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  • Author: Roland Rajah, Alexandre Dayant, Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: China has not been engaged in debt trap diplomacy — at least not yet. China has not been the primary driver behind rising debt risks in the Pacific, although a continuation of business as usual would risk future debt problems in several countries. There is scope for a new Australian infrastructure financing facility to provide loans to the Pacific without causing debt problems, particularly as it has adopted key sustainable lending rules. Pacific nations have an opportunity to obtain more favourable financing from official development partners but care must be taken to avoid overly geopolitical aid.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Daniel Míguez, Matias Dewey
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: A growing body of research, based on large-scale international comparisons, has associated socioeconomic development with several intervening factors, such as levels of respect for social norms, interpersonal trust, degrees of confidence in public institutions, or incidence of corruption in governmental bodies. The paper contributes to this body of scholarship by comparing the differing socioeconomic development experienced by Chile and Argentina between 1983 and 2013. Specifically, the paper inquires whether the greater socioeconomic development experienced by Chile was actually related to greater legitimacy of the law, higher levels of trust in public institutions, lower perceived levels of corruption, and greater interpersonal trust. The results of our exploration do not completely confirm or disprove this thesis. Instead, they reveal not only the need for a nuanced approach to how these factors relate to socioeconomic progress but also for their forms of association to be considered in the context of politically, socially, and economically fluctuating conditions.
  • Topic: Development, Political and institutional effectiveness, International Development
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Sinclair Dinnen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Concerns about personal security have been prominent in Papua New Guinea for many years. Personal security figures regularly in travel advisories issued by foreign governments. International news coverage of Papua New Guinea is often about violence or crime, reinforcing the country's reputation as a dangerous and lawless place. A visitor to Port Moresby, the sprawling national capital, sees evidence of this in the elaborate security arrangements that shape the urban landscape. Drivers of insecurity in this young nation are complex and multidimensional, stemming from the legacies of a recent colonial past, along with the ongoing challenges of state consolidation and the uneven effects of economic globalisation. The main security threats are non-traditional, including urban crime, gender-based violence, corruption, arms trafficking, border protection, resource poaching, climate change, natural disasters, and transnational crime. Although some view China's growing presence as a potential threat, its activities in Papua New Guinea have been largely confined to diplomacy, development assistance and investment. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has acknowledged the absence of any "distinct conventional external threat", while PNG's National Security Policy recognises the developmental and political character of the country's security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Natural Resources, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Craig Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Climate, topography, population, culture, economics, and finance all conspire to raise significant barriers to providing economic and social infrastructure critical to Papua New Guinea's future development. Compared to developed economies, the physical stock of infrastructure assets in Papua New Guinea is insufficient to deliver the economic and social services needed to drive faster economic growth and improve human development. It faces significant choices as a result that may also be influenced by the public infrastructure requirements of foreign direct investment in export oriented extractive resource sectors. A lack of effective national infrastructure planning and funding constrain PNG's economy and its ability to improve the lives of its citizens through provision of these infrastructure services. This paper briefly reviews several key infrastructure sectors - telecommunications, transport, energy, and urban water - to provide snapshots of their status, identify challenges, and where possible make relevant international comparisons. It also looks at ways to improve the delivery of relevant economic infrastructure: (i) effective planning and prioritisation; (ii) funding strategies for infrastructure investment; (iii) funding of ongoing infrastructure operations; and (iv) consideration of infrastructure life cycle issues. In addition, in the future effective economic regulation of PNG commercialised infrastructure services will help ensure that consumers benefit from these services. The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission will therefore have an increasingly important role to play.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Until recently, visitors making their way to the immigration checkpoint at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby were greeted with a sign exclaiming, "Welcome to Papua New Guinea: The land of the unexpected". In a nation that is so self-aware of its unpredictability, forecasting future scenarios is like staring into a crystal ball. Quality data is scarce and incomplete, trends are difficult to establish and validate, and prognostications on PNG's future are often dogmatic and politicised. Over the past 42 years Papua New Guinea has defied many of the most negative projections for its future, and navigated a huge number of 'crossroad' situations. Even before 1975, some were arguing that independence would be an unmitigated disaster, and the risk of Papua New Guinea becoming a failed state is a question that has permeated its short history. It is a question that is now being asked more frequently. On one view, Papua New Guinea has managed to "muddle through", largely on the strength of its peoples' resilience in the face of adversity. However, this resilience may be dwindling, and rather than "muddling through", Papua New Guinea may instead be on a "muddling down" trajectory. Its politicians, on the other hand, claim that the country's prospects have never been better. In a nation with so many development challenges and such porous data, it is difficult to identify future scenarios, let alone determine which is most likely. How does one define a failed state in Papua New Guinea, where most of the nation is not dependent on a properly functioning state? Without accurate data, how can one track trends in human development over decades? Should the focus be placed on the country as a whole, or on urban areas, on rural areas, or areas critical for economic development? How can new technological advancements be appropriately accounted for? Drawing on the papers in this series, five variables from each of the sectors addressed in the papers have been identified as critical influences on PNG's development over the next ten years and beyond. From these variables, three potential scenarios emerge, with the most likely scenario that Papua New Guinea will continue to 'muddle through' as it has in the past, failing to meet many expectations of development but defying the country's many detractors, and avoiding state failure.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Politics, State
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke, Paul Barker
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: On many indicators, Papua New Guinea's rapid population growth is outpacing development progress. Service delivery across the country is in decline. Growing urbanisation is increasing the burden on service providers as people who move from rural areas generally lose access to their customary land and become less self-sufficient. More than 40 per cent of the population is under the age of 14. The resulting youth bulge is outstripping very limited formal sector employment opportunities. The needs of the private sector are evolving, and skills development is critical. New immigrant groups are moving in to Papua New Guinea and taking over small and medium businesses that have typically been run by locals, adding further societal and employment pressures. This paper will chart these trends in Papua New Guinea, and the impact they will have on political stability, policymaking and development. It will look at trends in service delivery, employment, and skills development. It will look at the role of new immigrants in Papua New Guinea and future workforce capacity, and assess the government's capacity to deal with these challenges.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Immigration, Urbanization, Youth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: John Berry
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Over 200 years ago, one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin urged us to innovate, with the warning: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was not only a talented statesman, he was an inventor and tinkerer extraordinaire. Innovation lies at the very heart of what it means to be an American. From the beginning, our country was a grand experiment. We believed then—and now—that freedom plus hard work equals progress. Innovation, invention, and creativity help turn progress into success.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Maria Solanas Cardín
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: The II National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, currently being prepared by the Spanish Government, should build on lessons learnt and include specific measures and best practices if it aims to achieve any advancement in the women, peace and security agenda. Nine years after the approval of the I National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 –and mainly driven by its participation, as a non-permanent member, in the United Nations Security Council during the 2015-16 biennium–, the Spanish Government has marked the women, peace and security agenda as a priority, undertaking to draft a II National Action Plan. The number of challenges outstanding, almost 16 years after the approval of Resolution 1325, calls for a global commitment that is sustained over time and for actions and measures in field operations supported by sufficient funding (the most serious and persistent impediment for implementation of Resolution 1325). The alliance with local organisations and agents, mainly women’s organisations, has proved to be the most efficient way to promote and ensure a significant participation by women in the prevention of conflicts and in peace-building. Only a Plan based on such premises will effectively contribute towards the implementation of Resolution 1325.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus