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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