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  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States government can neither engender new states nor prevent them from coming into being, but it does possess a range of policy tools to influence the trajectory of new or aspiring states. While U.S. history creates a certain amount of empathy for self-determination groups, as a general rule the U.S. government views most independence movements skeptically. This is appropriate, in part because few such movements are viable. Economies are small or fragile (or both), the cause enjoys limited internal support, or the forces arrayed against it are too massive. In addition, the United States is tied diplomatically to some 190 countries around the world, and it usually privileges intergovernmental ties over those with non-governmental groups. Supporting secession not only would threaten U.S. relations with countries fighting U.S.-backed movements, but also other countries that feared that the United States might come to support secessionists elsewhere. For the United States, some sort of decentralization or autonomy arrangement is often a less costly option. It is also more agreeable to partner governments and reduces the risk of regional instability. However, exceptions can occur when secessionist movements take root in countries where the United States has more difficult relations, or where repression of minority groups or some other humanitarian factor weighs heavily on the scale.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Non State Actors, Governance, Self Determination, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When President Trump declared on December 19 that U.S. troops in Syria were “all coming back and coming back now,” it plunged the future of the East of the country into uncertainty.1 Dynamics in Syria were already shifting against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration (AA) in Northeast Syria, as threats from Turkey and the regime increased. The impending withdrawal of U.S. forces eliminates the AA’s main source of leverage over the Assad regime and increases its vulnerability to the Turkish invasion President Erdogan has threatened. Scrambling to avoid conflict, AA officials have turned to Russia to mediate a political deal with President Assad, hoping to restore regime control to Syria’s eastern borders in exchange for self-administration.2 However, the lack of clarity over the timeline of the withdrawal means the United States maintains important influence in eastern Syria.3 Shaping the outcome of the Kurdish question at this critical juncture and preventing a new conflict in Northeast Syria are among the few remaining positive steps it can take in Syria. Although the Kurdish issue seems tangential to U.S. interests, the United States should invest in its diplomatic and military tools to facilitate a limited autonomy settlement in Northeast Syria when the area is formally reintegrated into Assad’s territory. To do so, the United States should work to discourage potential spoilers to such a deal and then forge an international coalition to act as guarantors to the agreement. Failing to secure an autonomy settlement could sow the seeds of long-lasting instability in Northeast Syria. The experience of autonomy has fanned the flames of Kurdish self-determination, and although the position of Syrian Kurds is now precarious, they are nonetheless stronger and more united than they ever have been. Throughout the conflict, they have won freedoms which Damascus long denied them and built a formidable army: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly numbers over 60,000 troops.4 Such self-determination movements do not flare out so easily. A new CSIS edited volume, Independence Movements and Their Aftermath: Self-Determination and the Struggle for Success,” shows that from Bangladesh to East Timor, governments’ attempts to curb a minority’s rights have often accelerated their push for independence.5 A U.S. abandonment of Syrian Kurds without facilitating a negotiated settlement could therefore ignite another bloody, long-term struggle for self-determination in the Middle East, with wide-reaching regional implications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Governance, Self Determination, Settlements, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Baumunk, Richard Miles, Linnea Sandin, Mark Schneider, Mia Kazman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: 2019 will be another pivotal year across the map in the Western Hemisphere. The region continues to battle several ongoing challenges: the Venezuelan crisis, the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship under new Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the rapid deterioration of Nicaragua, the fight for transparency in the Northern Triangle, and an uncertain economic horizon. Seven countries will hold national elections—Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay—each of which has the potential to affect domestic politics as well as geopolitical relations within the region.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Governance, Elections, Leadership, Election watch
  • Political Geography: South America, North America
  • Author: Richard Miles
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On October 23, 2018, with the sponsorship of Rassini, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI), hosted a conference in Mexico City on innovation. CSIS invited experts and senior government officials from Mexico and the United States to discuss the state of innovation in Mexico, how to increase it, and what the new Mexican government should do to promote it.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Innovation, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Author: Nicole Davis, Christa Twyford Gibson, Jonathan Gonzalez-Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Many international institutions—universities, foundations, companies, NGOs, and governments—would like to engage more deeply with the government of India to improve health outcomes. However, a lack of transparency, changing state-level priorities, and the absence of a single venue to learn about engagement opportunities holds back many potential partnerships. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies and Duke University’s Innovations in Healthcare have launched the “Indian States Health Innovation Partnership” to address this information gap and encourage subnational health care cooperation between Indian government entities and external partners. The primary goal of this project is to strengthen health outcomes in India by methodically identifying which Indian states are ripe for innovative partnerships with international institutions and broadcasting these opportunities publicly to spur future partnerships. In the first phase of this project, the team developed a clearer picture of India’s state-level health care reform priorities and identified specific areas for potential partnership across four categories: capacity building, organizational delivery, financing, and specific health conditions.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Health Care Policy, Innovation, Public Health
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Richard Olson, Daniel F. Runde
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This brief presents a summary of key historical events in Afghanistan since 1989 and outlines a possible worst-case scenario following a U.S. and allied withdrawal from the country. The United States, Afghanistan, and its allies must work together in search for greater Afghan self-reliance, security, and stability in order to avoid a catastrophic scenario. Only then will Afghanistan be able to free itself of foreign presences and embark on its own journey to prosperity and self-reliance.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Governance, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In January 2019, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka to “be the summit that [starts] world-wide data governance.” The rise of the data economy has driven unprecedented growth and innovation in recent decades but is also generating new policy challenges for global leaders. Figuring out how to govern the complex data ecosystem, both enabling its potential and managing its risks, is becoming a top priority for global policymakers. In partnership with the Omidyar Network, the CSIS Technology Policy Program and Project on Prosperity and Development developed a set of data governance principles for the G20 member states, which can inform the development of data governance frameworks around the world. Discussions of data governance are not happening in a vacuum. Laws, conventions, frameworks, norms, and protocols around data have existed for decades. Data governance is implicitly or explicitly wrapped up in existing governance mechanisms around privacy, digital trade and e-commerce, and human rights law. Few of these, however, anticipate emerging technology trends that have extended the reach of digital tracking into the physical world and have allowed us to derive detailed insight from the immense ocean of data generated by the digital economy. We set out to fill four key gaps in the existing global architecture of data governance. First is the need for consistency, interoperability, and coordination of the myriad international, regional, national, and local laws and regulations that impact data. The data ecosystem is fundamentally global and cross-functional, and gaps and inconsistencies between jurisdictions create uncertainty and limit the tools available to address harmful uses of data. Second, existing rules and frameworks and the current debate around data governance often focus almost exclusively on personal data and privacy with little thought to broader impacts of data, for example on competition, mobility, and trade. Third, most existing data governance frameworks, and much of the global debate around data governance, focus on controlling access to data instead of how it is used. Fourth, these debates are often framed around the rights and freedoms of data subjects at the expense of other stakeholders and society broadly. To address these gaps, we convened a series of multi-stakeholder meetings to help us identify a set of data governance principles that can be applied in a range of institutions, organizations and national and sub-national laws and regulations. Through this process, we developed ten principles, three core objectives, and seven essential mechanisms that can inform the development of consistent and effective data governance structures around the world. We have presented these principles in the form of a model G20 statement articulating the principles and the logic behind them.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Digital Economy, Digitization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Conor M. Savoy
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The rule of law plays a critical role in the functioning of a well-governed, stable country. Not only does it help to provide transparent and accountable governance and protection of minority and human rights, it is also necessary to create the conditions for private sector-led growth, job creation, and attracting foreign investment. It should come as no surprise that five of the eleven indicators used by the World Bank in its annual Doing Business report are related to the strength of legal institutions; without strong, impartial legal institutions and respect for the rule of law, private sector actors—local and foreign—cannot make the investments needed to grow economies and create employment opportunities.1 Rule of law, though, remains an area of limited investment by donors. Part of this stems from an overall lack of attention on good governance, but it also comes from a sense that genuine reform requires significant involvement in local politics, which is something that many donors have traditionally sought to avoid. There does, however, seem to be a window of opportunity to reexamine good governance and, by extension, the rule of law. Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, there have been several shifts that have created such an opening. First, the SDGs included Goal 16: Peace and Security that explicitly endorsed the need for good governance, rule of law, and strong institutions. SDG 16 represents a strong commitment on the part of the international community to supporting the creation of transparent and accountable governing institutions. Second, the 2015 Financing for Development conference held in Addis Ababa elevated the importance of domestic resource mobilization and private sector investment in creating sustainable sources of development finance.2 While strong rule of law is not sufficient on its own to mobilize these two pools of capital, it is necessary to ensure that countries can effectively utilize their own resources and investors can commit private capital securely. Third, USAID has launched a new policy framework called the Journey to Self-Reliance, which seeks to move developing countries along a path toward sustainability and off foreign assistance.3 Critical to USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance is a country’s commitment and capacity—two areas that will require significant strengthening of governance and rule of law.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Economic Growth, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Mahanty, William Meeker
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: A troubling increase in violent attacks in Niger suggests that conflict could be spilling further into the interior of the country, placing a challenge before a Nigerien government under domestic and international pressure to respond, and putting stress on a largely military that is already stretched to its limits. As the government in Niamey along with its partners in Washington and Paris formulate strategies to contend with the violence, they would be well served to ensure that additional investments in military capacity are carefully balanced with an emphasis on accountability and governance, civilian protection, and finding appropriate channels to address conflict through localized political processes.
  • Topic: Governance, Political stability, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Nicole Davis, Christa Twyford Gibson, Jonathan Gonzalez-Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Indian states control most facets of healthcare delivery. Every state has a different set of healthcare delivery gaps and priorities. Understanding these gaps can help foreign institutions target cooperation more effectively- going to the right place with the right type of cooperation. But having a base for cooperation must be paired with an effective strategy to engage India's states. Issues such as states' political timelines, shifts in key bureaucrats, and other issues can have a major impact on potential projects. In this report, Innovations in Healthcare and CSIS lay out strategies employed by a range of international institutions with current subnational partnerships in India.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Health Care Policy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite all the attention, cyberspace is far from secure. Why this is so reflects conceptual weaknesses as much as imperfect technologies. Two questions highlight shortcomings in the discussion of cybersecurity. The first is why, after more than two decades, we have not seen anything like a cyber Pearl Harbor, cyber 9/11, or cyber catastrophe, despite constant warnings. The second is why, despite the increasing quantity of recommendations, there has been so little improvement, even when these recommendations are implemented. These questions share an answer: the concepts underlying cybersecurity are an aggregation of ideas conceived in a different time, based on millennial expectations about governance and international security. Similarly, the internet of the 1990s has become “cyber,” a portmanteau term that encompassed the broad range of global economic, political, and military activities transformed by the revolution created by digital technologies. If our perceptions of the nature of cybersecurity are skewed, so are our defenses. This report examines the accuracy of our perceptions of cybersecurity. It attempts to embed the problem of cyber attack (not crime or espionage) in the context of larger strategic calculations and effects. It argues that policies and perceptions of cybersecurity are determined by factors external to cyberspace, such as political trends affecting relations among states, by thinking on the role of government, and by public attitudes toward risk. We can begin to approach the problem of cybersecurity by defining attack. While public usage calls every malicious action in cyberspace an attack, it is more accurate to define attacks as those actions using cyber techniques or tools for violence or coercion to achieve political effect. This places espionage and crime in a separate discussion (while noting that some states use crime for political ends and rampant espionage creates a deep sense of concern among states). Cyber attack does not threaten crippling surprise or existential risk. This means that the incentives for improvement that might motivate governments and companies are, in fact, much smaller than we assume. Nor is cyber attack random and unpredictable. It reflects national policies for coercion and crime. Grounding policy in a more objective appreciation of risk and intent is a first step toward better security.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Cybersecurity, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Michel
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “Fragility”—the combination of poor governance, limited institutional capability, low social cohesion, and weak legitimacy—leads to erosion of the social contract and diminished resilience, with significant implications for peace, security, and sustainable development. This study reviews how the international community has responded to this challenge and offers new ideas on how that response can be improved. Based on that examination, the author seeks to convey the importance of addressing this phenomenon as a high priority for the international community. Chapters explore the nature of these obstacles to sustainable development, peace, and security; how the international community has defined, measured, and responded to the phenomenon of fragility; how the international response might be made more effective; and implications for the United States.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Fragile States, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa. The U.S. does have other strategic priorities: competition with China and Russia, and direct military threats from states like Iran and North Korea. At the same time, the U.S. is still seeking to find some form of stable civil solution to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—as well as the conflicts Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and West Africa. Reporting by the UN, IMF, and World Bank also shows that the mix of demographic, political governance, and economic forces that created the extremist threats the U.S. and its strategic partners are now fighting have increased in much of the entire developing world since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a working paper that suggests the U.S. needs to build on the military lessons it has learned from its "long wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in order to carry out a new and different kind of “Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs,” or RCMA. This revolution involves very different kinds of warfighting and military efforts from the RMA. The U.S. must take full advantage of what it is learning about the need for different kinds of train and assist missions, the use of airpower, strategic communications, and ideological warfare. At the same time, the U.S. must integrate these military efforts with new civilian efforts that address the rise of extremist ideologies and internal civil conflicts. It must accept the reality that it is fighting "failed state" wars, where population pressures and unemployment, ethnic and sectarian differences, critical problems in politics and governance, and failures to meet basic economic needs are a key element of the conflict. In these elements of conflict, progress must be made in wartime to achieve any kind of victory, and that progress must continue if any stable form of resolution is to be successful.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Military Strategy, Governance, Military Affairs, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Somalia, Sundan
  • Author: Richard Downie
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the past decade, donors and companies have begun to build viable coffee and cocoa sectors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The locus of activity has been in eastern Congo, where decades of conflict and poor governance have displaced populations and ruined livelihoods. While the political and security environment in the DRC does not favor large-scale cash crop production, the climatic conditions do. Eastern Congo, particularly the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, produces excellent coffee and cocoa. Furthermore, eastern Congo has a successful history of large-scale coffee production, first under the Belgian colonists, then in the first decades of independence before the sector fell apart under President Mobuto Sese Seko. The recent entry into eastern Congo of development dollars and private-sector partners, ranging from small traders to retail giants like Starbucks, has provided a foundation to expand the DRC’s agricultural export sector. These groups and individuals have taken a risk on a country that has largely been written off by an international community disillusioned by endemic crisis and corruption. Now it is up to the DRC to reward this show of faith by taking steps to attract a larger pool of investors focused on achieving both financial returns and positive social impact. The DRC can only do this by forging a vision for the cash crop sector, putting its own resources into its development, and taking actions to improve the business environment. Any credible strategy for expanding the agricultural export economy in eastern Congo must be centered on sustainable growth that benefits smallholder farmers and their communities and helps cement peace in a volatile region. With future global supplies of coffee and cocoa threatened by farmer poverty, the impact of climate change, and corporate doubts about the sectors’ profitability, the DRC can create a market opportunity for itself, provided it shows vision and intelligence. If the DRC can learn from mistakes made by other producing nations, it has the potential to build a thriving cash crop sector that not only benefits the national economy but improves the lives of some of its most vulnerable citizens. Realizing this vision, however, will not be easy. Daunting barriers stand in the way of a large, successful cash crop sector. Farmers are poor, lack support, and struggle to access finance. Their trees are old, badly maintained, and low-yielding. Companies worry about the expense and logistical challenges of getting produce out of the country, at volume. Insecurity and poor governance create a level of unpredictability that deters potential investors. This report weighs up the size of these risks, compared with the opportunities on offer, and suggests some strategies for overcoming them. Material is drawn from expert interviews and a literature review of global best practices in the coffee and cocoa sectors. The evidence suggests that expectations for the DRC should be realistic. Eastern Congo is highly unlikely to become the next Colombia of coffee production or displace Côte d’Ivoire as the world’s leading source of cocoa. Nevertheless, there is potential to scale up coffee and cocoa production in the DRC in a sustainable way that improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Success will depend on: Effective partnerships between donors, private-sector actors all the way along the value chain, and the Congolese government, which must lay out a compelling strategy for expanding the agricultural export sector and rally support around it. Sustained training of farmers and cooperatives that increases production of coffee and cocoa without compromising on quality. Increasing the flow of capital into eastern Congo’s agricultural sector by deploying new, innovative financing mechanisms and technologies. Finding new ways to market Congolese products that connect with consumers and shift a greater share of value chain profits toward smallholder farmers.
  • Topic: Privatization, Governance, Trade, Coffee, Cocoa
  • Political Geography: Africa, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Nicholas Harrington
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Middle East has long been one of the most unstable regions in the world, and there are no present prospects for change in the near future. This instability is the result of ongoing conflicts and tensions, and a variety of political tensions and divisions. It also, however, is the result of a wide variety of long-term pressures growing out of poor governance, corruption, economic failures, demographic pressures and other forces within the civil sector.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Jane Nakano
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This report provides a summary of the discussion from a CSIS roundtable held on April 13, 2018, as part of the CSIS-Pertamina Energy Initiative. The discussion brought together government, industry, and policy experts to explore the outlook for the region’s energy mix out to 2040, the state of renewable energy in Southeast Asia, and its role in the region’s energy priorities. This was the first in a series of events that will be convened this year to examine the role of renewable energy in Southeast Asia and its security, economic, and political importance in the Indo-Pacific. Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. The region’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 66 percent from 2006 to 2015, and if all 10 countries were one economy, it would be the seventh-largest in the world. This growth is projected to increase, averaging just over 5 percent annually from 2018 to 2022. With economic growth comes demand for energy. From 2000 to 2016, economic growth in Southeast Asia drove a 70 percent increase in primary energy demand. Governments in Southeast Asia have implemented a range of policies and incentives to ensure they meet their energy demand. Renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and sometimes hydro and biomass) is capturing an increasing, although not dominant, amount of attention from policymakers, investors, and the private sector as an important part of meeting this demand. Renewable energy’s share of the electric power mix is driven by a range of factors—the economics of power generation, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy security concerns, and concerns over local air pollution. While renewable energy is set to grow as a share of the region’s energy mix, there are indications that its potential contribution is much higher than is currently on track to be realized. Renewable energy increasingly competes on an economic basis in many countries against all fuels except coal, but sometimes political and socioeconomic factors stand in the way of improving their competitiveness in specific markets. The region is also attracting a great deal of outside investor interest. Countries from around the region and ever farther afield are investing in Southeast Asia’s energy sector because of the rapid growth experienced over the last decade and half, and their investment priorities, along with economics, shape their investment decisions in Southeast Asia. Energy policy and investment decisions are also being driven by the shifting nature of supply-and-demand balances in each country and the shifting domestic realities that come from becoming a net importer of specific fuels, such as in Indonesia. Many Southeast Asian countries have integrated low- or zero-carbon renewable energy into their energy planning efforts, and this report examines the dynamics of the power sector in Southeast Asia and how renewable energy competes with fossil fuel sources of electricity.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Oil, Governance, Gas, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Indo-Pacific