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  • 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: Adam Moe Fejerskov, Dane Fetterer
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Danish civil-society organisations have initiated a multitude of tech and innovation projects in recent years. Now is the time to focus efforts on clear strategic objectives in order to generate tangible impacts. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Strategically align innovation work around the core priorities of the organisation, rather than pursuing a shotgun approach that chases disparate innovations across a field of interests. ■ Expand the scope of innovation beyond radical technology to include operational approaches, methodologies and theories of change as well. ■ Localize innovation by involving local partners and beneficiaries not just in needs assessments but in innovating solutions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Beirut Port blast (BPB) has revealed the fundamental failure of the Lebanese political system, but deep democratic reforms will take time and are fraught with risks. Given the US withdrawal and the extreme tensions in the region, the EU has a critical role to play in addressing the short-term humanitarian crisis, responding to the economic and financial situation, and providing a forum for civil society empowerment. If it fails to do so, the price is further geopolitical destabilization.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Geopolitics, Finance, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon
  • 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: Ayanda Ntsaluba
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Recognition of the nexus between foreign policy and public health is not new; it has found episodic expression that tended to dissipate, only to re-emerge with time. This has been the case because traditional notions of advancing national interests through foreign policy have tended to be anchored around the fields of trade and defence, with health seen as part of so-called “low politics”. This has tended to underplay the foreign policy dimensions of health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Ebola, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Julius Tsal
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi initiated people-to-people (P2P) exchanges to the United States for agricultural scientists and university leaders from the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia. An initial study tour in the spring of 2018 focused on mitigating the devastating agricultural damage from the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), and a second tour in the fall of 2018 focused on higher education leadership. Despite political sensitivities and logistical hurdles, such people-to-people programs increase participants’ understanding of the United States and give them an unbiased, first-hand experience of American civil society, its culture of innovation and democratic values. For otherwise isolated Abkhaz thought leaders, these experiences directly counter Russian anti-Western propaganda and demonstrate the benefits of Georgia’s pro-Western choice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Imperialism, Propaganda
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia, North America
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Along with Vladimir Putinʼs third presidential term, intensified repression has manifested itself in line with the countryʼs increasing economic challenges. The starting point for this political trend was the so-called Bolotnaya Affair in May 2012. Since then, the regime has tightened the screws: non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding must register as ‘foreign agents’; there are numerous restrictions on the use of the internet, as well as conditions for organizing demonstrations. The regimeʼs policies aim to send signals to the rest of society about the serious consequences that unwanted political and civic activities might cause. However, measures become inflated when the repressive deterrent targets too many. By 2019, along with the changed social mood, unparalleled solidarity against repressive policies, particularly around the regional elections in Moscow, has forced the authorities to retreat from some of their initial repressive goals. The Kremlin duly has to re-evaluate the usage of its repressive deterrent against the political opposition and civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Repression, Fear, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Anton Barbashin, Alexander Graef
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last decade Russian foreign policy has taken critical turns, surprising not only the entire international community but also Russia’s own foreign policy experts. Arguably, the most notable turn came in March 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, setting in motion developments that are continuously shaping Russia, its neighbors, and, to a certain degree, global affairs. Clearly, Russia’s post-Crimean foreign policy does not exist in a vacuum. Its ramifications are colliding with regional and global trends that are effectively destabilizing the post-Cold War international order, creating uncertainties that are defining the contemporary international moment. In this report, we deal with those whose job it is to explain the logic of Russia’s foreign policy turns and to analyze global trends and their meaning for Russia and the rest of the world. Although these experts, as a rule, do not directly influence political decision-making, their debates, as Graeme Herd argues, “set the parameters for foreign policy choices” and “shape elite and public perceptions of the international environment” in Russia.1 Especially in times of crisis and rapid change ideas produced at some earlier stage by experts and think tanks external to the state bureaucracy can suddenly obtain instrumental value and direct policy options. In Part 1, we briefly discuss the role of think tanks in Russian foreign policymaking and present the landscape of Russian think tanks working on foreign policy issues. We distinguish among three basic institutional forms: academic and university-based think tanks, private think tanks, and state-sponsored think tanks. Highlighting the diversity of organizations, we then focus on four state-sponsored think tanks whose size, political contacts, and financial means allow them to dominate the think tank scene in Russia and that represent different ideological angles of a broad, yet also comparatively volatile mainstream: the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SVOP), the Valdai Discussion Club, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI). Part 2 follows this selection by looking at Russian foreign policy debates since 2014. We consider how experts writing for these four organizations have approached three major themes: the evolution of the concept of Greater Europe and European Union (EU)-Russia relations, the establishment of the Greater Eurasia narrative in the context of Russia’s declared pivot to the East, and the concepts of multipolarity and the liberal world order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Diplomacy, Norms
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Cengiz Günay
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: Many documents, programs and strategies of the European Union highlight the importance of civil society as an element of democracy promotion. In this short article I deal with the question of what civil society actually is and whether the idea of civil society as a motor of democratization is still a valid presumption. Civil society is an often mentioned but essentially contested concept. As the term is characterized by a plurality of different meanings that depend on the historical, cultural and legal context, there is no single, generally accepted concept that defines civil society. It remains rather unclear whether civil society includes any form of non-governmental organiza-tion (NGO), such as business people’s associations, syndicates or trade unions. Is the media part of civil society or does the concept refer exclusively to NGOs that address specific societal issues? Does the concept only refer to institutionalized and licensed organizations and associations or are social movements, thematic platforms, informal networks and other un-institutionalized forma-tions also part of civil society? After all, they do often fulfill the same functions as civil society organizations (CSOs). And how about religious organizations, are they also part of civil society?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mediterranean
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America