability to combat its spread. On February 19, two days before the Iranian government officially announced the arrival of coronavirus, an infected businessman who had recently returned from China to Qom passed away. The location and timing of his death illustrate how the Shia holy city and the religious leaders and institutions who call it home have played an outsize role in the disease’s disproportionately rapid spread inside Iran compared to other countries. How did this situation come to pass, and what does it say about the current state of the clerical establishment, its relationship with the regime, and its alienation from large swaths of Iranian society? (Part 2 of this PolicyWatch discusses the regime's role in the outbreak and its resiliency to such crises.)
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Religion, Shia, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Esra Cuhadar
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Current peace processes are designed to be more inclusive of women, civil society, youth, opposition political parties, and other frequently marginalized communities. Implementation of inclusive peace processes, however, has not progressed smoothly—and are frequently met with resistance. Based on an examination of instances of resistance in thirty peace and transition negotiations since 1990, this report enhances practitioners’ understanding of who resists, against whose participation, using what tactics, and with what motives.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Politics, Women, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Developed by Brown University faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, emergency medicine, medical education, and instructional design, the training curriculum has been designed in accordance with World Health Organization standards, best practices, and guidelines. The training program, teaches and evaluates trainees on COVID-19 core competencies, including biology and transmission mechanisms; infection prevention and control; contact tracing; screening and triage; diagnosis and management; stabilization and resuscitation; health facility operations and surge capacity; and risk communication and public health messaging. Designed for ease of remote access, the training program is delivered virtually by Brown University trainers and is accompanied by real-time Q&A support. Tailored for each specific country setting in which it is delivered, the curriculum focuses on strengthening the capacity of health workers in resource-limited settings. The training utilizes a Training-of-Trainers model to engage master trainers and coach new trainers, allowing Project HOPE and CHRHS to quickly build a cadre of competent instructors who are able to train other health workers within their networks to respond efficiently to the threat of COVID-19 while also protecting their own health.
  • Topic: Health, Training, Data, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The growing number of UN personnel deployed to missions in violent, volatile, and complex settings has pushed the UN to take all means necessary to improve the safety and security of its staff and of civilians under its protection. The UN’s Peacekeeping-Intelligence Policy, which was first developed in 2017 and later revised in 2019, has been a central part of these efforts. This paper outlines the difficulties of creating and implementing this policy. It addresses the origin and evolution of UN peacekeeping-intelligence as a concept and explains the need for this policy. It then discusses how peacekeeping-intelligence was and is being developed, including the challenge of creating guidelines and trainings that are both general enough to apply across the UN and flexible enough to adapt to different missions. Finally, it analyzes challenges the UN has faced in implementing this policy, from difficulties with coordination and data management to the lack of a sufficient gender lens. The paper recommends a number of actions for UN headquarters, peace operations, and member states in order to address these challenges: Optimize tasking and information sharing within missions by focusing on senior leaders’ information needs; Harmonize the content of peacekeeping-intelligence handbooks with standard operating procedures while ensuring they are flexible enough to account for differences among and between missions; Refine criteria for recruiting civilian and uniformed personnel with intelligence expertise and better assign personnel once they are deployed; Improve retention of peacekeeping-intelligence personnel and encourage member states to agree to longer-term deployments; Tailor peacekeeping-intelligence training to the needs of missions while clarifying a standard set of UN norms; Apply a gender lens to UN peacekeeping-intelligence; Improve coordination between headquarters and field sites within missions by adapting the tempo and timing of tasking and creating integrated information-sharing cells; and Establish common sharing platforms within missions.
  • Topic: Intelligence, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Namie Di Razza, Jake Sherman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The effectiveness of UN peace operations depends on the “operational readiness” of their personnel, which refers to the knowledge, expertise, training, equipment, and mindset needed to carry out mandated tasks. While the need to improve the operational readiness of peacekeepers has been increasingly recognized over the past few years, the concept of “human rights readiness”—the extent to which consideration of human rights is integrated into the generation, operational configuration, and evaluation of uniformed personnel—has received less attention. This policy paper analyzes opportunities and gaps in human rights readiness and explores ways to improve the human rights readiness of peacekeepers. A comprehensive human rights readiness framework would include mechanisms to integrate human rights considerations into the operational configuration and modus operandi of uniformed personnel before, during, and after their deployment. This paper starts the process of developing this framework by focusing on the steps required to prepare and deploy uniformed personnel. The paper concludes with concrete recommendations for how troop- and police-contributing countries can prioritize human rights in the force generation process and strengthen human rights training for uniformed peacekeepers. These actions would prepare units to uphold human rights standards and better integrate human rights considerations into their work while ensuring that they deliver on this commitment. Ultimately, improved human rights readiness is a key determinant of the performance of UN peacekeepers, as well as of the UN’s credibility and reputation.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patryk I. Labuda
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Contemporary UN peace operations are expected to implement ambitious protection of civilians (POC) mandates while supporting host states through conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding strategies. Reconciling these people-oriented POC mandates and the state-centric logic of UN-mandated interventions ranks among the greatest challenges facing peace operations today. This report explores how peace operations implement POC mandates when working with, despite, or against the host state. It analyzes the opportunities, challenges, and risks that arise when peacekeepers work with host states and identifies best practices for leveraging UN support to national authorities. The paper concludes that peacekeeping personnel in each mission need to decide how to make the most of the UN’s strengths, mitigate risks to civilians, and maintain the support of government partners for mutually desirable POC goals. The paper offers seven recommendations for managing POC and host-state support going forward: Persuade through dialogue: Peace operations should work to keep open channels of communication and better prepare personnel for interacting with state officials. Leverage leadership: The UN should better prepare prospective mission leaders for the complex POC challenges they will face. Make capacity building people-centered and holistic: The UN should partner with a wider group of actors to establish a protective environment while reconceptualizing mandates to restore and extend state authority around people-centered development initiatives. Induce best practices: Missions should leverage capacity building and other forms of support to promote national ownership and foster best practices for POC. Coordinate pressure tactics: Peace operations should make use of the full spectrum of bargaining tools at their disposal, including pressure tactics and compulsion. Deliver coherent, mission-specific messaging on the use of force: The UN should improve training, political guidance, and legal advice on the use of force, including against state agents. Reconceptualizing engagement with states on POC as a “whole-of-mission” task: The UN Secretariat should articulate a vision and mission-specific guidelines for partnerships with host governments on POC.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wasim Mir
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The UN is currently facing its most challenging financial situation in nearly two decades. Despite taking emergency measures to reduce spending, the UN Secretariat’s severe liquidity problems have been getting progressively worse, to the point where they are starting to affect the UN’s ability to carry out its mandates. The main cause of this crisis is the late payment and nonpayment of member-state contributions. This issue brief breaks down the reasons why certain member states have not been paying in full or on time, which include the withholding of payments to express concerns about specific UN activities and domestic financial difficulties. It then considers the proposals the secretary-general has put forward to address the crisis: replenishing the existing reserves, incentivizing member states to make timelier payments by invoking Article 19 of the UN Charter sooner, and limiting the General Assembly’s use of creative measures to reduce spending. Since these proposals currently have little backing from member states, the paper also suggests looking at alternative approaches, including allowing the UN Secretariat to borrow commercially or pool cash balances. As the domestic dynamics that lead to late payment and nonpayment will not change quickly, the paper urges member states not to ignore the issue and hope that it will resolve itself. They need to urgently consider what measures could help mitigate the crisis as soon as possible.
  • Topic: United Nations, Financial Crisis, Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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