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  • Author: Ranjan K. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India-China relations witnessed a new wave of optimism for a progressive and engaging partnership following the Wuhan Summit, the informal 2018 meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. Key to this has been continuous exchange of political and official visits from both sides. However, these exchanges might not be sufficient to remove uncertainty and suspicion from their relations. As long as China’s relationship with the United States remains adversarial, China will embrace India—without guaranteeing that it will not adopt a confrontational posture in the future. Their shifting relations, though suggesting an official longing for an upward trajectory, are based on a compromised context. External circumstances have pushed them to rapprochement, but could also drive them apart. Whether India and China will sustain this rapprochement is difficult to foresee.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Raymond Yamamoto
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 is among the most ambitious global visions promoted by one country. The general goal of BRI is the provision of economic infrastructure worth at least $1 trillion to improve the land and sea routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. In order to attract additional international investments to finance the initiative, China even created a multilateral bank – the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — in 2015. However, China’s ambitious BRI strategy has met considerable criticism from politicians and policy-makers, journalists, analysts, and scholars. These criticisms include accusations of pursuing debt-trap diplomacy to gain concessions from countries participating in BRI. The decision of Sri Lanka in 2018 to lease Hambantota port to China in order to reduce its BRI debt burden is often cited as a prime example. Together with growing Chinese military strength and assertiveness in the South and East China Seas, BRI is being framed as an instrument deployed by China to build up its global dominance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Jasper Linke
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This SSR Backgrounder explains the concepts of urban safety and security and describes the various safety and security challenges that urban SSG is confronted with, ranging from road safety and property crime to urban warfare and environmental disasters. It outlines the different roles of the security sector at local and national levels in provision, management and oversight of safety and security in cities. The SSR Backgrounder then links good SSG to urban development and specifically sheds light on the contribution of good SSG to gender equality and disaster management in cities. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What is urban safety and security? What are the challenges for urban safety and security? Who are the security and justice providers in cities? How does good SSG contribute to more inclusive, safe and resilient cities? How does good SSG improve gender equality in cities? How does good SSG strengthen urban disaster management?
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Law Enforcement, Urbanization, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Jasper Linke
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This SSR Backgrounder explains how SSR features in peace processes and how it is linked to other aspects of security, justice and democratic governance. It highlights some of the main factors that influence the inclusion of SSR in peace processes, including the roles and strategies of mediators in shaping the negotiations. It also discusses what issues of SSR are typically not addressed in peace processes and some of the principal challenges of SSR negotiation and implementation. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: Why is SSG central to peace processes? How can SSR feature in peace processes? What aspects of SSR are often neglected in peace processes? What other security arrangements in peace processes are relevant to SSR? What are the challenges of including SSR in peace processes?
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies, Governance, Reform, Transitional Justice
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Ronja Harder, Jasper Linke
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Civil society engagement is part of a culture of participation that enhances the democratic nature of decision-making about security. The expertise and independent interests of civil society provide a counter-balance to government policy by providing policymakers with a wider range of perspectives, information and alternative ideas. However, civil society activism is not always democratic or representative of the population’s needs or interests and does not automatically lead to effective oversight. This SSR Backgrounder explains how civil society can improve the accountability and effectiveness of the security sector. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What is civil society? How can civil society improve SSG? How can working with civil society help state security and justice institutions? When does civil society make insecurity worse? What challenges does civil society face?
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Governance
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Ronja Harder, Jasper Linke
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This SSR Backgrounder is about applying the principles of good security sector governance (SSG) to policing through police reform. The police are the primary state security provider responsible for protecting people and property through public assistance, law enforcement, the maintenance of peaceful public order, and the identification and prevention of crime. The goal of police reform is to ensure that policing becomes more effective, more accountable and more responsive to the needs of all members of society within a framework of democratic security sector governance. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What is police reform? Why is police reform necessary? Is there a model for police reform? How are police reforms carried out? How is gender equality part of police reform?
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Law Enforcement, Reform
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Ronja Harder, Jasper Linke
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Gendarmeries and constabulary-type police go by many names, but all combine characteristics of both the military and civilian police. Because of their unique skill sets, demand for such forces to face new threats to domestic and international security has increased everywhere. However, the mixed military–civilian characteristics of gendarmeries and constabulary-type police pose special challenges for democratic civilian control and the appropriate use of force, especially in domestic law enforcement. This SSR Backgrounder describes the roles and functions of gendarmeries and similar forces and explains how applying the principles of good SSG enables them to fulfil their legitimate mission of protecting both state and human security with respect for human rights and the rule of law. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What are gendarmeries and constabulary-type police? What roles can gendarmeries play in domestic security? How can gendarmeries contribute to international security? Are gendarmeries compatible with democratic security governance? What does SSR mean for gendarmeries?
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Military Affairs, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: William McDermott
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This SSR Backgrounder explains what ombuds institutions for the armed forces are, what they do and how they contribute to good governance of the security sector. These institutions provide oversight of the armed forces by receiving and investigating complaints, thereby improving the accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of the armed forces. They are an essential feature of democratic security sector governance that ensures respect for the rule of law and human rights. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What are ombuds institutions for the armed forces? What are the different types of ombuds institutions? How do ombuds institutions contribute to good SSG? How do ombuds institutions handle complaints? Why should complaints be encouraged? What kinds of investigations can ombuds institutions conduct? Are ombuds institutions part of the justice sector? How do ombuds institutions ensure the enforcement of their recommendations?
  • Topic: Security, Governance, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Thammy Evans
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This SSR Backgrounder is about applying the principles of good security sector governance (SSG) to defence through defence reform. The military is concerned with the defence of a state and its people. By increasing democratic oversight and control, defence reform ensures that military power is used according to the will and in defence of the population. Defence reform enables the military to fulfil its mandate more efficiently and effectively, in order to function flexibly in a dynamic security environment. This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions: What is defence reform? Why reform defence? Who carries out defence reform? How does a defence reform process work? What links defence reform to good SSG and SSR? How to overcome barriers to defence reform?
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Galant
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The #MeToo movement started with a single tweet — now, it has produced an international treaty. One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, while close to three in four report having been sexually harassed. Much of this violence occurs in the workplace, where power imbalances and economic pressures increase the risk of abuse. Yet 59 countries have no legislation specifically addressing workplace harassment.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sebastien Feve, David Dews
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: This report contains a comparative evaluation of national strategies to prevent and counter violent extremism, to explore how they reflect recommendations and good practices outlined by the United Nations. Drawing upon a sample of 19 national strategies, the report analyzes the procedures and standards of policy planning that underpin the development of countries’ strategies. Using the guidelines of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism’s “Reference Guide: Developing National and Regional Action Plans to Prevent Violent Extremism” as a common analytical framework, the report is organized around the six procedural components outlined therein as essential in developing inclusive, context-specific, and robust national strategies. Analyzing national strategies against this framework, the report explores whether the procedures and considerations that led to the development of countries’ national strategies meet this standard. Based on this comparative analysis, the report provides a number of recommendations related to each of the six procedural components analyzed. It is hoped that these recommendations will help guide countries as they develop new or optimize existing strategies in line with international norms and common standards of promising practice and in turn design more effective national strategies to prevent and counter violent extremism.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, International Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, United Nations, Lebanon, Albania, Switzerland, Sweden, Nigeria, Somalia, Montenegro, Austria, Maldives, United States of America
  • Author: Carl Conetta, Lutz Unterseher
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: A selection of slides prepared for seminars held in Holland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Belarus in 1994. The seminars were organized and co-sponsored by the Study Group on Alternative Security Policy (SAS) and the Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA). Twenty-five years later the principles of Confidence-Building Defense remain relevant to the efforts of North and South Korea to construct a “peace regime” after many decades of enmity and military standoff.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, National Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Belarus
  • Author: Vicki Valosik, Kristin Smith
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: For Kristin Smith, MAAS alum and Cultural Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, culture and diplomacy go hand-in-hand. “My job is really using culture and art to bring people closer together,” Smith told the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star at a U.S. Embassy event celebrating the Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran. “It’s not just about deepening our ties and getting to know each other on a cultural level though. If we have these similarities in [the arts], then perhaps that will lead to future cooperation in other ways.” During her time in the MA in Arab Studies program, Smith—who holds a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from Harvard—pursued an academic concentration in Culture and Society, managed a yoga studio, and served as a Public Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca. Following graduation, she joined the Foreign Service, serving in Taiwan before beginning her current position in 2017. Her portfolio as Cultural Affairs Officer covers five primary issues: arts and culture, non-formal education, academic outreach, interfaith and minority outreach, and alumni programming.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Culture, Language, Arabic
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, North America, Beirut, United States of America
  • Author: Isabel Roemer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: A MAAS grad’s work at the intersection of diplomacy and cinematic arts is shaping American narratives and empowering storytellers around the globe. When people think about the tools of diplomatic engagement, narrative storytelling is not one that usually comes to mind. But for Rachel Gandin Mark, Program Director of the American Film Showcase (ASF)—the State Department’s film, television, and digital diplomacy program —the two go hand-in-hand. “I love thinking about how to incorporate entertainment, particularly story and character, into specific foreign policy strategies,” says Gandin Mark, who graduated from MAAS in 2003. “Some of our country’s biggest diplomatic challenges today stem from conflicting global narratives. Film and TV, when produced with authenticity and nuance, have the potential to complicate narratives and reveal a shared human experience.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Culture, Media, Film
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Skylar Benedict
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Examining the historic roots of Jordan’s water management policy. First, Jordan deals with natural water scarcity arising from the country’s arid semi-desert climate and seasonally fluctuating surface water sources. Second, Jordan currently depends on costly water projects such as the Disi Water Conveyance Project and the King Abdullah Canal to meet its municipal, agricultural, and industrial water needs. Third, the sudden influx of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war has led to an increased strain on water resources. While realistic, this narrative’s exclusive focus on the present hardships obscures a much longer history of water management in Jordan—one characterized by successive political conflicts and increasingly centralized and unsustainable water extraction policies—that has equally contributed to the country’s current scarcity challenges.
  • Topic: Environment, Water, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan, United States of America
  • Author: Carol Graham
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Carol Madison Graham (MAAS ’81) was the first MAAS graduate to enter the United States Foreign Service. She reflects on how the 1984 embassy bombing in Beirut inspired her current work to strengthen the Foreign Service for future generations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Violence, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, North America, United States of America
  • Author: ONG Keng Yong
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Ambassador ONG Keng Yong, who graduated from MAAS in 1983, remembers his time in Washington and sheds light on Singapore’s “price taker” approach to foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries, Singapore, 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: Kaylee Steck, Mohammed Alhammami
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Last fall, Congress enacted a law that indirectly led to 29 young Arab leaders losing their scholarships to U.S.-accredited universities and dealt another blow to educational and cultural exchange programming, a critical part of U.S. public diplomacy efforts.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Law, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kala Carruthers Azar
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Alum Kala Carruthers Azar, who serves as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, writes about the important role of people-to-people exchanges to American soft power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Culture, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Jordan, United States of America
  • Author: Isabel Roemer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Al Mughairy has served as the Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the United States since 2005. In this role, she has applied her extensive expertise in business and diplomacy to advocate for free trade between the U.S. and Oman. As the first Arab woman appointed to serve as ambassador to the U.S., Her Excellency also strives to dispel misconceptions of Arab women. Prior to this position, Ambassador Al Mughairy worked for the Permanent Mission of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations, the Omani Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development. She also serves on the CCAS Board of Advisors and as Chair of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., an organization that focuses on building bridges between the American and Omani peoples.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: North America, Oman, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Uma Mencia
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: MAAS alum Uma Mencia shares how her career as an endurance horse racer has introduced her to new landscapes and peoples and given her a deeper connection with the natural world
  • Topic: Environment, Sports, Arabic
  • Political Geography: North America, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Julie A. Eadeh
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: For MAAS alum Julie Eadeh, diplomacy is all about human relationships, whether building connections with local communities or helping Americans abroad in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, War, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marwa Daoudy
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, a new narrative has emerged that seeks to link climate change with political and social unrest. This idea of a climate-conflict nexus is similar to the “water wars” scenario of the 1990s, in which the media and some scholars predicted that water scarcity would be the major driver of inter-state conflict in the twenty-first century. More recently, this climateconflict narrative has been applied to the Syrian case. According to this logic, climate change caused the 2006-2010 drought in Syria, the drought caused agricultural failure, agricultural failure caused poverty, and the resulting displacement and discontent culminated with the 2011 uprising. My forthcoming book, The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security (Cambridge University Press, spring 2020) questions this line of reasoning, arguing that government policies were at the heart of Syria’s vulnerabilities in the buildup to the uprising. Although global warming is real and international action is urgently needed, climate change was not what was at the forefront of the minds of Syrians in 2011. Instead, most people were focused on a moral ideal: the end of repression and injustice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Water, Food Security, Inequality, Syrian War, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • 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: Vicki Valosik
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: A certificate program at the School of Foreign Service offers theoretical knowledge and practical training for aspiring diplomats. According to Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Director of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD), the skills needed by today’s aspiring diplomats haven’t changed significantly since the days when she was preparing for her own long and successful diplomatic career. “On one level, they will need the skills diplomats have always needed: the ability to understand and shape policy, to work comfortably globally, to be able to analyze a large amount of information, and—critically important—the ability to write,” she says. “At the same time,” adds Bodine, who served as Ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001, “twenty-first century diplomats also need to be able to manage large amounts of data and comfortably move from a known issue, a comfortzone issue, to something new. They need to be able to extrapolate from past experience to a new experience without rigid templates.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America
  • Author: Diogo Bercito
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: MAAS alum Samer Judeh built Jordan’s first windfarm and catalyzed the country’s renewable energy industry.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 48 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Law, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 42nd regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 9 and 27 September 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the HRC has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be an indicator of potential genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes from the 42nd session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands delivered a statement on behalf of 53 members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Transitional Justice, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations, Syria, Somalia, Burundi, Bolivia, Myanmar, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 47 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 41st regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 24 June and 12 July 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be potential indicators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 41st session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands and Rwanda delivered two statements on behalf of members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Nations, Syria, Netherlands, Rwanda, Eritrea
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 46 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso, Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Ethnic Cleansing, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The eleventh report of the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) emphasizes the important role of prevention. The report takes stock of a range of measures that individual states and the international community can undertake while upholding their preventive responsibilities based upon best practices since the adoption of R2P at the 2005 UN World Summit. While acknowledging a growing number of contemporary atrocity situations around the world, the Secretary-General cautions that “there is a growing gap between our words of commitment and the experience of protecting vulnerable populations.” The report offers a number of practical policy suggestions based upon experiences of the last decade and serves as a call to action for member states and international institutions.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today, 7 June 2019, the United Nations General Assembly elected Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Viet Nam to the UN Security Council for the period of 2020-2021. With their election, 6 of the 15 members of the Council in 2020 will be “Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” – having appointed an R2P Focal Point and/or joined the Group of Friends of R2P in New York and Geneva.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Sovereignty, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Estonia, United Nations, Tunisia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 45 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Nigeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mali, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Israel, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The 40th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 25 February and 22 March 2019. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes, as systematic violations and abuses of human rights can be potential indicators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 40th session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from such crimes. As part of the session, the Netherlands delivered a statement on behalf of members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
  • Topic: International Law, State Violence, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North Korea, Palestine, United Nations, Nicaragua, Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 44 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Sudan, Israel, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: Today, 15 March, marks eight years of deadly conflict in Syria. Since 2011 half a million people have been killed, 11.9 million have been displaced from their homes and 13 million remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance. As the conflict enters its ninth year and the prevailing media narrative is that the civil war is coming to an end, civilians in Syria still face the threat of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, International Law, Syrian War, Justice, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 43 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nicaragua, Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Sudan, Israel, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Nicaragua, Syria, Nigeria, Burundi, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Schroeder
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As a young, single-seat fighter pilot based in Germany in the Royal Air Force of the early 1980s, I enjoyed a degree of certainty about my role in life. The world was, to all intents and purposes, a bi-polar place. We knew exactly from where our threat emanated and, indeed, had comprehensive standing plans for dealing with it. In the event of an attack by the Warsaw Pact on NATO’s eastern flank, we had pre-designated areas in which we would interdict any enemy military force heading westwards. We had pre-planned missions for systematically taking down all elements of Soviet air power — be it through suppression of enemy air defense sensors and surfaceto-air systems or denial of his airfields’ operating surfaces. In the event that the conflict escalated too rapidly, or went too far, we even had plans to resort to the ultimate sanction of the pre-planned and graduated employment of tactical nuclear weapons. Our plans, and our skills, were tested on a frequent and regular basis. It was no rare experience to be woken by a siren in the middle of the night to be called to duty. Our response time was measured, as was the ability to demonstrate our preparedness to brief our wartime missions, arm our aircraft, and prove our abilities to be airborne within the allocated time period. The results of these exercises—known as NATO Tactical Evaluations (TacEvals)—were equally rigorous in the Land and Maritime domains. Their results were widely shared within Alliance circles. Achieving a “one” for a TacEval result was every commanding officer’s goal
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Engelke, David Michel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Himalayan Asia is a shorthand term referring to the Asian countries that depend on river water from the high mountain ranges of the Tibetan Plateau. As the rivers produced by the Himalayas and other mountain ranges on the Plateau are under increasingly serious pressure, water insecurity threatens much of the continent’s peace and security. Himalayan Asia’s transboundary water dynamics threaten to erode interstate cooperation, including among the continent’s major powers, risk worsening geopolitical competition, and heighten the odds of domestic and interstate conflict. Yet there are viable pathways for avoiding such outcomes, the most important of which treat water as a shared resource to be managed cooperatively.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Max Hess
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: This report illustrates how the Russian Federation’s sovereign debt, particularly foreign currency bonds, have become an arena for interstate competition in the aftermath of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Sanctions, both real and threatened, on Russia’s government, state-owned enterprises
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Spiegelberger
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Are U.S. sanctions on Russia working? Does Russia use its energy resources as a tool to coerce European countries? Any assessment of Russian foreign policy and the Kremlin’s relations with the United States depends on a clear-eyed understanding of Russian political economy. FPRI’s Eurasia Program features credible, expert analysis on key themes in Russian political economy. The Russia Political Economy Project will publish papers and host events in Washington, New York, and other cities on the subject. The Project also includes FPRI’S BMB Russia which provides a daily round-up of the major news items related to Russian politics and economics
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Mihalyi, Patrick Heller
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: National oil companies (NOCs) produce the majority of the world’s oil and gas, pumping out an estimated 85 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Within their home countries, NOCs influence the degree to which billions of people benefit (or suffer) from their countries’ hydrocarbon assets. Many of these companies manage multi-billion-dollar portfolios of public assets, execute complex projects across their territories and at sea, employ citizens in the tens or hundreds of thousands, and perform a range of public services from providing energy to building infrastructure. Despite their importance, NOCs are poorly understood thanks to weak and uneven reporting, sparse research, and an absence of publicly available comparative data.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: This report explores common resource governance successes and challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, taking advantage of the rich dataset and wealth of evidence documentation provided by the Resource Governance Index. While the authors detect common trends across the region, there is also great diversity between and within countries. It also documents examples of good practices from which officials in other countries can learn. The authors conclude with the suggestion that policymakers, parliamentarians, civil society, media and regional institutions focus more on narrowing the implementation gap, which will help to restore trust between government, communities and investors and thus strengthen sustainable management of natural resources. Creating space for public debate, strengthening capacity of public institutions and oversight actors, addressing lack of political will and learning from past legal reforms are possible solutions to address the implementation gap.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel M. Kliman
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Since its launch in 2013, what China calls “One Belt, One Road” has emerged as the cornerstone of Beijing’s economic statecraft. Under the umbrella of the Belt and Road, Beijing seeks to promote a more connected world brought together by a web of Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. The infrastructure needs in Asia and beyond are significant, but the Belt and Road is more than just an economic initiative; it is a central tool for advancing China’s geopolitical ambitions. Through the economic activities bundled under the Belt and Road, Beijing is pursuing a vision of the 21st century defined by great power spheres of influence, state-directed economic interactions, and creeping authoritarianism
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Richard Fontaine
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In June 2008, the Center for a New American Security published a compendium of essays to grapple with the central questions of American grand strategy.1 The volume compiled the views of leading senior strategists from across the political spectrum and from both academia and the policy community. Four years later, CNAS embarked on a similar venture, presenting the views of four more expert thinkers
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carrie Cordero
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congressional oversight is essential for providing accountability for the activities of the intelligence services.1 Effective oversight by the congressional intelligence committees – by an independent branch of government – is needed in order to monitor the adequacy of legal authorities, the lawfulness of activities carried out under those authorities, and the responsible application of public funds for intelligence activities. As elected representatives entrusted with providing an outside check on activities that are conducted out of the public eye, members of the committees serve a critical function in facilitating accountability, transparency, and confidence in intelligence activities conducted under law.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Paula J. Dobriansky
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy officials have embraced economic sanctions as a tool of choice for American foreign policy. Decisionmakers have deployed sanctions against strategic adversaries and national security threats ranging from Russia to non-state actors such as terrorist groups, drug cartels, and businesspeople who engage in corrupt activities. The appeal to both policy leaders and key constituent groups of the potent economic impacts of sanctions in several recent high-profile cases, particularly those of Iran, Russia, North Korea, and Venezuela, combined with broad bipartisan support for aggressive use of U.S. sanctions, suggests that the United States will favor this policy tool and be an active practitioner in the years ahead
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: John Klein
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Recent U.S. space policy initiatives underscore the far-reaching benefits of commercial space activities. The White House revived the National Space Council to foster closer coordination, cooperation, and exchange of technology and information among the civil, national security, and commercial space sectors.1 National Space Policy Directive 2 seeks to promote economic growth by streamlining U.S. regulations on the commercial use of space.2 While the defense community generally appreciates the value of services and capabilities derived from the commercial space sector—including space launch, Earth observation, and satellite communications—it often overlooks one area of strategic importance: deterrence.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus