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  • Author: Zena Grecni, Eric M. Derrington, Robbie Greene, Wendy Miles, Victoria Keener
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Hotter weather, stronger typhoons, coral reef death, and physical and mental health risks are among the major challenges detailed in a new report on climate change in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Threatened resources include high-value coastal infrastructure and the millions of dollars that ocean ecosystems add to the CNMI economy annually, according to the report by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA), a consortium of several government, NGO, and research entities. Climate Change in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is one in a series of new PIRCA reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian archipelago. Authors from the CNMI Office of Planning and Development, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management, and the East-West Center—along with 50 technical contributors from local governments, NGOs, researchers, and community groups—collaboratively developed the CNMI PIRCA report. Climate change is expected to disrupt many aspects of life in the CNMI. Those who are already vulnerable—including children, the elderly, low-income families, and individuals with disabilities—are at greater risk from extreme weather and climate events. Climate Change in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors provides guidance for decision-makers seeking to better understand the implications of climate variability and change for CNMI and its communities. This assessment also identifies the additional information and research needed to support responses that enhance resilience and help CNMI to withstand the changes to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific, Northern Mariana Islands
  • Author: Victoria Keener, Zena Grecni, Kelley Anderson Tagarino, Christopher Shuler, Wendy Miles
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Human health risks, stronger cyclones, coral reef death, and coastal flooding are among the major challenges detailed in a new report on climate change in American Sāmoa. Threatened resources include high-value coastal infrastructure and the millions of dollars that ocean ecosystems add to American Sāmoa's economy annually, according to the report by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA), a consortium of several government, NGO, and research entities. Climate Change in American Sāmoa: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors is one in a series of new PIRCA reports aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands and the Hawaiian archipelago. Authors from the University of Hawai‘i and the East-West Center—along with 25 technical contributors from local governments, NGOs, researchers, and community groups—collaboratively developed the American Sāmoa report. Climate change is expected to disrupt many aspects of life in American Sāmoa. Those who are already vulnerable—including children, the elderly, low-income families, and individuals with disabilities—are at greater risk from extreme weather and climate events. Climate Change in American Sāmoa: Indicators and Considerations for Key Sectors provides guidance for decision-makers seeking to better understand the implications of climate variability and change for American Sāmoa and its communities. This assessment also identifies the additional information and research needed to support responses that enhance resilience and help American Sāmoa to withstand the changes to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific, American Samoa
  • Author: Sabyasashi Dutta
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Bay of Bengal, the world’s largest Bay, is strategically located in the Indian Ocean. On its western rim, lies the coastline of the Indian Peninsula and to its south, the island nation of Sri Lanka. To the east the bay connects key parts of Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand as well as the Andaman Sea and the Malacca straits. At its very northern cusp lies Bangladesh, which is also the delta of the great rivers of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna. These rivers connect the Bay in a unique “mountain to sea” ecosystem with natural connectivity to the Bay for the landlocked states of North Eastern India and the Himalayan nations of Nepal and Bhutan. In turn, the monsoon currents which regulate the climate of the Bay of Bengal gather moisture from the bay and dictate precipitation patterns in the mountains and plains in the hinterland. The hills of Meghalaya in North Eastern India record the highest rainfall in the world as they are first hit by the monsoon clouds that gather moisture from the Bay. An interlace of snow and rain fed rivers, their basins, and their estuaries at the Bay nurture a large diversity of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife flora and fauna (e.g., the Sunderban mangroves spanning parts of Myanmar, India and Bangladesh) and offer a great diversity of agricultural produce. The Bay and the countries along and connected by its littoral are a compact maritime sub region connected at the level of economy and ecology, having an enormous impact on the hundreds of its inhabitant who live on its coasts and in its hinterlands.
