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  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: So far, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has defied the odds in its relations with the administration of US President Donald Trump. In contrast to the administration’s at times stormy ride with some other international organizations and agreements, relations have been rather calm — even friendly — between the United States and the IMF. There has been no talk of cutting US funding to the IMF, no threat of pulling out of the organization, no statements casting aspersions on the IMF and no “tweet storms” on specific events involving the IMF. In fact, although not directly from President Trump, statements in support of actions or positions of the IMF have surfaced. Why has the IMF escaped the antagonism of the new administration, and can it continue to do so?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cyrus Rustomjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The blue economy — a concept and framework for economic activity that recognizes and seeks to maximize the potential for economic growth, employment and diversification through the sustainable use of resources from the ocean — has vast economic potential for small states; however, they confront several unique international governance challenges in pursuing a marine-resource-based development framework; have few comparative lessons of good practice to draw on; and face several practical obstacles in taking the first steps to operationalize the blue economy, resulting in modest progress. Collective experience highlights six key priorities in operationalizing the blue economy. Small states can take several new initiatives, supported by regional and international development partners, to focus attention on and coalesce policy effort and resources.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Climate engineering can, if appropriately governed within a coherent overall climate change strategy, reduce risks beyond what mitigation and adaptation can achieve alone, and is probably essential to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature targets. Climate engineering also poses significant new risks, and needs expanded research and scrutiny in climate assessments.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas R Kraemer
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Group of Twenty should initiate a global ocean governance process and call for dialogues, strategies and regional cooperation to ensure that investment and growth in ocean use become sustainable and reach their full potential. The ocean is the largest and most critical ecosystem on Earth, and potentially the largest provider of food, materials, energy and ecosystem services. However, past and current uses of the ocean continue to be unsustainable, with increasing demand contributing to the ocean’s decline. Better governance, appreciation of the economic value of the ocean and “blue economy” strategies can reduce conflicts among uses, ensure financial sustainability, ecosystem integrity and prosperity, and promote long-term national growth and employment in maritime industries.
  • Topic: Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Steven L. Schwarcz
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Unsustainable sovereign debt is a serious problem for nations, as well as their citizens and creditors, and a threat to global financial stability. The existing contractual approach to restructuring unsustainable debt is inadequate and no treaty or other multilateral legal framework exists, or is currently likely to be adopted, that would enable nations to restructure unsustainable debt. Because a significant percentage of sovereign debt is governed by English law, there is an opportunity to modify the law to fairly and equitably facilitate the restructuring of unsustainable sovereign debt. This policy brief proposes a novel legal framework, focusing on governing law, for doing that. This framework would legislatively achieve the equivalent of the ideal goal of including perfect collective action clauses in all English-law-governed sovereign debt contracts. It therefore should ensure the continuing legitimacy and attractiveness of English law as the governing law for future sovereign debt contracts. Even absent the legislative proposal, the analysis in this policy brief can contribute to the incremental development of sovereign debt restructuring norms.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Céline Bak
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: There was no consensus on climate-related financial risk at the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting of central bankers and finance ministers in March 2017, and the final communiqué did not mention climate change or the Paris Agreement. US President Donald Trump has since announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement; therefore, the phase I report from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Risk Disclosures may not be welcomed at the G20 summit in July. As a result, G20 finance ministers must assure governance of this agenda through interconnected national high-level expert groups. Canada’s financial institutions including asset owners and asset managers have the capacity to move swiftly to contribute to a platform for international collaboration on climate-related financial risk and green finance opportunities.
  • Topic: Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cyrus Rustomjee
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The world’s oceans are crucial to human life. They cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the earth’s water (Oceanic Institute 2016); provide vital ecosystem services; serve as a growing source of renewable energy and make crucial contributions to global food production and food security, through the provision of food, minerals and nutrients. Fish provide 4.3 billion people with about 15 percent of their intake of animal protein (UN Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] 2014b). Over 3.1 billion people live within 100 km of the ocean or sea in about 150 coastal and island nations (FAO 2014a), and global ocean economic activity is estimated to be US$3–5 trillion (FAO 2014b). Oceans and seas serve as waterways for global trade, with more than 90 percent of global trade carried by sea (International Maritime Organization 2012). Some 880 million people depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods (ibid.). Recognition of the services and resources provided by oceans has accelerated in recent years, spurred by the opportunities and challenges posed by a rapidly growing global population, increasing global demand for food and energy, advances in technology, and changes in patterns of global trade and human consumption. Developed countries have expanded fisheries, tourism and other oceanic and maritime industries; extended mineral exploration and extraction; and scaled up ocean-related scientific, technological and industrial research. Using increased knowledge of marine biodiversity, they have developed new value chains in pharmaceuticals, health care and aquaculture; and many have established integrated national ocean economy strategies, bringing together the regulatory, environmental, spatial, policy, institutional, industrial and other factors influencing their ability to exploit maritime resources.
  • Topic: Environment, Political Economy, Maritime Commerce, Biosecurity, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Global Focus
  • Author: Samuel Howorth, Domenico Lombardi, Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Students of macroeconomics will have heard about the central role played by the so-called Phillips curve in both theoretical and empirical analyses for almost 70 years. In 1958, A. W. Phillips reported an inverse relationship between changes in wages and the unemployment rate (Phillips 1958). The progeny of his thinking led to a revolution both in policy making and in the development of theoretical links between the real and nominal macroeconomic variables. Names such as Samuelson, Solow, Phelps, Friedman, Lucas and Sargent became associated with refinements and enhancements of the core finding reported by Phillips. Indeed, all of these economists went on to become Nobel laureates in economics, although not exclusively because of their contributions to the analysis of what has since been called the Phillips curve. Indeed, the concept is so influential that it spawned several different versions of the trade-off used to guide policy makers as a menu for the choices they face when deciding whether the gains from lower inflation are offset by the economic costs of higher unemployment. Initially, expectations of individuals or firms were ignored. This briefly gave policy makers the impression that they could simply select an inflation-unemployment combination and implement the necessary policy mix to achieve the desired outcome. Once a role for expectations was incorporated, debate centred on how forward-looking individuals are. The more forward-looking, the less likely it was that policy makers would be able to “exploit” the trade-off because, unless wages rose in purchasing-power terms, the gains from lower unemployment would, at best, be temporary once workers realized that the higher inflation, at unchanged wages, actually drives real wages down. Indeed, the pendulum swung all the way to the conclusion — reached by the 1970s and early 1980s — that the Phillips curve was illusory and there was no trade-off policy makers could exploit.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus