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  • Author: Kiyoaki Aburaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “Decide when it is time to decide, draw a conclusion, don't postpone; this is the type of politics I want to create.” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made this declaration in a press conference on June 26 immediately after the passage of the consumption tax-hike bill in the Lower House of the Diet. Noda's conviction to pass a tax increase had a political cost: 57 lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) voted against the bill, while 15 DPJ members abstained. Former DPJ president Ichiro Ozawa, who leads the anti-tax-hike movement, and his followers created a deep rift within the ruling party over the tax legislation and subsequently damaged Noda's political power base by defecting from the party on July 2.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Author: David A. Welch, Andrew S. Thompson
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The international community has become adept at responding to disasters. When a disaster hits — whether natural or as the consequence of human activity — humanitarian relief can be on the ground almost anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. The international community has developed an elaborate network to respond to catastrophes involving the collaboration of international agencies, humanitarian relief organizations, national governments and concerned individuals. The collective ability to help save lives quickly is unprecedented in human history; the problem remains, however, that one never knows in advance where disaster will strike, what the immediate needs of those affected will be or what conditions the first responders will confront. Given these uncertainties, how can disaster-response planners best position themselves to take action?
  • Topic: Government, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Non-Governmental Organization, Natural Disasters
  • Author: Glenn McDonald
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: How to stop a criminal from removing the identifying marks on a polymerframe handgun? This was the kind of question asked, and sometimes answered, at the Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE),  convened at UN headquarters in New York from 9 to 13 May 2011. For the first time at a UN small arms meeting, the discussions were expert-led and relatively interactive as delegations focused on the practical details of weapons marking, record-keeping, and tracing, specifically as dealt with in the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (UNGA, 2005).
  • Topic: Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, Crime, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing negotiation of the EU's multi-annual budget is heavily constrained by how the decision process takes place. Governments focus on narrowly defined national interests, rather than on securing a better budget for Europe. While the budget is small in size, it could be used as a powerful political tool for much needed economic growth policies on a larger scale.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Women played a key role in Yemen's 2011 popular uprising, but almost a year on they are still waiting for change. Four out of five women consulted by Oxfam in a series of focus group discussions say that their lives have worsened over the last 12 months. Although a transition towards democracy is under way, women's hopes for a better life are wearing thin. A quarter of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are acutely malnourished. Deepening humanitarian crisis and conflict are limiting women's role in shaping Yemen's future. Women have told Oxfam that they need better access to food, jobs, and physical safety. The Government of Yemen and the international community should adequately support the humanitarian response and help ensure women can play their part in building a peaceful and just society.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: GDP fell by a larger than expected 1% on the quarter in 2012Q1 according to initial data released in mid-May. As a result, we now expect GDP will fall 1.1% in 2012. On the political side, the government has avoided a snap election by surviving a confidence vote on 27 April. However, it will find it harder to stick to its austerity plans as its majority was weakened by the vote. Under current policies, we now expect the fiscal deficit to rise to 3.6% of GDP in 2012 from 3.1% in 2011 due to the weakness of the economy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Czech Republic
  • Author: Joshua T. White, Shuja Ali Malik
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain mired in an archaic century-old system of indirect governance that provides space in which militant movements have thrived. President Asif Ali Zardari recently announced the FATA Local Governance Regulation 2012, establishing a system of local councils in the troubled tribal region. Although the regulation is disappointingly vague, and retains the sweeping prerogatives of the central government, it appears to have been driven in part by the army's interest in building civilian governance capacity in conflict-torn areas. The governments of Pakistan and the United States, along with local and international stakeholders, should advocate for continuity of implementation, insist on party-based local council elections, encourage experimentation within the bounds of the regulation, link the new councils to existing development structures, press the government to articulate a longer-term political vision for the FATA, and be realistic about the necessity of the army's active involvement in shaping governance policy in the tribal areas.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Corruption, Government, Islam, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The victory of the Georgian Dream Coalition (GDC) over the United National Movement (UNM) has brought pluralism into Georgian policymaking. Until the power shifts from the President to the Prime Minister in 2013, the country will be led by an awkward dual power. New leadership offers great opportunities for Georgia. It can improve its democratic system and economic growth and establish a dialogue with Russia and the breakaway districts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This would alleviate the frozen conflict and tense security dilemma on the boundary lines. If the transition of power does not go well, there will be prolonged power struggles that could cripple the policymaking and cast Georgia back to pre-Saakashvili times. Saakashvili's UNM is still a very significant player in Georgian politics and it is important for the GDC and the UNM to find a way to cooperate. In order to smooth the fragile transition period, Georgia needs special support and attention.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Tonny Joseph
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 exacerbated the country's grinding poverty and serious development problems, while at the same time worsening Haitian living conditions. The tremor killed over 250,000 people and injured 300, 000. It crippled the economy, causing losses estimated at almost 120 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Nevertheless, economic growth is expected to rise between 7 and 9 percent in 2012, largely owing to reconstruction efforts. The population in internally displaced persons camps has decreased from 1.5 million to around 390,000 (according to the June 2012 report of the International Organization for Migration), and the country's hurricane preparedness capacity has increased.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Gender Issues, Government, Food, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti