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  • Author: Ellinore Ahlgren
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether frequent engagement with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the body of independent experts monitoring the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is linked to improved compliance with women’s rights commitments. It further explores whether the relationship between treaty body interaction and compliance holds for states that have made reservations to articles concerning women’s rights. Data from state reports submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and indicators from the Social Institutions and Gender Index show that frequent engagement with the body is associated with improved equality for women, irrespective of state reservations. The results from this study challenge the idea that reservations undermine global governance regimes and are detrimental to human rights. Finally, this paper illustrates how compliance mechanisms work using a case study from Iraq. Through participation in the report-and-review process, states engage in negotiation around contentious areas of women’s rights with experts, civil society and the public, which facilitates respect for women’s rights.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Governance, Women, Compliance, Case Study
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Rachel Lastinger, Sandra Urquiza
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Election observers are a crucial mechanism for transparency in the electoral process and can play a key role in electoral reform. In the United States, election observers’ findings can be more efficiently utilized to catalyze needed reform. The Carter Center has observed over 113 elections and supported citizen observer efforts in various countries. Drawing from this international experience, we suggest that US election observers can monitor the electoral process beyond election day, from voter registration to election dispute resolution and have a similar impact on electoral reform and integrity.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Law, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America
  • Author: Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Tani Sebro
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Myanmar’s recent military coup has, for now, ended the country’s brief ten-year experiment with democracy. But the military junta did not anticipate a massive country-wide social movement against the brazen power-grab, in which millions have taken to the streets. As protests continue in urban centers, a trans-ethnic and pro-poor solidarity movement is emerging. Myanmar’s most excluded subjects, many of whom watch the protests from refugee camps, are now weighing both the possibilities and precariousness that the coup entails.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Minorities, Displacement, Conflict, Coup
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar, Oceania
  • Author: Paulina García-Del Moral
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Mexican feminists have used the hashtag “la policía no me cuida, me cuidan mis amigas” (police do not protect me, my female friends do) to denounce and document sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of police and the sharp increase in police repression against feminist demonstrations. The repression of these feminist demonstrations suggests a new and disturbing pattern of the criminalization of women’s right to mobilize.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Law, Women, Feminism, Conflict, Police, Girls
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Julia-Silvana Hofstetter
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The wide availability of digital technologies is increasingly impacting the work of peacebuilders, altering both peacebuilding practices and conflict dynamics. The malicious use of technology – from the weaponization of social media to digital authoritarianism and cyberattacks – poses new threats to peaceful societies and urges peacebuilders to consider new fields of action in cyberspace. However, digitalization has also brought major innovations to the work of peacebuilders, establishing a new field of practice, ‘digital peacebuilding’. Many of the innovative uses of peace technologies – for conflict prevention, transformation and reconciliation – have been driven by civil society organizations, who are at the forefront of addressing the rising threat of digital conflict drivers, too. This report provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges digital technologies create for peacebuilders, discusses how they alter the role of civil society, and proposes future directions for the digital peacebuilding agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Peace, Digitization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Sperber, Gwyneth McClendon, O'Brien Kaaba
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A significant literature suggests that religious conviction can drive political participation, perhaps because religious people internalize a moral obligation to act toward the common good and/or because religious conviction gives people a sense that their actions will make a difference. This paper presents findings from a community-collaborative pilot study in Zambia that examines these ideas. Zambia is an overwhelmingly Christian state experiencing dramatic democratic backsliding. Zambian churches are among the major providers of civic engagement education and programming. Together with our community partners, we randomly assigned Zambian youth (aged 18-35) volunteers into one-time civic engagement workshops. Identical basic civic educational material was presented in each workshop. Yet, we ended this curriculum with two different sets of pre-recorded Christian motivational messages: In 50% of the workshops, these messages emphasized a religious obligation to sacrifice for the common good. In the other 50%, the messages emphasized the power of faith to make change in the world. We found that the latter message (emphasizing the power of faith) moved workshop participants to be more willing to participate in peaceful protest, to disavow political violence, and to critically evaluate other people who choose not to participate in electoral politics. By contrast, the message focused on sacrifice for the common good did not affect political participation relative to baseline. We discuss how the study advances research on religion and political participation as well as knowledge about Christian civic education programs, which are prevalent but understudied throughout.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Religion, Democracy, Youth
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Andrzej Dąbrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The development of U.S.-Belarus relations has been hampered by the events following the Belarusian presidential election in August 2020. In response to the Lukashenka regime’s violation of human rights, the U.S. extended a set of sanctions against the country and will most likely reinstate suspended economic restrictions. At the same time, the Biden administration will expand support for civil society, which creates a point of cooperation with Poland and the EU to coordinate aid activities and build international support for democratic changes in Belarus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Elections
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, North America, Belarus, United States of America
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the rigged presidential elections in August 2020, the public protests against Alexander Lukashenka have continued. The Belarusian authorities have responded with repression, detaining protesters and independent journalists. Despite Lukashenka’s calls to reform the constitution, he also tries to postpone this process. The European Union should increase its support to civil society and keep demanding the Belarusian authorities respect human rights.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, European Union, Protests
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Belarus
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The progressive camp in Israel has been trying for years to find its way back to the corridors of power and influence, so far unsuccessfully. Those seeking strategies and tactics for change often wonder whether the solution to Israel’s problems will emerge from without, for example driven by international pressure, or from within, by convincing and mobilizing the Israeli public. A third option to this dichotomy has emerged in recent years in the shape of combined and coordinated moves both within Israeli society and in cooperation with allies abroad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Nationalism, Politics, Partnerships, Populism, Progressivism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Brigitte Dekker, Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: pen, safe and inclusive digital connectivity and engage with the region’s thriving digital economies. While Indo-Pacific countries have called for greater maritime presence by European countries in their increasingly contested waters, European actors may have more to offer in the less-discussed but equally contested high-tech and digital domains. Recognizing the opportunities and disruptions that accompany the digital transition and green transformation globally, the EU and its member states need to increase their engagement with governments, commercial and civil-society stakeholders and networks in the Indo-Pacific on a broad array of digitalization issues.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Sofia Koller
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In tertiary prevention of Islamist extremism, civil society and governmental exit programs support individuals (and their families) who wish to disengage from violent extremist groups and distance themselves from extremist ideologies. Exit work and successful reintegration into society involves security agencies as well es very practical elements provided by municipal actors, public services, and civil society organizations. Effective cooperation between civil society and governmental actors including statutory bodies is crucial but can be challenging.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Government, Violent Extremism, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands
  • Author: Erica Chenoweth, Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: This monograph is based on an ICNC-sponsored multi-year research project that examines the effects of different forms of external aid on the outcomes and longer-term impacts of civil resistance campaigns. Very little research has systematically investigated the impacts of external support on the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. Existing research reaches somewhat contradictory conclusions, with some finding that external support for nonviolent campaigns is harmful, that external support is sometimes helpful, or that external support has little observable effect. This study assesses different types of external assistance—material and non-material—to civil resistance movements offered by state and non-state actors at different stages: pre-, during and post-conflict periods. It further evaluates the impact of the specific type of aid, its timing and provisions by different actors on the overall trajectories of civil resistance campaigns and their outcomes.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Foreign Aid, Non State Actors, Resistance, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Beer
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who is studying or practicing nonviolent action. For scholars of civil resistance: This monograph updates Gene Sharp’s 1973 seminal work The Methods of Nonviolent Action, reworking Sharp’s classifications to include 148 additional tactics (methods). For trainers and teachers: Brief yet comprehensive, this overview explains the mechanisms by which nonviolent tactics succeed and allows students to differentiate the immense field of nonviolent action from institutionalized lobbying, electioneering, legal fights, and armed conflict. For activists: This resource, in conjunction with Nonviolence International’s voluminous Nonviolent Tactics Database and Organizing & Training Archive, enlarges the activist toolbox and focuses on the central role of tactics in organizing strategic campaigns for success and power. This monograph will serve as a foundational text not only “in the field” of action, but also in classrooms studying nonviolent action, civil resistance, peacebuilding, and creative conflict resolution around the world.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Resistance, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chris Allan, A. Scott DuPree
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Nonviolent resistance movements operate with few resources and nearly no money. Yet these movements thrive and often succeed. The little external funding for civil society that is available rarely reaches the grassroots groups that are the backbone of these movements. How do they get the material resources they need? This study highlights strategies that are being used effectively by nonviolent movements to mobilize the resources they need to galvanize participation in movement actions and influence both the public and policymakers. Based on the experience of three campaigns in Northwest Mexico over two decades, the research finds that material resources are often mobilized internally in a decentralized way, driven by effective strategic planning and actions. We discuss the strategic choices nonviolent movements make to mobilize resources and how they direct them as situations change, and how outside supporters can provide resources in a constructive way.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Social Movement, Resistance, Nonviolence
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • 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: Carina Radler, Christina Riegler, Eithne Knappitsch, Johannes Maerk, Klara Koštal, Veronika Bernard
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: What do intercultural trends and social changes in the Euro-Med region mean for Austria? The Intercultural Trends Report is a scientific report by the Anna Lindh Foundation, which shows the common ideas, attitudes, fears and hopes of young people from the Euro-Med region. In the online event, the Intercultural Trends Report 2020 was presented, discussed with the members of the Austrian network and put into practice. The report specifically addresses the opportunities, challenges and future collaborations that arise from the dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean region. The aim is to identify exemplary examples that youth and civil society in the Euro-Med region can continue to pursue in the future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Culture, Youth, Intercultural Dialogue
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mediterranean
  • Author: Moussa Sall, Intissar Fakir, Hajar Khamlichi, Thowaba Ben Slema, Houssem Hamdi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Across the MENA region, civil society plays a key role in putting climate on the agenda for governments and the private sector. How are activists and advocates in North Africa building momentum in their communities and globally to address climate change? How can social media, film, and art bridge gaps and create a global demand for greater sustainability? Intissar Fakir will be joined in conversation with leading figures in the fight for climate action in North Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Arts, Social Media, Film, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Joseph Kone
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Since the end of its civil war in 2011 and the installation of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, Côte d’Ivoire has seen one of the highest rates of economic growth in Africa, sometimes referred to as a new “Ivoirian miracle” (Dionne & Bamba, 2017). As the economy has grown and the state has rebuilt capacity, tax revenues have increased steadily, growing by 37% between 2013 and 2017. In many African states, «import and export taxes constitute the backbone of tax regimes. Revenues are supplemented by indirect taxes, in the form of excise and sales taxes» (D’Arcy, 2011). In the case of Côte d’Ivoire, the government relies heavily on taxes on the export of cocoa and other agricultural products, in addition to taxes on industrial and commercial profits, income, telecommunications, petroleum products, imports, as well as a value-added tax (Ministère du Budget et du Portefeuille de l’Etat, 2020). Even in states with high levels of coercive capacity, citizens’ willingness to pay taxes is a significant determinant of revenues collected. This willingness becomes even more important in contexts of relatively low state capacity, such as has existed in post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, a substantial – and growing – proportion of Ivoirians question the state’s right to collect taxes, a fact that could present a significant challenge to the government’s ability to collect revenues in order to rebuild essential state services and avoid excessive debt. This paper focuses on a particular form of tax non-compliance: tax disobedience, or individuals’ refusal to pay taxes and fees as a form of protest. Specifically, it examines several individual-level factors that might be associated with tax disobedience, including lack of a cash income, assessments of public services and elected representatives, accessibility of information, and effective connections with the Ivoirian nation. Our analyses of data from the Afrobarometer Round 7 survey (2017) suggest that some of the conventional wisdom on tax compliance is not supported in the case of tax disobedience in Côte d’Ivoire. While we find, as expected, that individuals who think state performance is improving in delivering key services are less likely to express a willingness to engage in tax disobedience, we find no such link with lived poverty; poorer Ivoirians are no more or less likely than their wealthier counterparts to endorse tax disobedience. Surprisingly, assessments of elected representatives and of corruption in the tax system are not significantly associated with tax disobedience, either. Perceived access to government information and identification with the Ivoirian nation do show associations with tax disobedience, but these links run counter to our expectations: Citizens who think they could access information held by public bodies are significantly more likely to say they engaged or would engage in tax disobedience, as are people who identify more closely with the nation than with their ethnic group. These analyses suggest the need for more research on a crucial question facing African states: Who pays taxes, and who doesn’t?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Tax Systems, Revenue Management, Tax Evasion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • 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: Ivona Shushak Lozanovska, Vesna Shapkoski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: The international community has significantly increased its focus on the improvement of justice systems around the world, in recent years. With the increase in effort and interventions in the sector, there has been a need to create tools to assess justice systems, to identify the main elements affecting the workings of the justice machinery. In a context of increasing interest and engagement in justice systems reform, the ability of citizens to access justice institutions to address their needs has come to be seen as an essential element of development, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The Republic of North Macedonia has been dedicated in a certain amount to improving the access to justice following these global trends. However, the pandemic has brought to the surface many obstacles in the realization of these efforts and imposed serious issues that need to be further solved. In this paper, we will elaborate on the present situation in North Macedonia from the personal experience of law clinics and civil society organizations that work and contribute closely on this issue. Furthermore, we will identify particular points that need to be advanced and relevant stakeholders to be engaged, to improve the situation, and bring justice closer to everyone.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Justice, Pandemic, COVID-19, Legal Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Macedonia
  • Author: Marta Abrantes Mendes
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Based on interviews with key Yemeni civil society organizations, the report finds that much more is needed to support a Yemeni-led vision of justice and accountability. After registering a diversity of views amongst Yemeni civil society—from a need to address the economic and social costs of the conflict to the role of civil society in any future transitional justice processes—this report also highlights the obstacles facing Yemeni civil society. Additionally, the report proposes more tactics and strategies for supporting Yemeni civil society and victims’ groups, and to ensure they have an influence over the contours of an eventual peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Accountability, Justice
  • Political Geography: Yemen
  • 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: Abigail Bellows, Nada Zohdy
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The pandemic is spurring elite and grassroots civic actors to cooperate more, but the gulf between them remains wide. Civic actors must seize the opportunity for reform on open government issues. From Africa to Latin America to Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has generated a surge in public demand for government transparency and accountability. To seize this window for reform, elite and grassroots civic actors concerned with open governance must overcome the cleavage that has long existed between them. Thus far, the pandemic has catalyzed some new civic collaborations, but not at the scale or depth needed to seize that window. In general, civil society groups report feeling more isolated during the pandemic. In some places, the urgency of tackling open government issues during the pandemic has helped overcome that isolation by deepening partnerships among existing networks. But in other places, those partnerships have yet to take shape, and new alliances are less likely to form without the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Even the partnerships that have crystallized or deepened do not appear to be changing the fundamental roles of elite and grassroots civic actors. It is possible that this shift may happen over time. Or it may be that the pandemic alone is not enough to dislodge structural barriers to deeper cooperation. The pandemic has dramatically changed the operations of elite and grassroots actors alike. The impact of those changes on collaboration between the two depends on preexisting levels of technological capacity. In places with limited connectivity, the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, adversely affecting grassroots actors. Meanwhile, in places with good connectivity, technology is enabling broader (though shallower) participation, laying the groundwork for more elite-grassroots collaboration. Although many civil society groups are struggling financially during the pandemic, those effects are mitigated to some degree by continuing donor interest in the open government sector. This is encouraging, as coalition building requires dedicated, flexible resources. Finally, it is a more dangerous time to be working on open government issues in general, and grassroots actors bear disproportionate risks in doing so. This underscores the need for more vertical alliances to mitigate civic space threats.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hasan Aydin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Because of a perceived existential threat to the Turkish state, the teaching of any language other than Turkish in the formal education system has historically been forbidden through targeted legislation, despite the fact that Turkey comprises many minority ethnic groups other than Turks. Guaranteeing the rights of minorities like the Kurds for native tongue education would ensure preserving the distinct identities of minorities and contribute to the resolution of the decades-long Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Potential solutions include establishing programs, hiring more qualified instructors, and encouraging pluralism and diversity in education.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Poverty, Minorities, Income Inequality, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Jeffrey Neilson
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 1870, the Dutch colonial government established the principle of domein verklaring (free state domain) in its East Indies colony when it enacted agrarian laws to promote private investment. The now-independent Indonesian nation is still trying to resolve the principle’s implications for community access to land, which threaten the long-term sustainability of livelihoods across the country. Further legal recognition of pre-existing customary rights over land is required to prevent exacerbating the marginalization of rural community interests.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, History, Law, Colonialism, Land
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Miguel Ángel Martínez-Meucci
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In Chile, the ongoing constituent process presents a great opportunity, but it also embodies great challenges. Chile’s future will depend on the capacity of the constituent body to reach broad consensus and produce a balanced text that is capable of innovating while preserving the best of what already exists.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Law, Constitution
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Dina M. Siddiqui
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh has brought into focus both the striking power differential between Euro-American retailers and national suppliers and the damaging effects of this asymmetry.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Labor Issues, Pandemic, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia
  • Author: John Crabb
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The island of Puerto Rico is in trouble, and it has been for some time. The US territory has a fiscal deficit worse than many third world countries and a list of economic and political problems to match. The uncertainty facing its some 3.2 million residents and those restoring normality is not conducive to the stimulation of prolonged growth. Puerto Rico can, and will, emerge stronger; but it’s going to need a lot of support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nationalism, Finance, Multilateralism, Trade
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Puerto Rico
  • Author: Anya Prusa, Beatriz Garcia Nice, Olivia Soledad
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2011, Mexican poet and human rights activist Susana Chávez Castillo was tortured and killed in Ciudad Juárez. Eighteen years earlier, she coined the phrase “ni una mujer menos” protesting the unsolved murders of women in that city. Today, those words live on as grassroots movements across Latin America condemn the prevalence of gender-based violence. But, as Chávez’s own narrative suggests, meaningful policy change has been slow.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Political Activism, Women, Gender Based Violence , Feminism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: René Castro-Salazar, Moctar Sacande, Danae Maniatis, Danilo Mollicone
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: It may come as a surprise to many readers, but since 2005, Lake Chad has stopped shrinking; in fact, it has actually stabilized in the last two decades, reaching more than 13,000 square kilometers today. The conflict surrounding Lake Chad continues to be one of the world’s most challenging conflict-traps (a cycle of economic deterioration and repeat conflict), with seasonal migration of people in search of natural resources such as fuelwood, fish, water, and arable land to sustain their livelihoods.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Environment, Science and Technology, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Chad, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Anne Merrild Hansen, Melody Brown Burkins
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic is warming at a rate that is almost twice the global average. While one can generalize about the global impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, food insecurity, and more droughts and floods, the impacts on Arctic communities—or any specific global community—are best understood through conversations at the local level.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Culture, Mining, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Greenland, Arctic
  • Author: Christian Koch, Adnan Tabatabai
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Given the consequences that security issues yield for the Middle East and beyond and in spite of the failures to date, a regional security process where stakeholders can engage with one another remains a relevant and timely approach, which would be needed to move out of the region’s current cycle of instability. Based on the ongoing Tafahum project, a first step is to establish a shared understanding of regional security issues and what they entail before taking steps towards building a security “architecture” or “system”. In addition, regional cooperation must be framed around both conceptual and operational baskets. A broad agreement on principles of conduct, a focus on regional economic development and the development of civil society interactions are seen as essential elements around which such baskets can be put together.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Political stability, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Mediterranean, Gulf Nations
  • 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: Ryan C. Berg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Daniel Ortega’s suppression of protestors and civil society continues unabated. Since April 2018, Nicaragua’s security forces have killed hundreds of people, thousands have been injured or held as political prisoners, and more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have fled to neighboring countries or the United States. Ortega’s authoritarian consolidation began well before April 2018; the keys to his regime’s ruthless survival strategy are the National Police and Nicaraguan Army, co-optation of the judiciary, domination of the media, and a highly complicit private sector that long ago embraced a modus vivendi with his socialist government, among others. The US should ramp up its sanctions against the Ortega regime; target individuals and industries, especially those connected to Ortega or the military; sequence its sanctions rollout; and synchronize external pressure with the domestic opposition to develop an effective strategy for achieving key political and electoral reforms ahead of the general elections in 2021. Reinvigorated diplomacy, particularly with the European Union and other Latin America governments, should seek to expand the international coalition against Ortega’s repression to maintain steady pressure for a definitive change in the character of the regime.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Sanctions, Protests
  • Political Geography: Central America, Nicaragua, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aaron M. Renn
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The culture of particular places, often developed and cast into institutional form during their founding period, affects their economy in important and understudied ways. Case studies suggest several cultural traits can potentially help places be more economically successful over the long term: (1) open civic networks, which help places better adapt to change; (2) investment in civic leadership and institution building by local elites; and (3) an emphasis on education and rewarding excellence. Civic culture is difficult to change. Doing so requires first acquiring a deep understanding of it and then focusing on the most addressable areas for change, such as incubating new relationships and connections between different actors in the community.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Culture, Cities
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as their lack of transparency worsens the public health crisis, the Supreme Leader and other officials have systematically gutted any civil society elements capable of organizing substantial opposition to such policies. Iran’s ongoing coronavirus epidemic has left the people with less reason than ever to trust the information and directives issued by their leaders. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch discussed the clergy’s role in aggravating this problem, but the state’s mistakes and deceptions have been legion as well. They include scandalous discrepancies between official reports after a period of denial that the virus had entered the country; a health system that was unprepared to deal with such a disease promptly and properly; and official resistance to implementing internationally recommended precautionary measures, such as canceling flights from China and quarantining the center of the outbreak. These decisions have sown widespread confusion about facts and fictions related to the virus, the most effective medically proven ways to control it, and the degree to which it is spreading throughout the country. As a result, an already restive population has become increasingly panicked about the future and angry at the state. Yet can the coronavirus actually bring down the regime? The harsh reality is that the state has left little space for opposition to organize around health issues, or any issues for that matter. Instead, it has sought to confuse the people and redirect their anger toward external enemies, even as its own policies contribute to the crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Health, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Esra Cuhadar
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Current peace processes are designed to be more inclusive of women, civil society, youth, opposition political parties, and other frequently marginalized communities. Implementation of inclusive peace processes, however, has not progressed smoothly—and are frequently met with resistance. Based on an examination of instances of resistance in thirty peace and transition negotiations since 1990, this report enhances practitioners’ understanding of who resists, against whose participation, using what tactics, and with what motives.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Politics, Women, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rebecca Ebenezer-Abiola, Jeremy Moore
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Until the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 in 2015, the international community had no comprehensive framework with which to address the specific needs and opportunities of a key demographic group—young people. This report presents the findings of a meta-review assessing fifty-one youth projects supported or implemented by USIP between 2011 and 2018 and offers recommendations for continuing to develop and support peacebuilding activities with effective engagement, cooperation, and flexibility among civil society organizations and funders.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Demographics, United Nations, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: La Ring, Khin Sandar Nyunt, Nist Pianchupat, Shaazka Beyerle
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The National League for Democracy’s decisive victory in Myanmar’s 2015 elections inspired hopes of a full transition from military rule and an opening of civil space. Neither has materialized, and the groups working to advance social, political, and economic change in Myanmar continue to face significant challenges. Focusing on three cases of organized nonviolent action in Kachin, Mandalay, and Yangon, this report explores the divide that has opened between civil society and the NLD government and the rifts emerging within civil society itself.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nonviolence , Donors
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Diego Benitez
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP implemented its Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict (IMPACT) program first in the Central African Republic and later in Colombia, where it worked directly with peacebuilding organizations to gauge their collective impact on fostering reconciliation in the wake of the 2016 peace accord between the government and FARC rebels. Drawing on the challenges encountered and lessons learned, this report provides suggestions for how future iterations of the IMPACT approach can help policymakers, donors, and practitioners achieve greater and more cost-effective results from the peacebuilding projects they support.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • 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: Joseph Wiltberger
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The 2018 decision by the US government to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans, the largest population of TPS holders, would displace nearly 200,000, many of whom have lived in the United States for decades. TPS, a form of humanitarian relief that provides a broad set of protections for those who have fled disaster and instability in their countries of origin, has been continually reapproved for Salvadorans over many years, making it a liminal legal status that has come to resemble a permanent legal status. This paper examines the unsettling effects of this decision, should it be enforced, for Salvadoran holders of TPS (TPSianos) who have established lives and families in the United States. The decision to abruptly end TPS threatens TPSianos and their family members with forced displacement and extraordinary hardships; the decision also has the potential to send them to live under dangerous conditions in El Salvador. Drawing from ethnographic findings, the paper shows how the decision contradicts the logics and realities of permanency in the United States that have guided TPSianos’ future planning and expectations that they should be allowed to transition to a more permanent legal status. Conceptualizing such disruptions and contradictions wrapped up in the ending of TPS for Salvadorans as an entanglement of unsettlements, this analysis extends scholarship on the political, economic, and legal dynamics surrounding TPS and on the lived experiences of liminal legality.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Citizenship, Borders, Public Policy, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, El Salvador, United States of America
  • Author: Verónica Zubillaga, Rebecca Hanson
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: How do mothers deal with chronic violence and the constant presence of guns in their neighborhoods? How do they relate to the armed actors who inhabit their neighborhoods? How do they build situated meaning and discursive practices out of their experiences and relationships with armed actors? We compare the experience of women in two poor and working-class neighborhoods in Caracas. La Caracola, with a long history of civic organizations and drug trafficking, suffers regular, extortionate actions by the police. La Piedad has been ravaged by militarized police operations, which have produced a "warfare mode" among the members of organized criminal groups. Through this comparative ethnographic project we aim to show how, in the midst of state-sponsored depredation and with an overwhelming presence of guns in their lives, women use their traditional cultural roles as mothers to perform everyday forms of resistance vis-à-vis the different armed actors that impose their presence in the barrios. We focus on how women make and communicate meanings; engage in social networks with other women; and employ different discursive strategies as they deal with the armed actors. We foreground women’s experiences in two barrios, asking what material and historical conditions make these different experiences possible. In the mothers’ daily struggles, dramatic discursive actions—from more openly oppositional, such as shouting, scolding, and talking, to more hidden ones, such as, both “circulating gossip” and “captive gossip” to more helpless ones, such as whispering—are their main resources in the micropolitics of their neighborhoods.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Gender Issues, Conflict, Violence, Peace, Social Networks
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: This commentary responds to Thomas N. Garner’s article “Civil-Military Relations and Today’s Policy Environment” published in the Winter 2018–19 issue of Parameters (vol. 48, no. 4).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Military Affairs, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Leonie Pearson
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: With over 780 million people dependent on transboundary rivers in South and Southeast Asia, water governance is vital to regional development. Yet, the current approach to water governance is dominated by state-centric actors (sometimes called the “hydrocracy”) and is not delivering sustainable water management for people or ecosystems. The so-called “hydrocracy” is a mix of government, bureaucrats, politicians, and national development banks, often aligned with private developers. They have established strong processes for governing transboundary water and are focused on maintaining the cyclical planning-to-construction of large infrastructure projects, e.g. dams, hydropower plants, bridges, etc. These state-centric actors are focused on delivering water allocation, utilisation and management with a clear agenda of ‘the state has a duty to develop its water resources’ for national economic development. For many, the state-centric actors are delivering the governmental agenda. Therefore, it is not governance that is managing transboundary water in Asia, but government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government, Water, Governance
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Arsla Jawaid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • Abstract: Pakistan has struggled with Islamic militancy since the rise of the mujahideen in the 1980s. In the late 2000s, the Pakistan Army began establishing rehabilitation centers in the Swat Valley in an effort to deradicalize former Taliban fighters and other militants and reintegrate them into their communities. This report contrasts Pakistan’s deradicalization approach with the community-based program used in Denmark and the widely different prison-based program used in Saudi Arabia, and identifies areas in which the army’s approach could benefit from more extensive partnering with civilian-based organizations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Prisons/Penal Systems, Violent Extremism, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • 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: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Centerpiece
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From civil strife in Syria to the war in Yemen to US-Iran tensions, Shi'a groups are emerging as major players on the geopolitical landscape. The 200 million Shi'as around the world comprise 15–20 percent of all Muslims, yet little is understood about their culture, historical legacy, and political dynamics. Shi’as are the majority sect in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain, and comprise substantial minority groups in Africa, South and Central Asia, and countries throughout the Middle East. Last fall, the Weatherhead Center launched the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs to support advanced research on the diverse manifestations of Shi’ism, and to encourage rigorous scholarship on the political dynamics of its role in the Middle East. The project supports scholarship that increases understanding of the intersection between religion and politics in Islam by engaging political scientists, historians, policy makers, religious leaders, and other specializations at the WCFIA. It was a busy first year, replete with talks on important events in Islamic history, the geopolitics of Iraq, the US-Iran confrontation, and more. The project launched the online platform Visions, which offers advanced commentary on all aspects of Shi’a thought, politics, and society. Additionally, project members have travelled to Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq for field work and academic conferences, as well as to the United Kingdom to present research and conduct outreach. Team members have also travelled to various cities across the United States to give presentations and interactive workshops—including to Muslim-American communities in Dearborn, Michigan (home to the largest Arab-American population in North America) and Orlando, Florida—on the topic of religious pluralism, youth activism, Islamic thought, and civil society. Directed by Payam Mohseni, lecturer at Harvard University, the project is funded in part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. We asked Payam Mohseni and project chairs Melani Cammett and Ali Asani about the motivations behind the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Religion, Military Strategy, Political Activism, Domestic politics, Pluralism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Diana Fu, Elizabeth Knup, Jing Wang, Nick Bartlett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This panel, part of the WEAI in a COVID-19 remote lecture series, features brief presentations and discussion by scholars and practitioners who have studied and participated in Chinese civil society activities. The conversation covers changes to the role of and spaces for non-government actors in the Hu and Xi eras, as well as recent developments in light of the COVID pandemic and the rise of Hong Kong and Black Lives Matter protests.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Protests, NGOs, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong