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  • Author: Amanda Lenhardt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has turned all countries’ attention to mitigating the impacts of the crisis, and with this attention has come a wave of finance to address the immediate health risks of the disease and the indirect effects on economies and on well-being. With this influx of spending on welfare and resilience, many have looked on with hope that this collective effort can be done in such a way that the world can ‘build back better.’ But, like any building project, the foundation is critical. This paper sets out to investigate whether countries are investing in the foundational social and economic structures that have led to the vulnerabilities currently upending people’s lives. Failure to address the structural inequalities embedded within societies and across the global political economic structure will ultimately leave the new structure vulnerable to collapse in the long term, and risks exposing marginalized groups to the harshest impacts of the crisis in the short term.
  • Topic: Economy, Crisis Management, COVID-19, Marginalization, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: South Asia, East Asia, South Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Erin McCandless
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: States and societies are in crisis around the world, as questions arise around the nature and quality of existing social contracts. COVID-19 has laid bare profound vulnerabilities within and across societies. The global pandemic is revealing deep failures in policy visions, institutional fragility, and incapacities of states to harness societal compliance where trust and a sense of national belonging is weak. At the same time, our interdependencies have never been so clear, as all countries, developed and underdeveloped alike, confront similar challenges. Crisis, however, offers opportunity to do things better, to build forward better – strengthening social contracts at all levels. How then, can social contracts, and compacting in times of crisis, offer pathways to address inequality and exclusion? This paper considers how social contracts can offer frameworks to foster new thinking and shape transformative policy to build more inclusive societies. Such frameworks should tie bold new policy visions to robust and resilient institutional arrangements that uproot harmful structural legacies with lasting effect for inclusive and peaceful societies. They must also offer means to address material conditions of inequality, and those related to recognition, identity, and dignity. The cases of South Africa, Tunisia, Colombia, and South Korea reveal that, while not easy nor predictable, such pathways exist. Key findings in this briefing include: Inequality and exclusion stem from policy choices and are fueled by corruption; they undermine foundations of inclusive and resilient national social contracts, e.g. trust in government and societal willingness to consent to difficult policy choices; Participation in formal electoral processes is declining while protest is rising, indicating a lack of faith in existing politics and institutional mechanisms for resolving conflict and fostering consensual politics; and Civil society movements in and across countries are advancing more inclusive social contracts that tackle vulnerability and risk through a variety of innovative means that deserve greater support.
  • Topic: Peace, Justice, Social Contract, COVID-19, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, East Asia, South Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Ian Goldin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: With each new year of data, and each new intergovernmental report, it becomes harder to deny the scale and urgency of the energy transition required to prevent catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges countries to take action to prevent a rise in temperature by more than 1.5°C, and warns of catastrophic consequences of a rise above 2°C. Yet current policies and pledges fall far short of hitting these targets. Worse, since harmful climate change is caused by the stock of carbon in the atmosphere, the longer we delay measures to limit the flow of new carbon into the atmosphere, the more drastic those measures will have to be. This uneven distribution of threat and responsibility raises difficult questions. Developed countries are generally more advanced in their transition to renewables, which means that some of the cheapest opportunities to reduce emissions are in developing countries. Yet the fact remains that developed countries are responsible for a larger share of historic emissions—and developing countries may have a right to pursue development unhindered, as developed countries did in earlier decades. There are therefore several elements of the “just transition” in energy. The world needs to transition to cleaner energy, and the developing world needs to keep developing, all while supporting the countries and communities that bear the highest costs of mitigation measures—and supporting those areas already beginning to feel the negative effects of climate change. This report will outline the key challenges and opportunities and conclude with a series of practical steps available to policymakers.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Security, Crisis Management, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, South Asia, Middle East, India, East Asia, South Africa, Latin America, West Africa, United States of America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: David Steven, Alejandra Kubitschek Bujones
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In October 2013, Ambassadors from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries in the United Nations (GRULAC), their key negotiators from respective capitals, civil society representatives, and UN System agencies from the region held a retreat on the Post-2015 Agenda.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Latin America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Alex Evans, David Steven
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The Rio 2012 summit on sustainable development is now one year away. Over two decades since the 1992 'Earth Summit', sustainable development has not materialized: as global GDP has risen, so have greenhouse gas emissions, species loss and environmental degradation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America