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  • Author: Plamen Plantev
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: In the evolving situation of EU and NATO eastward enlargement within a dramatically changed global security environment Bulgaria’s role and prospects are shaped by powerful yet hard to organise and realise in practice interests: First, the interest of serving as a reliable boundary state of both EU and NATO while projecting the image and influence of a trustworthy bridge, linking a stable and well established region of EU and NATO states with countries of a still shaky though bearing positive economic opportunities area. With the support of EU and NATO Bulgaria is in a position to mobilise its potential to serve these uneasy jobs. Second, the interest not to be pushed or even just to be left in the position to choose between the EU and NATO as well as between the EU and the leading NATO country – the United States. Bulgaria’s perceptions of the world – from the point of view of EU and US interaction, is a place, calling for cooperation in approaching and solving the hard issues of the globe and not for trying to counter-balance the Americans. Any other reading of the EU/US relationship by Bulgaria would practically dilute and even dissolve the country’s chances to play an effective and forward targeted boundary and bridge roles. Third, the interest to project to the contending for EU and NATO membership countries in the Balkans and in the Black Sea area the lesson Bulgaria has learnt in the accession years, that joining the two institutions is not an issue of geopolitical bargaining, but one of mostly meeting standard conditions that would lead to social and economic progress of the aspirants themselves and make them compatible with the other members of the Union and the Alliance.
  • Topic: NATO, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Black Sea
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: These documents, prepared by the EU Accession Monitoring Program of the Open Society Institute, assess the state of minority protection in 10 Central and Eastern European states seeking full membership in the European Union and in five current member states. The reports examine candidate states' implementation of their minority protection or integration programmes, and each state's laws, institutions, and practices relating to minority protection of Roma or Muslims.
  • Topic: Islam, Law, Minorities, European Union, Civil Rights, Institutions, Political Rights, Freedom of Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Svetlana Tsalik
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Caspian Oil Windfalls: Who Will Benefit?, a publication from the Central Eurasia Project's Caspian Revenue Watch, calls for greater accountability, transparency, and public oversight in the oil and natural gas industries of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. It urges foreign oil companies, their home governments, and international financial institutions to promote good governance and democracy in both countries to ensure that petroleum revenues generate social prosperity and stable governments. Written by Svetlana Tsalik, director of the Caspian Revenue Watch, the report also offers recommendations based on in-depth analysis of natural resource funds in other nations as well as models of citizen oversight. The foreword was written by Joseph E. Stiglitz, the former chief economist of the
  • Topic: Oil, Natural Resources, Accountability, Public Policy, Transparency, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Caspian Sea, Central Eurasia
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Keeping Secrets, a report from the Open Society Iraq Revenue Watch project, concludes that Iraq’s public finances have so far fallen short of international standards of accountability. The report was released on the eve of an international donors’ conference for Iraq in Madrid, scheduled for October 23–24. It calls for greater transparency in the management of the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), the central repository for U.S. reconstruction assistance as well as Iraqi oil and gas revenues. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)—the U.S.-established governing agency in Iraq—has delayed the establishment of a crucial oversight body and refused to disclose basic information about large purchase contracts and DFI expenditures, the report says. Keeping Secrets calls on the CPA to reverse these trends and offers a set of recommendations, including increased Iraqi involvement in the DFI, more substantial oversight authority for the United Nations’ International Advisory and Monitoring Board, and better public access to information.
  • Topic: Finance, Accountability, Public Sector, Fiscal Policy, Transparency, Public Spending
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: In late July 2003, Iraq’s Coalition Provisional Authority announced a tender to provide wireless telecommunications services for two years to Iraq. Expanding telephone access is a critical step toward improving Iraqis’ lives. Telecommunications contracts also provide lucrative opportunities for providers. If the United States is to succeed in its goal of building a capable and transparent public administration in Iraq, it is important that Iraqis are included in the contracting process and that the terms of the tender are not designed to preference U.S. companies. This report from the Iraq Revenue Watch project of the Open Society Central Eurasia Project describes some concerns with the mobile phone tender, and provides recommendations on how to improve the transparency and inclusiveness of subsequent tenders.
  • Topic: Communications, Iraq War, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The formulation of conceptual stepping-stones requires the consideration of at least two defining factors: First, how have the Balkans and the Caucasus evolved since the end of the Cold War? Second, what are the guiding principles in the formation of this new, vast economic, political, and strategic region stretching westwards from the Adriatic Sea and eastward from the Caspian Sea? This region is influenced by and influences global economic, political, and security processes, and benefits from the eastwards enlargement of the democratic civic and security space embodied by NATO and the EU.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Cold War, Politics, European Union, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Dimitar Bechev
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: Facing commonalities and yet fully aware of differences, this paper addresses the question whether there is a broader regional identity in the Balkans, which transcends national boundaries. It is critical to define what that specific identity means, what its political implications are, what the relationship between things national and regional is. Assuming identities and collective solidarities tend to be “discursively constructed, particularly enacted, and historically situated” (Wendt, 1994) or “plural, malleable, flexible” (Ferguson and Mansbach, 1994), I argue that as far as the Balkans are concerned there are both unexplored possibilities and a number of impediments in the quest for broader and multiple conceptions of belonging. The paper proposes a middle way of dealing with the issue of the relationship between national and regional which focuses on the proposition that a regional system of international relations is gradually emerging, which configures state-to-state interactions in particular ways and provides grounds for new identifications. The first section of the paper underlies the merely practical implications of the project of self-determination and particularisation that has governed Balkan politics for at least 200 years and has triumphed with the last wave of national secessionism in the 1990s. The imperative to come up with modes of interstate co-operation inevitably leads to the question what the primary source of disunity is. Making some preliminary theoretical points (second section) and tracing the emergence of national identities and the demise of broader loyalties (third section), the paper proceeds to elaborate on two strategies attempting to reconcile parochialism and regionalism: the revaluation of the exclusivist narratives of ethnocentrism, and the construction of a specific regional political context that the Balkan states participate in. I consider the latter minimalist understanding superior and suggest that it contains the right explanation of Balkan regional identity.
  • Topic: Politics, Regionalism, Post Cold War, Identity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This report presents data from a series of surveys of safety net organizations, clients who access care at these sties, and the providers who work there. The goal of this project was to identify issues and needs facing clients at these sites and the unique role of safety net organizations in meeting these needs. An additional goal was to identify potential challenges to the mission and capacity of this network of providers that is caring for society’s most vulnerable and needy individuals. The surveys were conducted by medical students participating in the Soros Service Program for Community Health. This summer internship, part of the Open Society Institute’s Medicine as a Profession initiative, places first year medical students from around the country in community-based organizations for a seven-week internship. The students get to experience first-hand issues facing patients trying to access care in the face of poverty, addiction, abuse, and homelessness. They receive mentoring from a very talented and committed team of community providers and participate in an intensive curriculum that focuses on issues of professionalism facing physicians. The goal is to introduce students early in their education and training to positive examples of empowered communities and providers serving the needs of traditionally disenfranchised patient populations and to introduce the concepts and practice of patient advocacy.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Public Policy, Welfare, Public Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The EU Accession Monitoring Program of the Open Society Institute was initiated in 2000 to encourage independent monitoring of the process by which the European Union is considering applications for membership from the ten candidate States of Central and Eastern Europe. The Program aims to contribute to this historic process by producing monitoring reports to complement the evaluations already being conducted by the European Commission, as reflected in its annual “Regular Reports” on candidate States’ progress towards meeting accession criteria. The enlargement of the European Union is a positive development, and independent monitoring is one means of magnifying its beneficial effects, both within the candidate States and in the EU itself.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Nation-State
  • Political Geography: Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia
  • Author: Nicolay Pavlov, Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The application of geopolitical methodological instruments to the study of Bulgarian foreign and security policy issues has two fundamental causes: first, for many decades this has been a neglected intellectual instrument of international political research – for political and ideological reasons – and, second, the end of the Cold War necessitated an improvement of the conceptual and the analytical tools of security studies in Europe and the world. The traditional approach of ISIS to search ways of improving the security situation by conceptualizing events and processes in a novel way has focused the efforts of its researchers on security problems that cover a broad strategic zone: the Balkans – the Black Sea – the Transcaucasus – the Caspian Sea. Continued cooling – for more than ten years –of bilateral Bulgarian-Russian relations is conceived as one of the problems of this broader strategic and systemically linked zone. The geopolitical and geostrategic model – imposed on Bulgaria by the Cold War divide, the country’s membership in the Warsaw Pact and the thorough domination by the USSR – ended and was replaced by a different reality. The geopolitical projection of the ideological and socio-economic divide was no longer an applicable paradigm. At the same time the balance of power and the geostrategic approaches of understanding the evolving international environment proved to be inadequate after the end of the 1980s of the 20th Century. Russian, and to a lesser extent Bulgarian, politicians lost the orientation and the perspective of the bilateral links. This led to a dramatic diminishing of the meaning of bilateral relations in the general foreign-political engagements of the two countries. Bulgaria had undertaken a clear orientation to market economy, democracy and rule of law – a philosophic course, which logically prioritized the attraction of the European Union as the efficient integration nucleus of Europe, and of NATO – the symbol of stability and guaranteed prosperity in the broader Euro-Atlantic space. Though NATO was no longer perceived in the Cold War antagonistic pattern by Russia, and the very substance of the Alliance intensively adapted to the post-Cold War realities, Bulgaria’s political and security choice of joining the Euro-Atlantic community of developed democratic nations was negatively assessed by the Russian elite.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Bulgaria