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  • Author: Guy Marcel Nono
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, there has been a lot of focus on how sustainable development relates to international investment law. The growing trend of including general and security exceptions clauses in international investment agreements (IIAs) has also been highlighted. However, the nexus between general IIAs and security exceptions and the achievement of the SDGs has not been explored.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Sustainable Development Goals, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Walter
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report explores the role of emerging-country members in the Basel process, a key aspect of global financial standard setting. It argues that this process has been significantly more politically resilient than adjacent aspects of global economic governance, in part because major emerging countries have perceived continuing “intra-club” benefits from participation within it. Most important among these are learning benefits for key actors within these countries, including incumbent political leaders. Although some emerging countries perceive growing influence over the international financial standard-setting process, many implicitly accept limited influence in return for learning benefits, which are valuable because of the complexity of contemporary financial systems and the sustained policy challenges it creates for advanced and emerging countries alike. The importance of learning benefits also differentiates the Basel process from other international economic organizations in which agenda control and influence over outcomes are more important for emerging-country governments. This helps to explain the relative resilience of the Basel process in the context of continued influence asymmetries and the wider fragmentation of global economic governance. The report also considers some reforms that could further improve the position of emerging countries in the process and bolster its perceived legitimacy among them.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Financial Markets, Global Political Economy, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Kerryn Brent, Will Burns, Jeffrey McGee
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: After more than two decades of UN negotiations, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with current projections indicating the planet is on a pathway to a temperature increase of approximately 3.2°C by 2100, well beyond what is considered a safe level. This has spurred scientific and policy interest in the possible role of solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal geoengineering activities to help avert passing critical climatic thresholds, or to help societies recover if global temperatures overshoot expectations of safe levels. Marine geoengineering proposals show significant diversity in terms of their purpose, scale of application, likely effectiveness, requisite levels of international cooperation and intensity of environmental risks. This diversity of marine geoengineering activities will likely place significant new demands upon the international law system to govern potential risks and opportunities. International ocean law governance is comprised of a patchwork of global framework agreements, sectoral agreements and customary international law rules that have developed over time in response to disparate issues. These include maritime access, fisheries management, shipping pollution, ocean dumping and marine scientific research. This patchwork of oceans governance contains several bodies of rules that might apply in governing marine geoengineering activities. However, these bodies of rules were negotiated for different purposes, and not specifically for the governance of marine geoengineering. The extent to which this patchwork of rules might contribute to marine geoengineering governance will vary, depending on the purpose of an activity, where it is conducted, which state is responsible for it and the types of impacts it is likely to have. The 2013 amendment to the London Protocol on ocean dumping provides the most developed and specific framework for marine geoengineering governance to date. But the capacity of this amendment to bolster the capacity of international law to govern marine geoengineering activities is limited by some significant shortcomings. Negotiations are under way to establish a new global treaty on conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including new rules for area-based management, environmental impact assessments and capacity building/technology transfer. A new agreement has the potential to fill key gaps in the existing patchwork of international law for marine geoengineering activities in high-seas areas. However, it is also important that this new treaty be structured in a way that is not overly restrictive, which might hinder responsible research and development of marine geoengineering in high-seas areas.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Law, United Nations, Green Technology, Geoengineering
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Nyers
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • Abstract: The phenomenon of displacement is increasingly evident across a wide range of human activity, but there have been few attempts to consider the connections between these movements. For several years the international community has been focused on the displacement of Syrians from their homes and the resulting flow of refugees into neighbouring countries and Europe. More recently, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the violence in Myanmar and captured the world’s attention. Less well known, but no less significant, has been the more than one million refugees fleeing the violence in South Sudan. All this public and governmental interest in migrants is not surprising given that, in 2015, the United Nations estimated that there were 244 million migrants in the world, including about 65.3 million forcibly displaced people, of which 20 million are refugees. These numbers – and the stories of suffering and survival that accompany them – have led former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon (2016), to declare that there exists a global “crisis of solidarity.” However, forced migration is just one case in the movement of peoples between states. An even larger migration occurs within states as rural residents pour into cities around the world, vividly captured in Mike Davis’s (2007) phrase “Planet of Slums.” Within many cities gentrification displaces local communities in favour of new residents with greater purchasing power. These events, moreover, take place in the background of earlier colonial displacements of Indigenous peoples and the legacies of those violent episodes. Displacement occurs both in the physical sense of people being moved from one place to another and in a cultural sense as in the case of the Canadian residential schools system destruction of First Nations culture. Shifting focus to human interaction with the natural world, the planet is on the verge of a historic displacement with the extinction of ecological systems and thousands of species with climate change and further industrialization (Jones 2016).
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Crisis, Displacement, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brian Budd, Nicole Goodman, Sarah Shoker, Dominik Stecula, Sara Bannerman, Tony Porter, Netina Tan, Chelsea Gabel, Liam Midzain-Gobin, Devin Ouellette, Norwin Tabassum, Catherine Frost, Marcel Goguen, Brian Detlor, Amelia Joseph, Andrea Zeffiro, Angela Orasch
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • Abstract: As we approach the third decade of the 21st century, there are numerous disturbing signs that two world-historical accomplishments that had seemed so promising are in serious trouble. The first of these is digital networks, which had promised to bring the world closer together, bringing broader popular participation and engagement and new ways of generating wealth and wellness. However, today anxieties about digital networking are proliferating, sparked by growing levels of digital surveillance, the effects of digital devices on our mental health and sociality, and the loss of jobs to artificial intelligence. The second troubled historical accomplishment is democracy, which at the end of the Cold War seemed to be expanding inexorably, but which now is challenged by growing authoritarianism and popular discontent with democratic governments. Freedom House’s 2019 report, entitled “Democracy in Retreat”, documents the 13th consecutive year of weakening democratic norms around the world (2019). These two global developments are related, due to the negative impact of “fake news” spread digitally on elections or the disruptive effects of digitization on the type of social cohesion that should be an important precondition for and effect of democracy. However, the relationships between digitization and democracy are multidimensional and complex, and much work remains to identify and analyze them. This working paper contributes to addressing this need by bringing together a set of interdisciplinary contributions, exploring different facets of the relationship between digitization and democracy in a variety of settings, from the local through to the global. This introduction to the working paper provides an overview of some key issues and literatures relevant to the relationship between digitization and democracy, including the historical shift in assessments of this relationship from optimism to concern; analysis of more specific ways that digitization and democracy interact; and the increasingly global aspects of the problem and the challenges this poses to governance. The final section of this introduction provides a summary of the individual contributions that follow. These short papers were presented at a workshop at McMaster University in September 2018 and then revised for this set of working papers to bring out their common themes more consistently. This final section of the introduction emphasizes the inter-relatedness of digitization and democracy in various settings. This type of global and multidimensional mapping of the problem is crucial if these problems, and the fears about our global futures that accompany them, can be diagnosed, treated, and overcome.
  • Topic: Health, Democracy, Media, Surveillance, Digitization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tim Maurer, Wyatt Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to identify the emerging and expanding gaps in the governance of private cybersecurity companies and activities and to explore ways forward and policy options for governments. The first section of the paper will explore the characteristics of typical cyber operations and challenges related to their conduct by private actors. Section two will address the governance challenges around cybersecurity and three main departure points for regulation: the fact that geographic scope does not limit cybersecurity companies, that cyber operations can slide from defensive to offensive very quickly; and that cybersecurity services are often exported for the purpose of (or with the knowledge they will be) violating human rights. This section will also integrate perspectives of international law. Section three will lay out suggestions for policy options in relation to international law and existing international normative frameworks. In conclusion, the paper will offer a framework and way forward as food for thought in order to address cybersecurity operations in relation to PMSCs.
  • Topic: International Law, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Internet
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Geneva Paper shows that ATT states parties generally implement the ATT’s prohibitions set forth in Article 6 through national laws and policies. This paper also demonstrates that exporting states implement the ATT’s obligations regarding export assessment contained in Article 7 in many different ways. While the spectrum of how exporting states parties consider an arms exports’ potential effect on peace and security is very broad, their national frameworks contain similar or nearly identical export criteria on assessing the risk of arms being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Few states parties have national export criteria regarding terrorism, transnational organized crime and gender-based violence. States also consider national criteria other than those specified in Article 7 before authorizing arms exports, including positive consequences of arms exports. Finally, states parties’ national frameworks mostly do not define clear thresholds for denying arms exports. Given this divergence in states party implementation, in addition to a remaining lack of clarity on how states apply the ATT provisions in practice, this paper recommends reinforcing dialogue on ATT implementation. This could lead to better understanding and implementation guidance that strengthens the emergence of common standards and improves the quality of national export assessments. To increase states parties’ knowledge on risks to be avoided, institutionalizing cooperation with human rights bodies and establishing an ATT internal information exchange mechanism is also recommended.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias Vestner, Alessandro Mario Amoroso
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Tobias Vestner and Alessandro Mario Amoroso, from the GCSP Security and Law team, are the authors of a Training Guide designed for Swiss private security companies to fulfil the obligations introduced by the Federal Act on Private Security Services provided Abroad (PSSA). The guide is tailored to the needs of companies operating and maintaining weapons systems and/or providing installation services, training on equipment and systems, and/or operational or logistical support to armed forces. Its purpose is to enable company personnel to understand key concepts and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the risk and avoidance of direct participation in hostilities. The various chapters provide the necessary knowledge and tools to train company personnel to identify, prevent, and report activities that can constitute direct participation in hostilities or complicity in human rights and international humanitarian law violations. The guide includes thirty practical scenarios for training on direct participation in hostilities, with answers, which can be used to discuss the risk and avoidance of activities amounting to direct participation in hostilities.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Weapons , International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
  • Political Geography: Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Mathias Bak, Kristoffer Nilaus Tarp, Christina Schori Liang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: During the last few decades, the concept of violent extremism (VE) has played an increasingly prominent role in policies and development programming on a global level. Having gone through several incarnations, the current focus for most actors deals with preventing and countering violent extremism. This terminology was constructed in an effort to repackage the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in a manner that shifted the focus away from the over-militarised responses of the 90s and early 2000s, to methods linked to social support and prevention. Where counterterrorism focuses on countering terrorists through physical means, the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) approach aims to prevent the rise of violent extremist organisations (VEOs) through less militarised methods. P/CVE programs therefore aim at developing resilience among communities that may be prone to violent extremism. According to the 2015 UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, such interventions aim to address the root causes and drivers of violent extremism, which often include: socio-economic issues; discrimination; marginalization; poor governance; human rights violations; remnants of violent conflict; collective grievances; and other psychological factors.1 The concept of violent extremism has also become increasingly mainstream in the international community, with both the UN Security Council (UNSC 2014)2 and the UN General Assembly3 (UNGA 2015) calling for member states to address VE.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan M. Harris
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Macroeconomic theory was shaken up in the wake of the financial crisis, with neoclassical approaches proving inadequate to analyze or respond to the need for policy action. Despite efforts to return to more conventional macro perspectives, a continuing re-evaluation of economic theory has important implications both for traditional economic concerns such as employment and inflation, and for ecological issues and the climate crisis. An emerging “green Keynesian” approach combines a radical Keynesian analysis with ecological priorities such as drastic carbon emissions reduction. One important aspect of this reorientation of theory is the analysis of economic and ecological deficits. In the years since the financial crisis, both economic and ecological deficits have increased. This poses a challenge for “green Keynesian” policy. It is therefore necessary to have effective analyses to measure and respond to ecological deficits, as well as policy measures to deal with economic deficits. This paper proposes a new approach to measuring ecological deficits, and a new perspective on economic deficits and debt. Since there is no single unitary measure for depletion or degradation of different kinds of resources, it is necessary to measure different kinds of deficit for different resources, with a goal of reducing all of these to zero or replacing them with surpluses. The analysis involves exploring the specific economic implications of reducing both ecological and economic deficits, which involves re-conceptualizing economic growth and "degrowth", and provides an alternative to current U.S. policies under the Trump administration, which are contributing to widening both deficits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Financial Crisis, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus