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  • Author: Bill Orme
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The United Nations made a promise in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to promote free and independent media around the world. Citizens cannot “seek, receive and impart information and ideas, through any medium, regardless of frontiers” without access to a vibrant media sphere, including a free and open internet. But how does the UN interpret and act upon this obligation? How is that changing? And how can the UN help create a more effective response to the profound challenges confronting independent media? This report examines the myriad ways that the agencies and bodies of the United Nations support the development of healthy media systems. Author Bill Orme highlights the role of four UN organizations in particular—UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, and DPO—and makes recommendations targeted to these agencies, as well as to UN member states and donors.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Journalism, The Press, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Global
  • Author: Talal Raza
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The 2018 general election represented one of the first times digital disinformation occurred on a massive scale in Pakistan. This report examines different forms of disinformation that circulated online in the lead up to the 2018 elections and its impact on the country’s political discourse, and considers methods to counter disinformation in Pakistan and elsewhere. Ultimately, combating this growing problem will require a variety of stakeholders to work toward a multi-pronged, collaborative response.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Elections, Digitization, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East
  • Author: Alexandra Sdoukou, Andrea Tornaritis, Perrine Toledano
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This policy paper wishes to be a timely contribution towards a fruitful debate among stakeholders; it urges International Oil Companies (IOCs) to examine how the critical Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Greece can be integrated into their core business so that the oil and gas industry can contribute to the country’s sustainable growth.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Mediterranean
  • Author: Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with realization of human rights and broader public interest objectives. This Chapter provides an overview of the interaction between human rights law and the investment treaty regime. It highlights the challenges that arise from tension between international human rights and investment norms, including the impact of the investment regime on the ability of host states to regulate and on access to justice for investment-affected rights holders. The chapter also explores whether and how human rights issues have been addressed by the investment regime to date, highlighting recent developments in treaty drafting practice and responses to human rights argumentation by investment tribunals. It notes the shortcomings of current approaches, and concludes by briefly setting out options for reform.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Treaties and Agreements, Reform, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments. Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors. This report presents a call to action to help communities secure the support they so crucially need. The report explores options for tapping new funding sources for community support. These include: Government marshaling of funding from companies and others, through taxes, fees, and penalties Basket funds, operated by independent, trusted entities and funded by contributions from multiple actors Market-based impact investments and social impact bonds Direct company funding Third party funding Other solutions for increasing funding or reducing costs, including crowdfunding, generating profits from social enterprises, affordable user fees or in-kind services, contingency and uplift fees, and court-ordered fee shifting. The report also presents overarching considerations for developing a new financing initiative. These include: the initiative’s likely cost, efficiency and financial sustainability, political complexity and obstacles, political economy implications, the importance of strong governance mechanisms, and the logistics required to link funding, communities and support providers.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Investment, Land
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights. Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in achieving climate solutions, the degree to which climate change may reshape regional abilities to support sustainable ecosystems, and the ways in which these land and climate interactions might affect land rights, human rights, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: At the request of the Colombian Government and with the support of GIZ, CCSI prepared a policy brief focused on linkages from the mining sector in Colombia. The brief gives an overview of existing regulatory requirements, government policies and company programs to foster economic and infrastructure linkages. Based on the findings, the brief provides suggestions for next steps if the government is to develop a more comprehensive linkage creation program.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Governance, Regulation, Mining
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Omar Cortes, Juanita Millan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Colombia’s recent history has been marked by internal armed conflict and efforts to end it. For nearly six decades of war the response of the Colombian state to the insurgent threat has primarily been one of military confrontation. But at the same time all of the country’s governments have also initiated political negotiation processes. Some of these initiatives have led to the demobilisation of several armed groups. In these scenarios, the Armed Forces have played an important role in the war, and a smaller one in the peace negotiations. This situation changed significantly with the recent negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia/FARC). For the first time the Armed Forces (the military and police) played a key role in both the negotiations and the implementation of the peace agreement. This active involvement on the part of the state security forces has been an essential part of and key contributing factor to the most successful peace process in Colombia of the last six decades.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Peace
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Kwesi Aning, Joseph Siegle
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa’s armed forces are in transition from an independence-era model to one more suited to today’s conflicts and threats. They are increasingly called upon to engage in preventive action, resolve domestic security crises, combat transnational threats, and protect the progression toward more democratic governance. Understanding how African security sector actors’ perceptions may be shifting in light of these changes can provide insights to improving their effectiveness. This study, involving 742 African security sector professionals from 37 countries, assesses differences in the attitudes, motivations, and values of the emerging generation of African security sector professionals. Understanding these differences may raise awareness, provide a basis for reform, and create an impetus for improving the citizen-security actor relationship.
  • Topic: Globalization, National Security, Democracy, State Building, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mediterranean, Sahara