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  • Author: Yasmina Abouzzohour
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Oman is often portrayed as an “oasis of peace” that is immune to dissent. In fact, this assertion is an oversimplification and this paper provides a more discerning analysis of the relationship between the regime and opposition actors – such as youth groups, industrial workers, and intellectuals – that have led contestations in the last decade. It overviews the Omani political context, highlights recent episodes of contestation, and examines how the regime successfully contained them. It argues that in the coming years, the regime is likely to face heightened discontent triggered by socioeconomic hardship and it will be essential for the authorities to open the political sphere and stop repressing free speech.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Oman, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jessica Corredor Villamil, Meghan Morris
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Dejusticia
  • Abstract: This book explores these questions through the narratives of young human rights advocates from the global South—from Nigeria to the Philippines to India to Chile. The authors discuss the latent structural inequalities that the pandemic has deepened, exposed, or suppressed, as well as those that broke people’s already fragile trust in governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations. They also explore the strategies of resilience and creative social organizing that have helped confront the pandemic around the globe. The contributors to this book, writing from different perspectives, invite us to consider what we can learn from the interplay between the pandemic and inequality in order to spur a creative reorientation of collective mobilization and advocacy toward the future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Social Movement, Political Activism, Advocacy, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Global South
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the European Union (EU) debates its new post-2020 funding instruments, EU civil society support faces a pivotal moment. The union has been fine-tuning this support in recent years and is now contemplating further reforms. Civil society around the world is undergoing far-reaching changes as new types of informal activism emerge, governments try to constrict civic activity, and digital technology has major political implications. Against this backdrop, this analysis proposes ten practical ideas for how EU civil society assistance needs to evolve. It focuses on the countries that fall under the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)—Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans—and the six states of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. This research examines how EU funding mechanisms need to change and assesses whether current financing proposals are likely to be beneficial or damaging. It suggests how the EU can overcome the main challenges of supporting newer forms of activism. And it explores how the EU can best help civil society to resist the heightened repression it faces in most IPA and EaP states. To improve its civil society assistance, the EU should: 1. tie critical measures to civil society support; 2. set minimum thresholds for mainstreaming; 3. engage with unfamiliar civil society partners; 4. define clearer rules on government-organized nongovernmental organizations (GONGOs); 5. focus on systemic resilience; 6. help local fund raising; 7. widen support networks; 8. better connect civil society to politics; 9. assess the civil society impacts of other EU policies; and 10. link civil society to foreign policy. This publication does not attempt to give a comprehensive or detailed account of all aspects of EU civil society support—something Carnegie has covered elsewhere.1 Rather, it offers a snapshot of the current state of play in this area of policy at a moment when the EU is debating significant changes and is set to make decisions that will affect the future course of its civil society support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Balkans, European Union
  • Author: James Pamment
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The EU Code of Practice on Disinformation (COP) produced mixed results. Self-regulation was a logical and necessary first step, but one year on, few of the stakeholders seem fully satisfied with the process or outcome. Strong trust has not been built between industry, governments, academia, and civil society. Most importantly, there is more to be done to better protect the public from the potential harms caused by disinformation. As with most new EU instruments, the first year of COP implementation has been difficult, and all indications are that the next year will be every bit as challenging. This working paper offers a nonpartisan briefing on key issues for developing EU policy on disinformation. It is aimed at the incoming European Commission (EC), representatives of member states, stakeholders in the COP, and the broader community that works on identifying and countering disinformation. PCIO is an initiative of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and does not speak on behalf of industry or any government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Cooperation, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of income inequality in Latin America over the long run, comparing them with explanations of why the whole region is unequal. I first show how land inequality can account for differences between Latin America and other parts of the world but how it does not explain within-region differences. Using qualitative comparative analysis, I then consider how political institution and actors interact with the economic structure (i.e., type of export specialization) and with the ethnic composition of the population. The paper has several findings. A low indigenous/afrodescendant population is a necessary condition for relatively low inequality. I identify two sufficient-condition paths, both of which include the role of democracy, political equality, and a small indigenous and afrodescendant population. The first path also includes a favorable export specialization, while the second one includes the presence of leftist presidents instead. The paper calls for more explicit comparisons between our analytical models for the whole region and our explanations of between-country differences. Hopefully, the paper can also trigger more research on how the interactions between ethnicity, politics, and the export structure shape inequality in Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Race, Social Movement, Democracy, Inequality, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: José Francisco Alvarado Cóbar
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: In order to have a more nuanced understanding of inclusive peace processes, it is important to understand how civil society can connect to formal peace negotiations. The Colombian peace negotiation process is highly regarded as one of the most inclusive processes; involving civil society groups from diverse backgrounds, including both women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/ transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) groups. But how do these groups leverage influence among the main conflict actors, and what specific challenges and opportunities do they face? This paper applies a conflict resolution and negotiation framework to assess the involvement of women’s and LGBTI groups in the most recent Colombian peace negotiation process. In doing so, the suggested framework provides a practical application of conflict resolution and negotiation strategies that can further complement discussions on inclusion of marginalized groups in other peace negotiation processes.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development, Gender Issues, Governance, Women, Negotiation, LGBT+, Peace
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Sophie Pornschlegel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Civil society is a crucial ally in safeguarding and upholding the European Union's (EU) values. And although the EU, and in particular the European Commission, has made a conscious effort to support civil society organisations (CSOs) across Europe, it has not been enough to counter the phenomenon of 'shrinking spaces' effectively. As the COVID-19 crisis is likely to harm civil society across Europe, through the growing restrictions on civil liberties and the subsequent economic recession, the need for better and more comprehensive support has never been more urgent. Within the realm of the Treaties, the EU institutions could take a range of measures to improve its civil society support. It could come up with a more comprehensive strategy outlining its approach towards civil society; provide adequate and flexible financial resources to respond to the needs of CSOs; and improve its dialogue processes, to 'CSO-proof' its legislation but also to benefit from the bridge-building function of civil society, thereby linking the EU's support for civil society to its attempts to improve democratic participation. While the newly presented recovery instrument and the revised proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) are important steps to provide the necessary help for European societies and economies to recover, civil society support does not seem to be a priority. This is a dangerous omission. The EU must recognise the value of civil society in safeguarding democratic principles and upholding the Union's core principles. If it fails to better support CSOs through this challenging time, the EU will be able to do little else but stand and watch as democratic backsliding intensifies across member states and, in some cases, will eventually tip over into a downward spiral towards authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Global Recession, Authoritarianism, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mahjoob Zweiri
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Iran’s regional role in MENA is influenced by the evolution of its state-society relations and shifts within its state institutions. This paper argues that the growing regional role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a reflection of the militarization and securitization of the Iranian political system. Conversely, frustration by segments of the Iranian population with the political system’s inability to deliver economically has increasingly manifested itself in criticism and contestation of the regime’s regional role.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Regional Cooperation, Authoritarianism, Militarization
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Nizar Saghieh, Jamil Mouawad
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This interview with lawyer and Executive Director of “The Legal Agenda” Nizar Saghieh addresses the most important dimensions of accountability following the economic and financial crisis that Lebanon is suffering. It expands the notions of justice, lack of trust in the judiciary, and widespread corruption while attempting to create hope by emphasizing the vitality of a civil society brought once more to the fore by the “17 October Uprising.” Rather than a mere uprising against power, this is now known as the revolution that revived and rebuilt society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Financial Crisis, Social Movement, Protests, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Ruben Carranza, Mohamed Azer Zouari
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: Building on its work in Tunisia since 2012, ICTJ met with representatives of youth-led civil society organizations and social movements and state institutions involved in pursuing accountability for Ben Ali-era corruption. This paper focuses on the strategies and insights that members of the youth-led organizations and movements shared in these discussions. It seeks to call attention to their larger revolutionary goals and to offer ways for policymakers, advocates, and donors to support these goals in their transitional justice work.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Transitional Justice, Youth, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Global Focus