  • Topic: Economy, Maritime, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific, Bay of Bengal
  • Author: Tariq Karim
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The core Bay of Bengal countries today account for a population of almost 1.78 billion, while adjacent states with interest account for an additional 490 million. The “core states” (X, Y, Z) have a combined GDP of approximately $7.5 trillion, while adjacent states with interest add another $811 billion. While SAARC countries’ total intra-regional trade accounts for only 5% of their total global trade, ASEAN has a more respectable 25% intra trade while EU and North America boast 40-50%. One may reasonably imagine an economically and ecologically integrated Bay of Bengal community to increase SAARC’s current comparatively low figure, given their advantage in population, demography, and entrepreneurial vigor. The Bay of Bengal countries do not have a cohesive community identity, yet. If the Bay of Bengal littorals could evolve toward comprising a Bay of Bengal Community, replicating EEC and ASEAN, possibilities for prosperity for all the littorals would be almost limitless, while hitherto so-called land-locked entities (northeast Indian states, Bhutan, and Nepal) would get a much-needed outlet to the seas. However, the peoples of this region need to “rediscover each other”, revive memories of old civilizational, cultural, and commercial ties that had linked them historically in the past until the post-War new order rent them all asunder. They need to reinvent their regional identity, in a manner of speaking.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Economy, Trade, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Bay of Bengal
  • Author: Pritam Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Facilitating cross-border movement by road is the most critical element of any strategy for greater economic integration among BIMSTEC countries. Cross-border road freight can facilitate even a small consignment to be delivered directly across the border with cost-effectiveness; unlike a full railway rake or even a coastal short-sea feeder vessel which require some level of aggregation of consignments into a larger parcel of goods. Direct road services also reduce multiple handling and trans-shipment requirements. Multi-modal solutions that support optimal use of international connectivity from different air and marine hubs in the region can only be facilitated by an existing efficient road freight feeder network. For example, a Bangladeshi exporter can exploit the cheaper and faster shipping connectivity to Europe via India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port with the help of an efficient cross-border road feeder service that directly connects the exporter’s factory in Bangladesh to this port in western India. As feeder services for ocean and especially air transport? reduce frequency or become more expensive in the post-Covid ‘normal’, access to cheaper and faster connectivity to global markets from large regional hubs will be critical for the region’s entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Economy, Regional Integration, Trade
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Bay of Bengal
  • Author: Rajesh Basrur
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India has experienced rising tensions with China in recent years, as demonstrated by two border crises in 2017 and 2020-21. The second event saw the death of some 20 Indian troops, and at least 4 Chinese soldiers, in hand-to-hand combat – the first fatalities in nearly half a century of periodic border face-offs. New Delhi’s policy response has spanned both internal and external balancing. The former has involved augmenting India’s capacity to engage in limited combat of the type that nuclear-armed states have occasionally fought, as did the Soviet Union and China in 1969 and India and Pakistan in 1999. The Indian military has bolstered its border by deploying combat troops, cruise missiles, and advanced combat aircraft. However, China has done much the same, putting pressure on India to upscale its military capabilities. Simultaneously, India has tried to reduce its dependence on the Chinese economy, a more complicated task. Despite a 10 percent decline in bilateral trade owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and border tensions, China was India’s largest trading partner ($77.7 billion) in 2020. The Narendra Modi government sharply cut Chinese investment when the 2020 border confrontation in Ladakh broke out, expelling major Chinese companies like TikTok, WeChat, and UC Browser. Despite these measures, India’s ability to shut China out of its economy is limited. The Indian market depends heavily on Chinese electronic components (70 percent in value terms), pharmaceutical ingredients (70 percent), and consumer durables (45 percent).
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Sara Nowacka
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of March, Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected a proposal by designated Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri regarding the composition of the new government. The breakdown of the negotiations shows that despite the deepening socio-economic crisis, political groups are unable to develop a common vision for the reconstruction of the state. The EU, UN, and the World Bank engaged in initiatives aiming to improve Lebanon’s situation. However, the political deadlock threatens the implementation of their co-created “3RF” reform plan.
  • Topic: United Nations, World Bank, European Union, Economy, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU intends to implement a new model of relations with Turkey based on phased, proportional, and reversible engagement. The Union’s plans are a consequence of a dilemma: although Turkey often acts like an adversary, EU members want to maintain close relations with it due to the convergence of interests in areas such as migration and the economy. The Union’s new approach creates the opportunity to strengthen its influence on Turkey. Yet, different expectations about the future shape of relations will keep EU-Turkey relations tense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In the few months that have passed since the signing of the historical Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE have opened embassies and exchanged ambassadors, launched direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, hosted dozens of businesses, cultural and academic delegations (among them a high-ranking Emirati delegation led by the UAE ministers of finance and economy), and facilitated visits of thousands of Israeli tourists to Dubai. Universities and think tanks from both countries have established connections, and news outlets have launched different forms of cooperation. Israel, the UAE, and the US set an investment fund worth 3 billion USD (the fund is not operational yet) and banks on both sides established agreements on financial services. The scope of activity between the two countries is impressive, and it seems that in case of Israel and the UAE, the seeds of peace have fallen on fertile ground, mainly due to high level of economic development and mutual geopolitical interests and concerns, such as the Iranian threat (although both sides evaluate and treat it differently).Today, it is almost impossible to imagine that just a few years ago Israeli athletes were only allowed to compete in the UAE if they agreed to participate without their national flag or national anthem sung at the closing ceremony. Why is it that the peace between Israel and the UAE appears to be such a stark contrast from previous peace agreements that Israel has signed with other Arab countries? Several factors have facilitated the newly established relationship: the positive image of the UAE in Israel; the lack of past hostilities, casualties, and territorial demands between the two countries; the unofficial ties forged long before the official recognition; the many mutual interests that seem to be aligned together; and the right timing that allowed for this bold and important development. Will the parties be able to maintain a similar level of enthusiasm also when the honeymoon stage passes? How will the two countries deal with various regional and international challenges? This paper presents an Israeli perspective on the first months of the relationship between Israel and UAE, and looks at prospects for the near future of these relations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Peace, Abraham Accords
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, UAE
  • Author: Brigitte Dekker, Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: pen, safe and inclusive digital connectivity and engage with the region’s thriving digital economies. While Indo-Pacific countries have called for greater maritime presence by European countries in their increasingly contested waters, European actors may have more to offer in the less-discussed but equally contested high-tech and digital domains. Recognizing the opportunities and disruptions that accompany the digital transition and green transformation globally, the EU and its member states need to increase their engagement with governments, commercial and civil-society stakeholders and networks in the Indo-Pacific on a broad array of digitalization issues.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacob Wallis, Ariel Bogle, Albert Zhang, Hillary Mansour, Tim Niven, Elena Yi-Ching, Jason Liu, Jonathan Corpus Ong, Ross Tapsell
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: It’s not just nation-states that interfere in elections and manipulate political discourse. A range of commercial services increasingly engage in such activities, operating in a shadow online influence-for-hire economy that spans from content farms through to high-end PR agencies. There’s growing evidence of states using commercial influence-for-hire networks. The Oxford Internet Institute found 48 instances of states working with influence-for-hire firms in 2019–20, an increase from 21 in 2017–18 and nine in 2016–17.1 There’s a distinction between legitimate, disclosed political campaigning and government advertising campaigns, on the one hand, and efforts by state actors to covertly manipulate the public opinion of domestic populations or citizens of other countries using inauthentic social media activity, on the other. The use of covert, inauthentic, outsourced online influence is also problematic as it degrades the quality of the public sphere in which citizens must make informed political choices and decisions.
  • Topic: Elections, Internet, Social Media, Economy
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: Brexit is done. The formal negotiations are over — even though the Trade and Cooperation Agreement paves the way to many further negotiations between the UK and the EU. Our understanding of what Brexit does mean in practice is just beginning. Now the UK is finally able to embark on its new course, we believe that the need for social science to play a role in informing public and political debates is as great if not greater than ever. The contributions that follow underline the scale and scope of the agenda that confronts the United Kingdom. It is meant both as a guide to the issues that will loom large of the months and years to come and as a signal that we intend to deploy the best social science research in order to understand and address them.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Society
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Allison Gelman, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Jill O'Donnell, Daniel M. Price, David Rosenbaum, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Eric Thompson, Janell C. Walther, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy has not come up often in the 2020 presidential campaign. But when it has, candidates on both sides of the aisle frequently have stressed that U.S. foreign policy should not only keep the American people safe but also deliver more tangible economic benefits for the country’s middle class. The debate among the presidential contenders is not if that should happen but how to make it happen. All too often, this debate takes place within relatively small circles within Washington, DC, without the benefit of input from state and local officials, small business owners, community leaders, local labor representatives, and others on the front lines of addressing the challenges facing middle-class households. That is why the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a bipartisan task force in late 2017 to lift up such voices and inject them into the ongoing debate. The task force partnered with university researchers to study the perceived and measurable economic effects of U.S. foreign policy on three politically and economically different states in the nation’s heartland—Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio. The first two reports on Ohio and Colorado were published in December 2018 and November 2019, respectively. This third report on Nebraska has been prepared in partnership with a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). To gauge perceptions of how Nebraska’s middle class is faring and the ways in which U.S. foreign policy might fit in, the Carnegie and UNL research teams reviewed household surveys and conducted individual interviews and focus groups, between July and August 2019, with over 130 Nebraskans in Columbus, Scottsbluff/Gering, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, and Omaha.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Immigration, Economy, Domestic politics, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Daniel M. Price, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: If there ever was a truism among the U.S. foreign policy community—across parties, administrations, and ideologies—it is that the United States must be strong at home to be strong abroad. Hawks and doves and isolationists and neoconservatives alike all agree that a critical pillar of U.S. power lies in its middle class—its dynamism, its productivity, its political and economic participation, and, most importantly, its magnetic promise of progress and possibility to the rest of the world. And yet, after three decades of U.S. primacy on the world stage, America’s middle class finds itself in a precarious state. The economic challenges presented by globalization, technological change, financial imbalances, and fiscal strains have gone largely unmet. And that was before the novel coronavirus plunged the country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, exposed and exacerbated deep inequities across American society, led long-simmering tensions over racial injustice to boil over, and launched a level of societal unrest that the United States has not seen since the height of the civil rights movement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Trafficking – a catch-all term for illicit movement of goods and people – has long sustained livelihoods in northern Niger. But conflicts are emerging due to heightened competition and European pressure to curb migration. Authorities should persevere in managing the extralegal exchange to contain violence. What’s new? Niger’s informal systems for managing violence related to drug, gold and people trafficking in the country’s north are under strain – due in part to European pressure to curb migration and in part to increased competition over drug transport routes. The discovery of gold could bring new challenges. Why does it matter? Tacit understandings between the authorities and traffickers pose dangers, namely the state’s criminalisation as illicit trade and politics become more intertwined. But the collapse of those understandings would be still more perilous: if trafficking disputes descend into strife, they could destabilise Niger as they have neighbouring Mali. What should be done? Niger should reinforce its conflict management systems. Action against traffickers should focus on those who are heavily armed or engage in violence. Niamey and external actors should reinvigorate the north’s formal economy. European leaders should ensure that their policies avoid upsetting practices that have allowed Niger to escape major bloodshed.
  • Topic: Economy, Trafficking , Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Niger
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese investment and construction around the world contracted in 2019, regardless of Beijing’s claims to the contrary. However, the decline is concentrated in large, headline-winning deals, and Chinese firms remain active on a smaller scale. A contraction in acquisitions in rich economies has boosted the relative importance of greenfield spending. The number of countries in the Belt and Road continues to expand, and power plant and transport construction continues to be preeminent. American policymakers were initially spurred to act by intense Chinese investment in 2016. This has dropped sharply, but there are challenges related to investment review that are more important, starting with strengthening export controls.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: C. Anthony Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Security cooperation with Iraq remains a critical component of the US-Iraq relationship. Despite neighboring Iran’s ability to limit US political and economic engagement, Iraq still seeks US assistance to develop its military and to combat resurgent terrorist organizations. This monograph provides a historical and cultural basis from which to understand the limitations and potential for US cooperation with Iraq’s armed forces.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Islamic State, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar