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  • Author: Jana Herold
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The support of agricultural value chains has become an important approach in German and international development cooperation, not only to promote the economic development of a country but also to contribute to poverty reduction and food security by integrating smallholder farmers into value chains. In consequence, this approach can address a number of goals of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. While promoting value chains has great potential to advance sustainable development, it can also have negative effects, particularly for poor and vulnerable population groups. In order for these population groups to be able to benefit from value chain support, they need targeted financial and technical support and bridging assistance. Therefore, the approach should primarily aim at poverty reduction, but also at improving food security, empowering women and sustainable natural resource management. The main challenges of the value chain approach are insufficient access to agricultural inputs, markets and agricultural credits and the lack of entrepreneurial know-how for market-oriented production. Overall, the INEF research on agricultural value chains shows that their promotion should always start with primary production, as this is the basis for any further added value. However, the land use rights of the population eligible for support, especially women, should be clarified before any investment is made. Another critical point that any support for value chains should take into account is a country's physical infrastructure. It is necessary to connect both primary production and processing to markets. The integration of smallholder farmers into value chains is particularly viable via primary production. In order to include resource-poor farmers into value chains as well, these should be actively supported at the beginning of the project, among other things through training in market-oriented production. Furthermore, access to financial services and bridging assistance as well as to agricultural inputs is of key importance, especially at the beginning of the growing season, and particularly when market-oriented production is started for the first time. Access to credits can be facilitated by organising in cooperatives. Furthermore, this form of organisation makes it possible to bundle resources and strengthen negotiating power vis- à-vis buyers. In order to ensure that smallholder farmers can continue to supply themselves with food, especially at the start of operations, a sole focus on cash crops should be avoided and instead healthy staple foods should also be promoted. To support sustainable production, the support of value chains should always include natural resource management measures. This can increase productivity and, compared to previous practice, at the same time achieve a more ecologically sustainable cultivation of the land. In this context, secured land use rights, especially for women, provide additional incentives for farmers to invest in their fields. The studies also show that the processing of local agricultural products and commercially harvested products offers income-generating activities especially for women. In this context, locally adapted partial mechanisation is important in order to increase production efficiency without displacing women from further processing.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jens Beckert, Timur Ergen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper discusses sociological analyses of the formation and role of expectations in the economy. Recognition of the social constitution of expectations advances the understand- ing of economic action under conditions of uncertainty and helps to explain core features of modern capitalist societies. The range of applications of the analytical perspective is il- lustrated by closer examination of three core spheres of capitalist societies: consumption, investment, and innovation. To provide an idea of core challenges of the approach, three major research questions for the sociological analysis of expectations are presented.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Sociology, Capitalism, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lee Evans, G. Lee Robinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: Selecting the right person for the right job at the right time is a persistent challenge faced by organizations. Performance evaluations are a fundamental component of selection processes, and their use in the Army is nearly as old as the service itself. Some early evaluation systems consisted of a list of officers in a regiment with observations noted for each ranging from “a good-natured man” to “merely good—nothing promising” to “a man of whom all unite in speaking ill.” While our current evaluation form adds a bit more science to the art of performance evaluation, a constant in the Army’s performance evaluation system is the reliance on raters to render their judgment on the potential of a subordinate for service at higher levels. The purpose of this article is to better equip raters to exercise these judgments. While we recognize the calls for personnel management reform and the initiatives underway to better manage the Army’s talent, our purpose is not to add another voice to these suggestions for structural changes to the Army’s evaluation system.Instead, we focus on the process of discretionary judgment exercised by raters that is and will continue to be an integral part of performance evaluation. Our aim is to recognize the structural and cognitive biases inherent in our evaluation system and provide recommendations to help senior raters more objectively evaluate their subordinates. While we think the importance of this topic is self-evident, educating raters on the potential for bias in their evaluations is especially important in the type of rating system used by the Army. This system places great emphasis on the person serving as the senior rater. Although the evaluation forms include assessments from raters and sometimes intermediate raters, the senior rater comments are widely acknowledged to carry the most weight for promotion and selection decisions due to the small amount of time available to evaluate a soldier’s file. Most positions involve work that is highly interdependent on other members of the organization, which places a considerable demand on raters to assess and articulate how much an individual contributed to the output of the group. While the performance of an officer is undoubtedly important to his or her chances for promotion or selection, the abilities of the officer’s senior rater to convey the level of this performance through an evaluation is also vital to talent management. Previous studies demonstrate that exposure to a high-quality mentor increases an officer’s likelihood of an early promotion to major by 29 percent, perhaps because high-quality mentors are skilled at communicating their protégé’s potential in their performance evaluations. Equipping raters to make their best possible judgments of subordinates and clearly articulating these judgments is vital to fostering a meritocratic Army talent management system.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Leadership, Bureaucracy, Performance Evaluation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: C. Randall Henning
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Cooperation and competition among regional financial arrangements (RFAs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increasingly determine the effectiveness of the global financial safety net (GFSN), which many observers fear is becoming fragmented. Overlap among these crisis-fighting institutions has important benefits but also pitfalls, including with respect to competition, moral hazard, independence, institutional conflict, creditor seniority and non-transparency. The study reviews the RFAs in Latin America, East Asia and Europe to assess their relationships with the IMF and address these problems. Among other things, it concludes: institutional competition, while harmful in program conditionality, can be beneficial in economic analysis and surveillance; moral hazard depends critically on institutional governance and varies substantially from one regional arrangement to the next; secretariats should be independent in economic analysis, but lending programs should be decided by bodies with political responsibility; and conflicts among institutions are often resolved by key member states through informal mechanisms that should be protected and developed. Findings of other recent studies on the GFSN are critiqued. Architects of financial governance should maintain the IMF at the centre of the safety net but also develop regional arrangements as insurance against the possibility that any one institution could be immobilized in a crisis, thereby safeguarding both coherence and resilience of the institutional complex.
  • Topic: Governance, Surveillance, Strategic Competition, IMF
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, South America, Australia, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Michel Girard
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Global data standards are urgently needed to foster digital cooperation and manage global tech platforms. No global organization is currently mandated to coordinate the development, maintenance and use of technical standards covering data value chains and policy-oriented standards covering data governance. Precedents exist where standards development work is coordinated by international organizations in sectors of the economy operating across borders, from aviation and maritime shipping to meteorology, food production, public health and the management of the internet. This paper proposes the creation of a Data Standards Task Force (DSTF), which would be entrusted with a dual mandate: enabling the development of technical standards to create data value chains and being accountable for the development of data governance standards needed by regulators to properly frame the leading big tech platforms (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google). The ultimate objective of the DSTF would be to create the required architecture for a “single data zone” where data can circulate freely between participating jurisdictions.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Social Media, Data, Digital Cooperation , Big Tech
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Petra Rethmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • Abstract: In the space of just a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has radically transformed the lives of people around the globe. Apart from devastating health consequences for people directly affected by the virus, the COVID-19 pandemic has had major implications for the way people live and work, socialize and love, and make personal, political, and economic decisions. The elbow bump has replaced the handshake. Privately owned communications technologies such as Zoom and Skype have become media of necessity, not of choice. Unemployment is at record levels, the low-wage sector is growing, and short-term work and precariousness is on the rise. The downward mobility trend (Nachtwey 2016) that has been underway in, among others, Western capitalist states for a while, continues to cement itself. Fears of social and personal decline are growing. All of this, and more, harbors the danger of increasing polarizations, (re)producing old and new figures of enmity, hate, and blame. The pandemic has inflicted a level of pain that is deep. War metaphors have been and are being bandied around, enlisting us in a fight in which supposedly we are all together. But as the papers included in this collection show, this “we” is not harmonious, uniform, or even. It cracks across fault lines of poverty, gender, and race. Data from a variety of reliable sources show that African Americans, who suffer disproportionally from poverty, inadequate housing, limited access to good health care, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, are dying from COVID-19 at horrific rates. In the banlieues and cités (public housing complexes) of France food-price spikes have triggered hunger riots. While many of us have had (and have) the privilege to work from home, others, including warehouse packers and front-line workers, have been exposed to deadly hazards at work. Domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence has increased, and stay-at-home measures have exposed women and children who live with violent men to great danger. Restrictions that translate into national-security policies have ramped up anti-migrant sentiments. And across Canada, as well as in other places, people in local nursing homes, seniors’ residences, and single-parent households are disproportionally affected and suffer. Indeed, it appears as if the very fabrics of the social, whatever they were before, are at stake.
  • Topic: Digital Economy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Petra Rethmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • Abstract: In May 2020 the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition published a Working Paper entitled COVID-19: Urgent Responses. The paper produced by James Gibbs, Luseadra McKerracher, and Jessica Fields is part of this series. Together, then, the COVID-19: Urgent Responses includes ten exciting paper that also stand as a testimony to the challenges faced by many of us in these times.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The political declaration with an annex entitled Advancing Nuclear Disarmament, Securing Our Future was adopted on 25 February 2020 in Berlin by the Foreign Ministers of the fifteen countries associated in the prestigious Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament. They call on all NPT participating countries to discuss and adopt the proposed stepping stones. According to the authors of the declaration, the implementation could contribute to averting the dangerous development of the security situation and to the gradual realization of the generally supported vision of creating a world without nuclear weapons. Due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the 10th NPT Review Conference was postponed indefinitely.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jill Dahlburg, Robert Shea
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The National Academy of Public Administration
  • Abstract: The Act directs NNSA’s Administrator to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and the National Academy of Public Administration to create an Implementation Assessment Panel to: Provide guidance to the Secretary and Administrator on the implementation plan content; Track implementation plan progress; and Assess implementation plan effectiveness. NAPA and NAS have formed a joint Implementation Assessment Panel. The Panel will oversee the work of the joint NAPA/NAS study team, providing strategic guidance on study approach and focus, and issuing key findings and recommendations. The 14 Panel members bring a wealth of experience from DOE Science Laboratories, Federally Funded Research & Development Centers, the Intelligence Community, Academia, and the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, National Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tamia Brito
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: n the increasingly complex realm of armed conflict, the impact of armed encounters has expanded beyond the parties to the conflict and the civilian population. There is a deteriorating situation for humanitarian workers as they have become direct targets of organized violence, despite the protection that international law has provided for them. Both International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Criminal Law (ICL) have established special protection to personnel providing input and services to the civilian population affected by armed conflict. However, the difference between theory and practice can be rather large. The humanitarian mission is being limited in the field by novel risks brought by armed conflicts. This blog post discusses the achievements of international law in providing special protection to humanitarian aid personnel as part of global recognition of the humanitarian endeavor. It also addresses factual information regarding humanitarian workers, illustrating the risks they experience in the field. To conclude, this blog post exhibits responses that the international community is implementing to mitigate the discrepancy between law and practice. World Humanitarian Day (August 19th) may be an opportunity to remember the relevance of this particular issue and encourage further efforts towards its solution.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Intervention, Violence, Humanitarian Crisis, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus