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  • Author: Céline Monnier
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is creating a series of crises that increase the risk of conflict worldwide. Beyond the health impact, issues like worsening inequality, food insecurity, human rights abuses, and political tensions can deepen pre-existing social fractures in any country, creating additional layers of grievance. Addressing these risks early on and building resilience to them is key to preventing the potential for violence. But the pandemic also brings new opportunities for peacebuilding. A system-wide implementation of the sustaining peace approach is critical to ensure that United Nations response contributes to decreasing risks for violent conflict in the longer term—including efforts to “build back better.” This report draws on interviews with 25+ individuals across the UN system and member states to highlight some of the key challenges for peacebuilding in the immediate COVID-19 period as well as in the longer term. The report documents how entities across the UN have made positive steps toward implementing a sustaining peace approach, and provides recommendations for deepening these gains across the system.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Inequality, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mario Del Pero, Paola Magri, Gary C. Jacobson, Michele Alacevich, Gabriella Sanchez, Scott L. Greer, Mario Del Pero, William F. Wechsler, Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Unprecedented and unpredictable: this is how US President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly been labelled. Beyond the frequent tweets and bombastic rhetoric, however, lie a more conventional four years, as the United States navigated an ever-evolving international reality, compounded by a global pandemic and one of the deepest economic recessions in over a century. This Report analyses the continuity and changes that occurred during Trump’s presidency. Domestically, it investigates the growing political polarization, the country's pre-pandemic economic performance, Trump's approach towards regular and irregular migration, and the US’ response to a healthcare emergency. At the international level, this volume looks at how the US stance has changed vis-à-vis China, the Middle East, and Europe. Which long-term trends has President Trump had to ride through? What was his trademark, and what might be his lasting legacy?
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Immigration, European Union, Inequality, Economic Growth, Engagement , Donald Trump, COVID-19, Polarization, Disengagement
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Fabio Rugge, John R Allen, Giampiero Massolo, Thomas A. Campbell, Samuele Dominioni, Caitlin Chin, Mishaela Robison, John Villasenor, Darrell M. West, Paola Benanti
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The rise of Artificial Intelligence applications is accelerating the pace and magnitude of the political, securitarian, and ethical challenges we are now struggling to manage in cyberspace and beyond. So far, the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and cyberspace has been investigated mostly in terms of the effects that AI could have on the digital domain, and thus on our societies. What has been explored less is the opposite relationship, namely, how the cyberspace geopolitics can affect AI. Yet, AI applications have so far suffered from growing unrest, disorder, and lack of normative solutions in cyberspace. As such, from algorithm biases, to surveillance and offensive applications, AI could accelerate multiple growing threats and challenges in and through cyberspace. This report by ISPI and The Brookings Institution is an effort to shed light on this less studied, but extremely relevant, relationship.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Inequality, Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, Disinformation, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jennifer Nicoll Victor
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Covid-19 makes politics worse because it has generated not only greater awareness about many inequalities in the US, but it also has sharpened those inequalities. Unfortunately, inequalities such as those discussed here have a way of becoming self-perpetuating.
  • Topic: Inequality, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Axel Berger, Sören Hilbrich, Gabriele Köhler
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Group of Seven (G7) and Group of Twenty (G20) have placed increasing emphasis on gender equality. As part of this focus, the member states of both institutions have set out a series of objectives aimed at advancing gender equality. This report examines the degree to which these goals have been implemented in Germany. First, the gender equality goals that both institutions have set out since 2009 are presented and systematised. The report then investigates the current state of progress in Germany and describes measures that have already been undertaken to implement the goals.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, G20, Women, Inequality, G7
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Maria-Louise Clausen
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the Iraqi Security Forces’ success in the military defeat of Islamic State (IS) and reconquering of territory seized by IS in 2014, the Iraqi state faces substantial challenges. These challenges have been exacerbated by IS, but did not emerge with IS and will therefore also not disappear with the defeat of IS. This DIIS Report underlines the fragmentation and policization of the security sector as a concern. Although the continued threat from IS has a destabilizing impact on the Iraqi state, the report especially points to the role of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF: an umbrella term for more than 50 armed groups that mobilized against IS in 2014), the sustained focus on identity politics and the pressure on the Iraqi state as key issues for the rebuilding and stabilization of Iraq. The presence of PMFs in Iraq is a challenge to the Iraqi state’s monopoly of violence and the PMFs continue to commit violations with impunity. Moreover, the PMFs (Popular Mobilization Forces) are capitalizing on their role in the defeat of Islamic State to increase their political role. Finally, despite the recent movement towards issue-based politics, identity remains a vital element in Iraqi politics, as seen in the continued practice of power-sharing between Kurds, Shias, and Sunnis. This combined with the Iraqi population’s general lack of trust in the political system challenges reconstruction. Nonetheless, the report asserts that there is a window of opportunity for Iraq, that should be seized by the Iraqi elite and the international community to engage in the difficult process of reconstruction and reconciliation. The report provides a brief overview of some of the main challenges facing Iraq that must be dealt with if Iraq is to break the cycle of violence that has haunted the country for decades.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Democratization, Poverty, Terrorism, Non State Actors, Inequality, Fragile States, Economy, Conflict, Violence, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Marwa Daoudy
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, a new narrative has emerged that seeks to link climate change with political and social unrest. This idea of a climate-conflict nexus is similar to the “water wars” scenario of the 1990s, in which the media and some scholars predicted that water scarcity would be the major driver of inter-state conflict in the twenty-first century. More recently, this climateconflict narrative has been applied to the Syrian case. According to this logic, climate change caused the 2006-2010 drought in Syria, the drought caused agricultural failure, agricultural failure caused poverty, and the resulting displacement and discontent culminated with the 2011 uprising. My forthcoming book, The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security (Cambridge University Press, spring 2020) questions this line of reasoning, arguing that government policies were at the heart of Syria’s vulnerabilities in the buildup to the uprising. Although global warming is real and international action is urgently needed, climate change was not what was at the forefront of the minds of Syrians in 2011. Instead, most people were focused on a moral ideal: the end of repression and injustice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Water, Food Security, Inequality, Syrian War, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of August, the leaders of the major western democracies will meet in their 45th summit. They will discuss global geopolitical and socioeconomic issues in Biarritz, a seaside resort in Basque country on the Atlantic coast, made famous in the 19th century as the summer playground of Europe’s elite. As the host, French President Emmanuel Macron is focusing on inequality: be it income, gender, education, healthcare or access to drinking water. But can M. Macron bring his fellow leaders into consensus given their diverging perspectives on diverse issues including gender, work, climate, energy, protectionism, populism and extremism? What will be the chemistry between the disparate leaders, including the new member of the group, Boris Johnson? And how will these heads of state manage Donald Trump? Will there be a communiqué? As Justin Trudeau will ruefully recall, the US president upended last year’s Charlevoix summit revoking the US agreement to the communiqué while en route to meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. There will be various measures of success in Biarritz, but it will be important for leaders to say something and do something on Hong Kong. Keeping the spotlight on this international city will be important to restrain China from rash action. As the principal guardians of international covenants, the G7 leaders have an obligation to Hong Kong. It will also be important for the leaders to make some sort of statement on trade measures. If we are moving into an economic decoupling with China, then it will be vital that the G7 hangs together. A recession will only incite more populism and aggravate the inequalities that are the focus at Biarritz.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Inequality, Multilateralism, Trade, G7
  • Political Geography: Canada, France
  • Author: Francesco Burchi, Daniele Malerba, Nicole Rippin, Claudio E. Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The 2030 Agenda has provided new impetus to two facets of the struggle for poverty alleviation, which is a central goal of the international development community. First, poverty is no longer viewed strictly in monetary terms, but rather as a multidimensional phenomenon. Second, the need to reduce poverty for different social groups and not just at the aggregate, national level is explicitly recognised. Against this background, this paper has three objectives: (1) to analyse the trends in multidimensional poverty in low- and middle-income countries, (2) to explore rural-urban differences in poverty over time, and (3) to assess the validity of the claim that there has been a feminisation of poverty. The analysis relies on a new indicator of multidimensional poverty, the Global Correlation Sensitive Poverty Index (G-CSPI), that incorporates three key components: education, employment and health. The G-CSPI has several methodological advantages over existing measures, including that it is an individual rather than a household-level measure of poverty, which is crucial for gender-disaggregated analysis. Regarding aggregate trends, this paper shows that both income poverty and multidimensional poverty fell between 2000 and 2012. However, the decline in (extreme) income poverty in percentage terms was twice as large as the decline in multidimensional poverty. There is significant heterogeneity in the results across regions. Multidimensional poverty declined the most in Asia, converging towards the relatively low levels of Latin America and Europe, while sub-Saharan Africa’s slow progress further distanced it from other regions. These findings point to the existence of poverty traps and indicate that more efforts are needed to eradicate poverty. Regarding the urban-rural comparison, our analysis shows that poverty is predominantly a rural phenomenon: the rural G-CSPI was more than four times the urban G-CSPI. This difference remained nearly constant over time. As for the third objective, we find no gender bias in 2000 at the global level. This contrasts with the claim made in 1995 in Beijing that 70 per cent of the poor were women. However, we find that multidimensional poverty declined more among men (-18.5 per cent from 2000) than women (-15 per cent), indicating a process of feminisation of poverty. This was triggered by the decline in employment poverty, which was much slower among women. As most existing studies conclude that there was no evidence of the feminisation of poverty, this finding is new to the literature.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Poverty, Inequality, Urban, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Mariya Aleksandrova
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper aims to further awareness of opportunities to address loss and damage caused by climate change-related slow onset events (SOEs) through social protection. The analysis is based on a review of interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical literature. The findings suggest that designing comprehensive, climate-responsive social protection strategies can strongly support proactive measures to avoid, minimise and address the complex, long-term impacts of SOEs on human health, livelihoods, poverty and inequality. This entails improving the effectiveness and extending the coverage of existing social protection systems; mainstreaming climate concerns, including risks associated with SOEs, into national social protection frameworks; integrating social protection with broader climate and development policies and strategies; and developing innovative and transformational approaches to social protection. To this end, several issues for research and policy are discussed. Overall, the paper attempts to set the groundwork for an advanced research and policy agenda on social protection and climate change as well as emphasise the need for wider consideration of social protection in global climate change debates. In addition, the study aims to inform the future work of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts in the working areas of SOEs and comprehensive risk management approaches.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Poverty, Inequality, Social Services
  • Political Geography: Global Focus