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  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, John W. Sewell, Kevin Morrison
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Overseas Development Council
  • Abstract: Horst Köhler faces immense challenges as the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But no challenge is more crucial than making sure the IMF plays the right role in developing countries. Too often, it is not playing that role now. The IMF's activities in the developing world have grown radically. Today, much of its work goes beyond macroeconomic issues and crisis prevention and management, into deeper structural issues. And as a major provider of long-term development finance, it is significantly involved in efforts to reduce poverty. But the IMF lacks expertise in the wide-ranging policy and institutional complexities of development and poverty reduction. Its expertise lies in macroeconomic policy and restoring stability amid financial crises. Macroeconomics is the same for poor and rich countries alike, as IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer has said. But much of what the IMF is involved in now is not macroeconomics. The Fund should focus on: short-term liquidity lending to all countries hit by macroeconomic crises; advising through policy dialogue; and collecting, assessing, and distributing information on countries with regard to macroeconomic policy and financial markets. While poor countries need access to the Fund's short-term lending and macroeconomic advice, the IMF should leave long-term development lending to the World Bank and to other lenders and donors expert in poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Environment, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Princeton Lyman, Linda Cotton
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Overseas Development Council
  • Abstract: Emerging from 15 years of military rule, the Republic of Nigeria is struggling to build a stable, peaceful democratic nation from its 200 ethnic groups divided among 36 states. In May 1999, retired General Olusegun Obasanjo was elected President-a repeat performance of his earlier role as catalyst for democratic change. In 1979, Obasanjo presided over the only transition to civilian rule until now. His democratic instincts won him three years in jail under former President Sani Abacha's brutally repressive military regime.
  • Topic: Environment, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Nigeria
  • Author: Iain Guest
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Overseas Development Council
  • Abstract: For ten years, the international community has sent large, expensive missions to rebuild war-torn societies-without considering their impact on local civil society. At a time when civil society is seen as a pillar of development, this is an alarming omission.
  • Topic: NATO, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Kosovo
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Delegates from 122 countries recently concluded an international agreement restricting the use of persistent organic pollutants. The agreement marks an important step towards eliminating the use of highly toxic and long-lived chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. However, the significance of the accord extends well beyond its subject area: negotiators managed to find compromises on several issues that have bedevilled other international environmental agreements.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: There has been a large differential in foreign direct investment receipts between the front-runners in the Central European applicant countries and laggards. The accession process itself has exacerbated this bifurcation, raising questions over EU policy towards the applicants and the implications for the region's long-term stability. Accession prospects appear to induce virtuous cycles for the front-runners while potentially trapping the laggards. Moreover, the latter are faced with difficult choices between long-term EU conditionality and more immediate transition imperatives, which are not always compatible
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Leftist Ion Iliescu and far-right leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor will contest the second round of the presidential election on December 10. Tudor has a real chance of defeating Iliescu. He came a strong second in the first round, owing to disgust with the outgoing coalition, a popular anti-corruption platform and a shift away from extremist rhetoric. The PRM is an unpredictable, potentially destructive force with links to the Ceausescu era and dubious security circles and, now, the ability to obstruct reforms in parliament. Iliescu's weak credentials on reform and minority questions may hinder his attempts to form a common front against Tudor.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Romania
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Congressional criticism of 'Plan Colombia's' military component, and the advent of a new administration in Washington, are likely to lead to a strategic review of US policy. The outcome may be a policy that is less military focused, more regionally oriented, and based on closer cooperation with other aid donors. It has become increasingly clear that Plan Colombia can only be implemented if the EU and its member states are prepared to increase their financial contribution. This will give the Europeans considerable leverage, and they are likely to use it to insist on a less militarised approach. However, even with a change in policy emphasis, the prospects of success will remain poor.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Colombia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel this week launched missile attacks against Palestinian security targets in Gaza in retaliation for the bombing of a school bus carrying settlers. Tel Aviv and Washington have blamed Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat for the current crisis, saying he could reduce the violence. In fact, the uprising is a spontaneous revolt against the terms of the Oslo peace process. Far from being undermined by the crisis, Arafat is using it to maximise his political and diplomatic position in the event that negotiations resume. The crisis marks a decisive shift in the Palestinians' conditions for peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Government spending is increasing in the run-up to general elections next month and attempts to liberalise the cocoa trade appear half-hearted. The effectiveness of liberal economic reforms will be constrained as long as Ghana remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the prices of a narrow range of exports. Moreover, anti-corruption measures will lose their bite if they are seen to be directed in part against the government's opponents.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Delegates from 122 countries recently concluded an international agreement restricting the use of persistent organic pollutants. The agreement marks an important step towards eliminating the use of highly toxic and long-lived chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. However, the significance of the accord extends well beyond its subject area: negotiators managed to find compromises on several issues that have bedevilled other international environmental agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Environment
  • Political Geography: Russia