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  • Author: Huma Saeed
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s presidential election took place on September 28, 2019, with less than 2 million people participating out of 9.7 million registered voters. Taking into consideration Afghanistan’s total population of 35 million, the turnout was a historic low—a problem further amplified by the fact that the government poured a huge amount of financial and human resources into election preparation. The main explanation for such low turnout is twofold. On the one hand, security threats such as suicide attacks or gun violence—which reached their peak during the presidential election campaigns—deterred many people from going to polling stations. On the other hand, Afghans have become wary about determining their own political fate because, for decades, regional and international powers have steered the political wheel in Afghanistan, rather the people. After four months, election results have still not been announced, leading to further speculation and anxiety among a population which has already been the victim of four decades of violent conflict in the country. This anxiety is further exacerbated by the ongoing “peace” negotiations with the Taliban. Afghan people have learned from experience that, even in the best-case scenario of the election results or peace negotiations, they cannot hope for new justice measures to heal their wounds. As demonstrated by the experience of Afghanistan and other countries, peace and security will not last without addressing the people’s demands for justice.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Politics, Elections, Taliban, Justice
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Jeff Bachman
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Transnational solidarity movements have typically flowed from a central point located in the West, particularly in the United States, to the East and the Global South. Shadi Mokhtari describes this phenomenon as the “traditional West-to-East flow of human rights mobilizations and discourses.” Viewed individually, this phenomenon is not problematic in all cases. However, as Mokhtari argues, this one-directional flow of human rights politics precludes non-Western non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from weighing in on human rights violations committed in the United States. Human rights violations in the United States are typically experienced by marginalized communities, from the mass incarceration and disenfranchisement of African-Americans to the detention and ill-treatment of immigrants, migrants, and refugees. For a truly global human rights movement to emerge—one that is not grounded in Western paternalism and perceived moral superiority—this must change.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Immigration, Refugees, NGOs, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jacqueline M. Klopp, Abdullahi Boru Halakhe
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Carbon politics is playing out in oil-producing African countries with lethal consequences. Countries like Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, and South Sudan are conflict-ridden and economically unequal, and, as climate change concerns clash with new fossil fuel-driven development efforts, carbon politics is taking on ever-greater significance. While the scramble for fossil fuels could increase authoritarianism as it spreads in East Africa, an ecologically-driven imperative to address climate change could reinforce stronger democratic institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Oil, Natural Resources, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Angola, East Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Bradley O. Babson
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since his first-annual New Year’s speech in 2012 setting North Korea’s policy priorities, Kim Jong Un has emphasized his commitment to economic development, notably promising his people that they will never have to tighten their belts again. The Byunjin policy of equally prioritizing economic development and security through nuclear and missile programs reflects Kim’s desire to assure regime stability by delivering broad-based economic development while establishing a security environment that deters external threats and potential domestic unrest. While United States policy has used sanctions and other pressures to stymie Kim’s ambitions, the Kim regime has nonetheless modestly furthered economic development and significantly advanced security through its nuclear and missile testing programs.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aisha Al-Sarihi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Since the 2014 drop in oil prices, Gulf countries have begun to shift their attention toward renewables.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Sima Aldardari
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: This summer I had a teaching opportunity like never before. I designed and taught a course in Lebanon on international development as part of an independent study with Prof. Fida Adely. The two-and-a-half-week course aimed to offer youth in Lebanon the base knowledge necessary for understanding a wider scope of development approaches and theories and the opportunity to engage with development professionals. The local organization Chams Network provided space and marketing for the class.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Water
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Alice Ekman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: “Smart city” development has become a fashionable policy and research topic. A growing number of central and local governments in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, in partnership with companies from diverse sectors (construction, transport, energy, water, etc), consulting firms, NGOs and experts, are now developing smart-city-related projects. This report looks at the smart city from a broader, geopolitical perspective, and considers it, for the first time, as a potential area of geopolitical competition between countries. This approach is relevant given the strategic nature of the infrastructure involved in smart-city development (telecommunication and energy grids, mobile networks, data centers, etc). It is also relevant at a time of prolonged tensions between China and the United States – a period during which 5G and other technologies that are key to developing smart cities are generating global debate and diverging positions across countries.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Urbanization, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Smart Cities
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Julien Lebel
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Airports in the Gulf emirates are major transit hubs in global airline networks today. Apart from their “advantageous” geographical location, their development results primarily from the ambitions of political actors seeking to maintain their power. This has led especially to the creation of the “Gulf companies”, namely Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha). However, the three emirates are not following identical strategies. Within the unstable context of the Middle East, it is important to look at the development dynamics of these companies which symbolize the global reach of small but powerful political entities on the international stage.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Business , Airline Companies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Gulf Nations
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Linear projects like highways have the potential to change existing land use of large areas. These changes are not limited only to the stretches made for transportation of vehicles. The effects of construction are also visible on landscapes on both sides of highways. This study presents the findings of a two-year long groundtruthing study carried out between June 2016 and August 2018 along 187 kilometres of National Highway 66. The study is a collaborative effort of the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Programme and communities from towns and villages situated between Karwar and Kundapur, especially the 27 Panchayats, in the district of Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. The study presents evidence of non-compliance of environmental safeguards resulting in social, economic and health impacts on the local communities in the project areas. It also highlights several aspects that were not taken into account in the project’s impact assessments. The study includes a broad assessment of the project’s scale of direct impacts. During the course of the study, the following types of non-compliance were identified: Permissions for blasting, groundwater and river water withdrawal were not taken; Dumping soil on wetlands and creeks caused flooding and salt water intrusion; The construction caused soil erosion and landslides along embankments; Non-submission of six-monthly compliance reports by the project proponent; Non-compliance of other laws and compensation agreements; The report includes a case study of a stone crusher unit operating in Bogribail village and causing water and dust pollution.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Law, Social Policy, Pollution
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Ashwini K. Swain
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India’s move to electrify every village and household in the country has been lauded as a success. Building on decades of targeted programmes and public investments by multiple governments, the country completed 100% village electrification in April 2018; a year after, it has electrified nearly all ‘willing’ households. Despite the time it took to get here, these achievements are important milestones in India’s development trajectory. But does connecting households to the electric grid resolve the electricity access challenge? The answer depends on whether electrons flow through the wires and whether all consumers are served equally and adequately.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Investment, Electricity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia