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  • Author: Robert Muggah, Adriana Erthal Abdenur
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Today, more than 60 percent of all refugees and 80 percent of all internally displaced persons are living in urban areas. While cities are periodically overwhelmed by sudden mass influxes of forced migrants, they are remarkably effective at absorbing populations on the move. With some exceptions, the international community — the UN Refugee Agency, in particular — has been slow to empower cities to assume a greater role in protecting, assisting and promoting durable solutions for refugees, asylum claimants and other groups of concern. New compacts on migration and refugees only tangentially address cities’ pivotal role in shaping the experience of forced migrants. Instead, cities are developing solutions on their own. This paper assesses the characteristics of the urban displacement crisis and identifies challenges and opportunities confronting cities, challenging myths associated with the “refugee burden” and offering preliminary recommendations for stepping up international, national and municipal cooperation.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugee Issues, Urban, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryerson Neal
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Participants from academia and various levels of government gathered in Ottawa to discuss the often underappreciated interplay between the international climate agenda and the global trade system. The trade system has traditionally supported open flows of goods and services by disciplining tariffs, as well as trade-distorting subsidies and regulations. But there is an emerging tension between this approach and the desire of governments to address climate change through potentially trade-distorting domestic regulations and green subsidies. The challenge for policy makers is how to maintain relatively free, undistorted trade, while still giving countries sufficient policy space to implement effective measures to combat climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Regulation, Green Technology, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Worldwide, the internet and the increasingly important social media and content applications and platforms running on it have assumed an extraordinary and powerful role in people’s lives and become defining features of present-day life. This global digital ecosystem has created immeasurable benefits for free expression, social and cultural exchange, and economic progress. Yet, its impacts, and the easy access to content it provides, have not all been either foreseeable or desirable, as even a cursory scan of the daily news will show. In this environment, the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, in cooperation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, invited government, business, academic and civil society experts to an international working meeting in March 2018 to explore governance innovations aimed at protecting free expression, diversity of content and voices, and civic engagement in the global digital ecosystem. One of the goals was to bring different players and perspectives together to explore their similarities within a comparative public policy context. This publication reports on the meeting’s discussion as participants sought innovative approaches to deal with both present and emerging challenges, without impeding the creativity and benefits that the internet can bring.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Digital Economy, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James A. Haley
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the concept of fiscal space, or the capacity to deploy fiscal stimulus should it be needed; identifies the key factors that determine its size; and discusses considerations relevant to its use. The paper is motivated by the remarkably rapid mobilization of fiscal stimulus in the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, coordinated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was followed by the equally remarkable rapid adoption of austerity in key advanced economies. This switch from stimulus to austerity occurred despite the languid pace of the global recovery, in which growth was, as subsequently described by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, “too low, for too long.” At the time, the change was justified in terms of concerns over large debt burdens and diminished capacity for future action. Curiously, however, the principled voices defending the interests of future generations were silent with respect to more recent tax cuts and the adoption of higher budgeted spending.
  • Topic: Budget, Fiscal Policy, IMF, Stimulus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aldo Chicop, Meinhard Doelle, Ryan Gauvin
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This report investigates the international law and policy challenges to the determination of the international shipping industry’s contribution to climate change mitigation efforts through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations and the competent international organization with respect to shipping in international law. The report sets out the international legal framework that serves as the context for the IMO initial strategy, the challenge of regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, and the process and issues in determining the industry’s “fair share” of mitigation efforts and potential legal pathways. The report concludes with general, policy and legal considerations that have a bearing on the current and possible future directions of the nascent IMO strategy. General considerations include the observation that the complexity and uncertainty underscoring the development of the IMO strategy call for a long-term planning instrument that is integrated and systemic in scope, flexible in approach and adaptive in application. As other regimes and sectors progress in developing and delivering on mitigation efforts, care should be exercised in considering lessons and tools from other sectors for application to shipping, given its uniqueness and that other sector experiences emanate from different contexts and considerations. Given continuing significant differences on GHG issues in the IMO, it is vital for the long-term IMO strategy to be advanced and maintained on the basis of the culture of consensus that has helped shape the IMO as a successful regulatory body.
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, Policy Implementation, IMF, Shipping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Miller
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Generally speaking, those who study forced migration and those who advocate for solutions to forced migration spend little time studying xenophobia. This paper has aimed to address that gap by examining xenophobia in the context of refugees, first by considering definitions of xenophobia vis-à-vis other terms, including racism and nativism, and next by looking at the roots of xenophobia, which include not only political, social and economic grievances and uncertainty but also competition for scarce resources and the belief that one’s own nation-state or group is superior to others. The paper then reviews some expressions of xenophobic rhetoric and actions, and their impacts, before considering key issues and challenges in overcoming xenophobia. Looking at successful attempts in combatting xenophobia provides lessons for those engaged in research and advocacy. Recommended actions include holding governments more accountable for their failures to protect people’s rights; identifying and fighting against policies that incentivize xenophobic behaviour; recognizing that pro-migrant programming can backfire; identifying political actors who promulgate xenophobia and choosing interventions carefully; and seeking greater collaboration and creativity among different actors working to combat xenophobia. The use of localized approaches emerges from the literature as particularly important. The backdrop of the UN Refugee Agency’s global compacts on refugees and for migration makes the moment ripe for further discussion on how to reduce xenophobia and increase responsibility sharing in refugee situations. Likewise, the prominence of political regimes that draw on xenophobic rhetoric and even encourage xenophobic actions means that finding new ways to reduce xenophobia is more important than ever.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugee Issues, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cally Jordan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As a response to multiple financial shocks, international standards have disappointed. Consensus seeking has stifled innovation, perpetuating outdated regulatory concepts at a time of rapid market change. Markets are complex and idiosyncratic; they may not be receptive to efforts toward producing regulatory harmonization and convergence. Alternatives to international standard setting should be explored. Possibilities include fora for experimentation in capital markets regulation, the creation of a set of variegated model capital markets laws and a “restatement”-like treatise.
  • Topic: Markets, Financial Crisis, Regulation, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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