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  • Author: Markus Gehring
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Economic, environmental and other international regimes are jointly facing a wicked climate problem. Climate change impacts on human activity and ecosystems have the potential to jeopardize attaining shared goals of these different regimes, and yet can only be addressed by overcoming the division and occasional conflict between their different stakeholders and areas of focus. Discussions have begun in the hallways on how trade law could best be leveraged to bring the international community together to prevent climate-related harms. This paper argues that World Trade Organization (WTO) fisheries subsidies negotiations should be a priority area for those practitioners and researchers building links between trade and climate law. It is submitted that successful fisheries subsidies reform will directly contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”), given the important synergies that exist between the transformation of fisheries subsidies and climate mitigation and adaptation. Furthermore, fisheries subsidies negotiations are of crucial importance for international climate law because they can provide a case study to learn from and increase chances of success with fossil fuel subsidy reform. This paper provides a brief historical overview of trade law negotiations aiming to reduce and reform fisheries subsidies, and shows the important synergies that exist between reforming fisheries subsidies and implementing the Paris Agreement as well as the SDGs. The paper then extracts five drivers for success that can be observed from the current process of fisheries subsidies reform: leadership of key countries and of the WTO Secretariat itself; meticulous academic, scientific and policy background analysis; commitment by civil society and the private sector; the development of alternatives to those subsidies that encourage overfishing; and inter-regime learning. Lastly, the paper discusses the transferability of these drivers for success to prevent climate harms and to address more general challenges encountered in both the climate and trade regimes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, World Trade Organization, Maritime, Fishing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Steven L. Schwarcz, Maziar Peihani
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Excessive corporate risk taking by systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) is widely seen as one of the primary causes of the global financial crisis. In response, an array of international reforms, under the auspices of the Group of Twenty’s (G20’s) standard-setting bodies, has been adopted to try to curb that risk taking. However, these reforms only impose substantive requirements, such as capital adequacy, and cannot by themselves prevent future systemic collapses. To complete the G20 financial reform agenda, SIFI managers should have a duty to society (a public governance duty) not to engage their firms in excessive risk taking that leads to systemic externalities. Regulating governance in this way can help supplement the ongoing regulatory reforms and reduce the likelihood of systemic harm to the public.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Reform, Regulation, Risk, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zachary Folger-Laronde, Olaf Weber
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As the impacts of climate change continue to grow in severity, focus has turned toward the climate change implications associated with the products and services of the financial sector. It is estimated that the indirect carbon emissions, which are caused in the financial sector by borrowers, investees and financed projects, are 50 to 200 times larger than the direct impacts of the financial sector. It is evident that a decarbonization strategy is needed for more than the fossil fuel industry and will require significant changes to most economic sectors. This added focus toward the financial sector has led to demands for enhanced disclosure of climate change information with regard to financed clients and projects. However, there remains limited guidance in how the financial sector should disclose its carbon performance to its shareholders and stakeholders. This paper reviews the highlights from an empirical study that investigated the types of carbon performance voluntarily disclosed by banks and the type of carbon impact emissions disclosed. Policy recommendations are made that aim to facilitate and standardize disclosures.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Finance, Fossil Fuels, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susan Ariel Aaronson
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Companies, governments and individuals are using data to create new services such as apps, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. These data-driven services rely on large pools of data and a relatively unhindered flow of data across borders (few market access or governance barriers). The current approach to governing cross-border data flows through trade agreements has not led to binding, universal or interoperable rules governing the use of data. Most countries with significant data-driven firms are in the process of debating how to regulate these services and the data that underpins them. But many developing countries are not able to participate in that debate. Policy makers must devise a more effective approach to regulating trade in data for four reasons: the unique nature of data as an item exchanged across borders; the sheer volume of data exchanged; the fact that much of the data exchanged across borders is personal data; and the fact that although data could be a significant source of growth, many developing countries are unprepared to participate in this new data-driven economy and to build new data-driven services. This paper begins with an overview and then describes how trade in data is different from trade in goods or services. It then examines analogies used to describe data as an input, which can help us understand how data could be regulated. Next, the paper discusses how trade policy makers are regulating trade in data and how these efforts have created a patchwork. Finally, it suggests an alternative approach.
  • Topic: Digital Economy, Internet, International Community
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Neither the trade regime nor the climate regime has so far displayed any willingness to confront the coming clash between climate ambitions and trade rules. To minimize the economic and political risks of such a collision, the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should adopt a WTO climate waiver. To further carbon pricing and to facilitate the necessary green transition in the global economy, the core of a WTO climate waiver should be a waiver from the applicable trade rules for national measures that: discriminate on the basis of carbon and other greenhouse gases used or emitted in making a product; fit the definition of a climate response measure as defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and do not discriminate in a manner that constitutes a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. A WTO climate waiver should also include support for trade restrictions by carbon markets and climate clubs, trade disciplines on fossil fuel subsidies, and green subsidies that support innovative outcomes rather than particular technologies. Along with a climate waiver, WTO members should also confirm that carbon taxes qualify as border tax adjustments under trade rules. The adoption of a WTO climate waiver is a central and critical part of the overall reimagining of international trade law that is needed to fulfill the stated WTO goal of engaging in trade and other economic endeavours consistently with the objectives of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Freedom-Kai Phillips
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Participation of “non-party stakeholders” in the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was affirmed in the decision adopting the Paris Agreement and flagged in the preamble of the agreement itself. This paper discusses the current approaches to stakeholder participation under the UNFCCC and explains concerns regarding the existing model.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean Pascal Zanders
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Policy Forum issue analyses both progress made by and challenges facing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). It does so in order to explore under what conditions and to what extent these two conventions might help build a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs). Finally, the issue presents some options for the future and a major long-term initiative towards this ambitious goal.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: GCSP's Senior Programme Advisor and Arms Proliferation Cluster Leader, Marc Finaud, together with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament and the University of London (SOAS), are working on a joint project that aims to provide parliamentarians from around the world with documents and material about arms control and disarmament agreements to help them monitor the actions of their governments.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Disarmament, Data
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alain Tschudin, Albert Trithart
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: While the importance of good governance to sustaining peace is widely recognized, the focus tends to be on national governance. This overlooks the crucial role of local governance actors, particularly when the central government is fragmented or lacks broad legitimacy. These actors include not only formal institutions like municipal governments but also a mix of other actors that could range from traditional chieftaincies to community-based organizations to religious institutions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Irene Burke
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Pope Francis addresses the intersecting concerns of environmental responsibility and authentic human development in the June 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis extends Catholic environmental ethics to advocate for those at the margins of social consciousness who are most vulnerable to rapid environmental changes—the global poor and future generations. Pope Francis’ active collaboration with leading experts in climate science and development economics and his perspective as the first non-European Pope strengthens his contributions to ethical discourse on inter- and intra-generational justice, the preferential option for the poor, carbon mitigation policies, and common but differentiated responsibilities in international climate negotiations. His advocacy efforts in 2015 anticipated critical convocations of world leaders, including the UN General Assembly’s ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, culminating in a unanimous decision among 195 governments to adopt the Paris Agreement. Pope Francis’ contribution to discourse on international climate policies and sustainable development objectives inspired political cooperation leading up to pivotal international agreements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus