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  • Author: Dinah Pardijs, Almut Möller
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Faced with internal and external pressures, the EU is increasingly focused on “cooperation” and “deliverables”, rather than “integration”. ECFR’s research shows that a critical mass of countries agree on the need for more flexible cooperation within the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Overshadowed by the Syrian tragedy, the collapse of the Libyan state had dangerous consequences for Mediterranean security. It also demonstrated the cost of a hastily organized intervention followed by disastrous neglect and the rise of Islamist forces. Still, its latest chapter – the successful campaign to eradicate IS in Sirte – proves that when carefully chosen, limited military means can achieve strategic goals: and in that basis, measures should be taken to satisfy General Hiftar and his Egyptian backers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Afghanistan Affectations,” a detailed report published by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series in April 2017, Vanda Felbab-Brown assesses how counterinsurgency, stabilization, and reconstruction dynamics have interacted with organized crime, illicit economies, and generalized predatory criminality since 2001 and warped and weakened the post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In “Myanmar Maneuvers,” a detailed report published by the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series in April 2017, Vanda Felbab-Brown assesses complex interactions among illegal economies, conflict, peace, and political transitions in Myanmar since the 1990s. She analyzes the evolution of the illegal economies in drugs, logging, wildlife trafficking, and gems and minerals as well as land grabbing and crony capitalism, showing how they shaped political transitions and how political evolution and changes shaped them. She also examines the impact of geopolitics and the regional environment, particularly the role of China, both in shaping domestic political developments in Myanmar and the country’s illicit economies.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Myanmar
  • Author: Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Large-scale illicit economies and organized crime have received increasing attention from governments and international organizations since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War brought a permissive strategic environment that allowed many states to focus on a broader menu of interests in their foreign policy agendas, such as the fight against drug trafficking and production. The post-Cold War era also exposed the fragility and institutional underdevelopment of many of these states, a deficiency perhaps exacerbated by globalization. At the same time, criminal and belligerent actors with significant power previously obscured by the shadows of Cold War politics were spotlighted by the international community, especially when their activities were associated with intense violence or corruption.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Esther Care, Helyn Kim, Kate Anderson, Emily Gustafsson-Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: There have been increased calls globally for students to develop a broader set of skills during the years of formal education than in the past. Education has typically been seen as a preparation for adulthood and its work-related responsibilities. Recently, however, the focus on academic, vocational, and technical skills (e.g., Brewer, 2013) has shifted toward an aspiration for education to inform both work and life more generally (e.g., Pellegrino and Hilton, 2012). Many frameworks describe the skills or competencies that this 21st century world demands (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012; Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, and Moore, 2015), and in so doing, they display strong commonalities. The frameworks examine what competencies people need to function effectively in society, with descriptions varying from very high level (e.g., Delors, 1996) to very detailed (e.g., Binkley et al., 2012). Differences also emerge primarily in the degree to which skills or competencies alone are identified or whether a wider range of human characteristics are included. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016) acknowledges this shift in the focus of education toward a broader approach. Of particular interest for Skills for a Changing World, Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for skills beyond literacy and numeracy—including readiness for primary education (4.2), technical and vocational skills (4.4), and skills needed to promote global citizenship and sustainable development (4.7). These targets signal an emphasis on the breadth of skills necessary to prepare children, youth, and adults comprehensively for 21st century citizenship and life.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Geoffrey Gertz
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which links the United States with two of its largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Officials in both Canada and Mexico have signaled they are open to renegotiations, and talks are expected to begin soon. New commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has indicated he hopes the negotiations could be completed within a year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security
  • Political Geography: America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global nuclear non-proliferation regime, as it has evolved since the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, has been remarkably resilient. Despite predictions of a “cascade of proliferation,” there are currently only nine states with nuclear weapons, and that number has remained the same for the past 25 years.[1] The NPT is nearly universal, with 190 parties and only five non-parties (India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, South Sudan). Several countries voluntarily abandoned nuclear weapons development programs (Argentina, Brazil, Egypt); several others were forced diplomatically or militarily to give up the quest (Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Syria); three former Soviet republics inherited nuclear weapons but gave them up (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine); and one country built a small arsenal before unilaterally eliminating it (South Africa). With Iran’s path to nuclear weapons blocked by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for at least 10 to 15 years, there are no non-nuclear weapon states currently believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources. And despite cases of nuclear smuggling and continuing interest of terrorist groups in acquiring nuclear weapons, no thefts of enough fissile material to build a bomb are believed to have taken place.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Millions of people face hazards like cyclones and drought every day. International aid to deal with disasters after they strike is generous, but it is unpredictable and fragmented, and it often fails to arrive when it would do the most good. We must stop treating disasters like surprises. Matching finance to planning today will save lives, money, and time tomorrow.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cindy Huang, Nazanin Ash
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world is witnessing higher levels of displacement than ever before. The statistics tell the story. Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 5 million people have fled to nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. And refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their countries. Equally striking as the scale of the crisis are the consequences of an inadequate response. Individual lives hang in the balance; refugees are struggling to rebuild their lives, find jobs, and send their children to school. Developing countries that are hosting the overwhelming majority of refugees— and at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own citizens—are shouldering unsustainable costs. We are seeing global stability and hard-won development gains threatened.
  • Topic: War, Refugee Issues, Territorial Disputes, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Manjeet S. Pardesi
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As China asserts itself economically and militarily, the United States is faced with maintaining a balance of power in East Asia and safe-guarding its global dominance. In contrast to its competitive position with China, the US relationship with India--projected to be the third-largest economy by 2030--is set on a more collaborative course. American support for a rising India aligns with its broader security and strategic goals. India, for its part, remains intent on achieving a position of regional primacy, but welcomes the US presence in the South Asia/Indian Ocean region. The two nations, for example, have signed an agreement giving each other access to military facilities, and they conduct many bilateral military exercises. These developments are a far cry from the mid-twentieth century, when Jawaharlal Nehru called for the removal of all foreign militaries from Asia. What factors pushed the India-US relationship in this new direction? And what shared interests and goals does the partnership reinforce?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Sumeet Saksena
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Cities are expanding very rapidly in Asia, often without adequate housing, transportation, water, or sanitation. ese new “peri-urban” areas may be hot spots for disease, both in humans and domestic animals. Research into the possible link between unplanned urban expansion and disease outbreaks compared patterns of land-use change with two major outbreaks in Vietnam of highly pathogenic avian in uenza (HPAI, subtype H5N1) that killed millions of chickens between 2003 and 2005. Work began by classifying communes into land-use categories: rural, peri-urban, urban, and urban core. e study found that peri-urban communes had at least a 150 percent higher risk of experiencing an H5N1 outbreak than did other types of commune, and that urbanization entails a spatial convergence of several key risk factors for H5N1 transmission. By focusing prevention programs on communes with these factors, the Vietnamese government can potentially improve disease prevention at lower cost. is research may also help explain the epidemi- ology of other infectious diseases, both in humans and livestock.
  • Topic: Health, Urbanization, International Development
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Pradeep S Mehta, Kyle Cote
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Less than three months into Donald Trump’s tenure as President of the United States, Indian observers are contempla ng the future of bilateral rela ons with the global leader, not to men on the regional implica ons of the new administra on. Questions arise whether to take Mr Trump’s “America First” rhetoric seriously, or to believe that dealing with a businessman persona will ul mately benefit India’s diplomats, businesses, and citizens. Taking into account such uncertainty and what we’ve seen of Mr. Trump and his team thus far, the path forward for India in key geo‐economics and geopoli cal areas is fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, India has an opportunity to expand and deepen its trade relations, upgrade its domes c capacity, move forward with climate change ac on, and become a leader in the Asia‐Pacific region. Therefore, India must design and implement a clear, internally‐based strategy through an inclusive process to promote open and fair trade and coopera on bilaterally, regionally, and mul laterally.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, India
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Denmark to be excluded from Europol due to electing not to abolish its JHA opt-outs. The Operational Agreement it has since negotiated with the EU falls short in several key areas, preventing optimal mutual cooperation between Denmark and the EU on important issues such as counter-terrorism and international organized crime. The implications ofthe operational agreement in regards to Europol are potentially far-reaching for Denmark in terms of both its EU policy and security, but also for the EU, which has to balance institutional dilemmas with security concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katerina Davidova
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The European Commission unveiled its long-awaited extensive package of energy legislation proposals at the end of 2016. While it is an important step on the way towards an integrated European Energy Union, the project still exists more on paper than in reality. Bridging the gap between vastly differing energy policies of various member states such as Germany and Poland will be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome on its way to success. With the increasing desire to limit the power of the Commission, however, the fate of the Energy Union will be decided more by what is going to happen outside of the EU, than in its centre.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: The aim of the Pharma Integrity Principles for Latin America is to provide a framework for good business practices and risk management strategies for promoting integrity in the pharmaceutical sector. They are intended to assist companies and industry associations across the region in: • eliminating bribery and related conflicts of interest; • demonstrating their commitment to doing business with integrity; and • making a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability. The Pharma Integrity Principles combine anti-bribery principles of general applicability developed by Transparency International with more specific guidelines for preventing conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical sector in relation to prescribing practices by healthcare professionals and interactions with healthcare institutions, patients and patient organisations.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: “Faulty Towers: Understanding the impact of overseas corruption on the London property market” assessed 14 new landmark London developments, worth at least £1.6 billion. It found 4 in 10 of the homes in these developments have been sold to investors from high corruption risk countries or those hiding behind anonymous companies. Less than a quarter had been bought by buyers based in the UK.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Healthcare and public procurement both suffer from high levels of corruption and the point at which they converge, procurement within healthcare, is an acute vulnerability that is routinely exploited. But governments and civil society organisations are now taking action to protect the lives of citizens by implementing open contracting. The proposition behind open contracting is that procurement reform requires a broad base of participation from outside government. Businesses must be able to compete for contracts and make sense of the market. The communities directly affected by procurement, and the groups and people that represent those communities, are often better placed than government to independently monitor the procurement process. To facilitate this participation, governments must publish useful, timely and accessible information about the procurement process. Healthcare and anti-corruption efforts share a common principle: prevention is better than cure. In the long term, open contracting offers a route for governments to move from the procurement status quo of corruption, waste and inefficiency, to clean contracting, in which fairness, integrity and efficiency are the norms. This report first outlines some of the major challenges in healthcare procurement before explaining how open contracting works and how it can support reform. Section two introduces different approaches to open contracting that have been used around the world. Finally, section three presents case studies of successful implementation from Honduras, Nigeria and Ukraine.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Corruption Cable is Transparency International UK’s quarterly newsletter. This edition includes features on: Rolls Royce & Deferred Prosecution Agreements; Health Corruption in Armenia; Why the UK Needs a World Class Anti-Corruption Strategy; and The 77th Brigade. Also featuring media mentions and upcoming events.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: In this submission, Transparency International UK’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme provides a response to NHS England’s Managing Conflicts of Interest in the NHS: A Consultation. The UK spends 9.9% of GDP on public and private healthcare, with private expenditure only accounting for 1.5%.1 The NHS England annual budget alone is set to rise to £120 billion with the vast majority being spent on equipment and services.2 The complex nature of the health system, a lack of adequate oversight and this level of resources makes the health sector highly vulnerable to conflicts of interest. Improving the transparency of interactions between NHS staff and other individuals and organisations, and minimising the variation in conflicts of interest rules across the NHS, is vital to fighting corruption.
  • Topic: Health, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Chris Kozak
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed at a new set of Astana Talks on May 3 - 4 to establish four large “de-escalation” zones over opposition-held regions of Western Syria. The deal allows for the three countries to deploy forces along the borders of the “de-escalation zones” to monitor a faltering nationwide ceasefire that excludes all opposition forces “associated” with Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. Activists reported a general decrease in violence except along key frontlines such as Damascus and Northern Hama Province after the deal went into effect on May 6. Russia likely intends to leverage to “de-escalation zones” to subordinate the political process to its objectives, reset its military deployments, and block future unilateral action to implement so-called “zones of stabilization” by the U.S. in Syria. Pro-regime forces will likely also use the relative lull in Western Syria to refocus their military campaign towards Eastern Syria to preempt the U.S. from establishing a long-term foothold in regions formerly held by ISIS in Syria. Conditions on the ground remain unfit for a durable ceasefire or political settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. The U.S. signaled its intent to move forward with an imminent offensive to seize Ar-Raqqa City from ISIS that includes the Syrian Kurdish YPG despite clear objections from Turkey. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order on May 8 authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense to directly provide weapons, ammunition, and other equipment to the YPG “as necessary” in support of upcoming operations against ISIS in Ar-Raqqa City. Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White stated that the weapons deliveries will be “limited, mission specific, and metered out incrementally” in order to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PKK in Turkey. The U.S. also floated plans to expand an intelligence fusion center based in Ankara targeting the PKK in Turkey. These efforts remain insufficient to address the security concerns of Turkey. The decision will likely fuel a further breakdown in relations between Turkey and the U.S. that could include new cross-border operations by Turkey against the YPG in Northern Syria. This strategic break will form a core area of disagreement during a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Washington D.C. on May 16.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Benjamin Knudsen, Alexandra Lariiciuc, Franklin Holcomb
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia has continued its destabilization campaign in Ukraine using its proxy forces and other means of subversion. The Trump Administration has indicated it is willing to support Ukraine as the Eastern European country faces Russian aggression. President Trump must act to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine partnership and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader campaign to deter Russian aggression globally. U.S. officials emphasized their support for Ukraine in a series of diplomatic meetings in May. U.S. President Donald Trump held separate meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on May 10 during which he reportedly stressed “Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.” This rhetoric echoes previous statements by Trump administration officials. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will maintain sanctions against Russia “until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) surged in northwest Mosul in a bid to clear the city prior to Ramadan, anticipated to begin on May 26. Emergency Response Division (ERD) and Federal Police (FP) units joined 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Division units in northwest Mosul on April 28. The combined forces recaptured the neighborhoods of Mushairfa and 30 Tamouz, and are fighting to seize the denser neighborhoods of Harmat, 17 Tamouz, and Hawi Kanisa as of publication. Meanwhile, Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) recaptured three neighborhoods in western Mosul. ISF are unlikely to clear the city prior to Ramadan. ISIS claimed to launch attacks to retake two Old City gates, Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Toub. ISIS will also continue to defend the Old City by conducting suicide attacks and attempting to draw fire on civilian gatherings. ISIS will concentrate its defenses around al-Nuri Great Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared publicly in 2014.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Gutowski, Jesse Rose Dury-Agri
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: U.S.-backed forces continue to advance on the major ISIS-held urban centers of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have encircled ISIS in Mosul’s Old City. The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Tabqa, a city adjacent to Raqqa that contains Syria’s largest dam. ISIS also lost terrain in southern Syria, as various factions of the Syrian opposition, including some with U.S. backing, cleared ISIS from positions in Suweida and the Qalamoun mountains. ISIS will attempt to offset these losses during its annual Ramadan offensive campaign, anticipated to begin around May 27. ISIS’s campaign in 2017 increasingly resembles its 2013 insurgent campaign; ISIS’s Ramadan plan will likely focus on synchronizing spectacular attacks across different locations for combined effect. Potential targets include religious sites, security forces, and oil infrastructure. ISIS may also conduct ground attacks in Salah ad Din, Anbar, and central Syria where ISIS retains latent combat capability.
  • Topic: War, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Genevieve Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Russia’s campaign against Syrian civilians continued undeterred by the U.S. strike on April 6 in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in southern Idlib. Local reports indicate Russia regularly used incendiary munitions and bunker buster munitions in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces in order to inflict mass casualties on the population in rebel-held terrain following the U.S. strike. Russian airstrikes also targeted local civilian infrastructure from April 4 - 25, including hospitals, schools, mosques, and civil defense centers across Syria. Russia continually targeted Khan Shaykhoun, the site of the regime’s chemical attack on April 4, throughout the reporting period. Furthermore, activists claimed Russia targeted a hospital and civil defense center treating those wounded in Khan Shaykhoun immediately following the regime’s sarin gas attack. The use of chemical weapons is just one of many means the pro-regime coalition has to punish anti-Assad populations in Syria. Russia remains a principal contributor to President Assad’s purposeful campaign to target Syrian civilians. The Assad regime has a long history of violence against its own people, but the advanced capabilities Russia has brought to theater have allowed the pro-regime coalition to target civilians with even greater precision.
  • Topic: Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Chris Kozak, Genevieve Casagrande, Tom Ramage
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: “There can be no future for Assad and his regime in Syria. It is good that the Trump Administration has recognized that the regime must go in order for negotiated settlement to occur. Demonstrating American will to use military force is a necessary first step. President Trump still needs a larger strategy to achieve the outcomes that US national security and humanity require.” - Jennifer Cafarella
  • Topic: War, Developments
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In Canada, implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an opportunity to explore and reconceive the relationship between international law, Indigenous peoples’ own laws and Canada’s constitutional narratives. In May 2016, Indigenous and Northern A airs Minister Carolyn Bennett addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations and o cially endorsed UNDRIP1 — without the quali cations attached by the previous government, which held the declaration to be aspirational and not legally binding. While this announcement did not change the legal relevance of UNDRIP in Canada, it does express the political will to begin implementation and signals that Canada may be on a path toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. us, the announcement also raised legal and policy questions about how the federal government intends to adopt and implement this soft law instrument.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued to harm groups in opposition-held territory, namely in Idleb and northern Aleppo. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin initiated an offensive against opposition groups in northern Syria while advancing into Raqqa city to the east. Pro-government forces also advanced against ISIS in eastern Aleppo/western Raqqa and Homs. The situation around the US garrison at the al-Tanf border crossing continues to grow more complex as pro- government forces outflanked opposition groups advancing against ISIS in the area, reaching the Iraqi border to the north of opposition and US special forces positions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS continued to lose large portions of territory, particularly to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government Tiger Forces in northern Syria. New clashes erupted in rural Aleppo, Daraa, and Syria’s southern desert as the Syrian government began new offensives against opposition forces on those fronts. Intra-opposition strife continues to plague groups in the opposition-held Idleb pocket.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Daesh’s innovative and tailored use of social media has enabled the terrorist organization to lure and recruit disaffected young men and women on a global scale. Effective interventions to reduce the flow of foreign fighters to Daesh require a nuanced understanding of the organization’s recruitment strategies. This includes both the range of Daesh’s propaganda media (videos, online print materials, offline recruitment networks), and the material’s content.1 Such analysis is essential for policy-makers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of developing effective counter-narratives to Daesh’s insidious ideology.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Over the course of this reporting period, ISIS has continued to lose large swathes of territory, especially to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-government forces. Conflict around Daraa city in Syria’s south escalated further this week as new pro-government offensives are slated to start. Intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province and in Rural Damascus.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: This reporting period, intra-opposition strife continued in Aleppo province but has eased in Rural Damascus. Evacuation deals continued, most notably in Damascus and Homs. Coalition warplanes struck pro-government Iranian-backed militias in the southeastern Syrian desert as the groups advanced against FSA forces in the area. ISIS forces continued to crumble on fronts in Aleppo, Homs, and Raqqa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Since its inception, Daesh has been successfully recruiting women across national and ideological lines to assume key positions in advancing the organization’s objectives. According to recent estimates, out of 31,000 fighters within Daesh territories, almost one-fifth, roughly 6,200, are women. Yet, to date, research and policy focus on women’s involvement in Daesh has been scant. Several media accounts that have covered female participation tend to be alarmingly reductionist in their description of the roles women play in Daesh. These reports primarily categorize women as either passive victims, “Jihadi brides,” or subsidiary supporters of male guardians with negligible influence. This approach not only ignores the multiplicity of roles played by women to expand Daesh’s ideological and operational agenda, but also oversimplifies the motivations behind their decisions to join Daesh. Just like their male counterparts, women are complex human beings with conflicting aspirations, ideological leanings, and life struggles that inform the choices they make.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, elements of an Astana de-escalation plan were enacted while pro-government forces advanced in Hama and the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus. Opposition infighting in Eastern Ghouta and Idleb appears to have stopped for the time being. Fighting in and around Daraa city remained high this week, and both opposition and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to take territory from ISIS.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: During the reporting period, opposition forces advanced once more against ISIS fighters in the southeastern desert of Syria, opposition forces fought with one another once again in the Eastern Ghouta area of rural Damascus, and the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against ISIS in Tabqa city west of Raqqa. Additionally, pro-government forces advanced against feuding opposition forces in Eastern Damascus, and international and pro-government forces were deployed within YPG-held territory following recent exchanges of fire between Turkey and Kurdish forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Charles Perry, Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: This report summarizes key findings and policy recommendations developed by IFPA over the course of a two-year research and workshop project on the prospects for and future direction of U.S.-Japanese-South Korean maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, South Korea
  • Author: Vicki E Alger
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump has called for major changes to federal education policy. During his bid for the White House, he vowed to cut wasteful federal spending on education while preserving funding for services; he pledged to champion school choice; and he promised to return educational policymaking to the state and local level. “We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education,” he said in a television campaign ad. All of these goals can be accomplished during the Trump administration, but not without a major overhaul of the US Department of Education (ED).
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Aaron Connely
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In April 2016, the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop on Southeast Asian perspectives on U.S.–China competition, which informed this publication. That workshop was made possible in part by the generous support of the Robina Foundation. This report is a collaboration between the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this report are entirely the authors' own and not those of the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Robina Foundation.
  • Topic: Governance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Brad Sester, Cole Frank
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The 2014 fall in global oil prices, from over $100 a barrel to around $50 a barrel, reduced the export proceeds of the world’s main oil- and gas-exporting economies by about $1 trillion. After a decade of largely uninterrupted high oil prices, this dramatic swing has tested the economic resiliency and political adaptability of oil-exporting countries. One of the best single measures of the resilience of an oil- or gas-exporting economy is the oil price that covers its import bill—the external breakeven price.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: William Norris
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Chinese government has embarked on an effort to reorient its economy from an investment- and export-driven model toward one predicated on a larger role for consumption and market forces. At the same time, China is also experiencing a new normal of much slower economic growth. The economic downturn and concomitant structural shift in China’s economy has already begun affecting its foreign policy. Security, not economics, is becoming one of President Xi Jinping’s—and China’s—top strategic priorities.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Laura K. Donohue
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On December 31, 2017, section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FAA) will expire. Section 702 governs the domestic interception of foreigners’ communications, when the targets are believed to be outside the United States. Although externally directed, this statute is being used by agencies to monitor, collect, and search U.S. citizens’ communications for foreign intelligence and criminal activity. Congress has an opportunity to amend section 702 to safeguard U.S. national security, protect citizens, and comply with the Constitution.
  • Topic: Global Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On May 7–9, 2017, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted the sixth annual conference of the Council of Councils. The conference was made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation for CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Robina Foundation positions. The Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. In addition, the suggested policy prescriptions are the views of individual participants and do not necessarily represent a consensus of the attending members.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Guatemala has made notable gains in the fight against corruption and impunity in the last decade. President Otto Perez Molina resigned in 2015 and was tried and jailed on charges of corruption, alongside his vice president and several ministers. Several prominent criminal figures have been extradited to the United States, including another former president, Alfonso Portillo. Supreme Court justices and members of congress have been removed from office, drug lords jailed, and extortion rings dismantled. The overall impunity rate for homicides fell from 95 percent to 72 percent [PDF] between 2006 and 2012.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Guatemala
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Rachel B. Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The connection between women’s economic participation and prosperity is undeniable. Over the past two decades, a growing number of international organizations and world leaders have recognized that the economic empowerment of women is critical to economic growth and stability. Multilateral bodies such as the Group of Twenty and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have ratified agreements to promote women in the economy as a means to stimulate growth, and governments from the Ivory Coast to Rwanda to Japan have adopted reforms to increase women’s ability to contribute to their economies
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward Alden, Robert Litan
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The challenge of how to help those left behind by rapid economic change—whether caused by technology or global competition—has moved to the center of the U.S. national debate in a way it has not been since the 1930s. Trade competition, especially from China, has been a significant factor in declining U.S. manufacturing employment over the past decade. Trade also became a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, despite the larger role played by automation and technological change in displacing manufacturing workers for decades. This process will only continue in coming years, with advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and software that will eliminate many jobs while creating others, regardless of what policies the federal government may adopt toward trade and outsourcing.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 29 and 30, the Council on Foreign Relations convened a workshop in New York to explore how international cooperation can accelerate energy innovation. The workshop, hosted by Douglas Dillon Fellow and Acting Director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program Varun Sivaram, was made possible by the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The views described here are those of workshop participants only and are not CFR or Sloan Foundation positions. CFR takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian Cronshaw
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Increased use of natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region could bring substantial local and global benefits. Countries in the region could take advantage of newly abundant global gas supplies to diversify their energy mix; the United States, awash in gas supplies thanks to the fracking revolution, could expand its exports; and climate change could slow as a result of gas displacing coal in rapidly growing economies.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Veronique Dudouet
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: Since the Arab Spring, states, civilians, and many nongovernmental organizations have watched as contentious events play out across the globe. Many wondered how these events would unfold, which would succeed, and just as significantly, whether those contesting power would come to be victimized by the very governments they were protesting against. In this report we seek to understand why some popular uprisings experience mass killings and others do not. In particular, we focus in on the characteristics of violent and nonviolent uprisings to better understand the types of contentious events that are most likely to elicit government crackdowns. Analyzing new data on state violence and popular uprisings from 1955 to 2013, we find that mass killings are associated with particular country and regime characteristic. Preexisting subgroup discrimination and certain types of authoritarian regimes, for instance, are important predictors of governmental violence. Yet, characteristics of popular uprisings are significant as well. Not every uprising is equally threatening to regime elites, and some – like violent movements with foreign support – are much more likely to elicit mass killings than others. In turn, nonviolent resistance, though oftentimes constituting an even greater challenge to oppressive regimes than armed struggle, tends to also decrease the likelihood of mass atrocities. These findings therefore have important implications for policymakers seeking to prevent mass atrocities, and for activists seeking to stay safe in the course of a popular uprising.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Wilson
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
  • Abstract: International human rights came into existence bottom-up, from the e orts of ordinary people to ally with each other in solidarity and demand their rights through civil resistance campaigns in support of democracy, an end to slavery and child labor, women’s rights, labor rights, and tenant rights, among other rights. Yet international law recognizes only states as the ultimate source of law. This monograph develops a novel, people-powered or “demos-centric” approach to international human rights law that acknowledges the role in lawmaking of average human beings, seeing them as both the source of rights and the most e ective means of overcoming the central weakness of international law—namely, its inability to ensure that states and governments comply with the human rights obligations they supposedly undertake. Taking account of nonviolent movements and their impact on the formation and implementation of international human rights law recognizes the human agency of the supposed bene ciaries of human rights law: common people.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus