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  • Author: Jamille Bigio, Rachel Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Extremist groups rely upon women to gain strategic advantage, recruiting them as facilitators and martyrs while also benefiting from their subjugation. Yet U.S. policymakers overlook the roles that women play in violent extremism—including as perpetrators, mitigators, and victims—and rarely enlist their participation in efforts to combat radicalization. This omission puts the United States at a disadvantage in its efforts to prevent terrorism globally and within its borders. Women fuel extremists’ continued influence by advancing their ideology online and by indoctrinating their families. New technology allows for more sophisticated outreach, directly targeting messages to radicalize and recruit women. It also provides a platform on which female extremists thrive by expanding their recruitment reach and taking on greater operational roles in the virtual sphere. The failure of counterterrorist efforts to understand the ways in which women radicalize, support, and perpetrate violence cedes the benefit of their involvement to extremist groups.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Women
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As climatic changes continue to make themselves painfully obvious across many geographies, U.S. energy infrastructure is increasingly at risk. The United States is ill prepared for this national security challenge. Climatic disruptions to domestic energy supply could be large, entailing huge economic losses and potentially requiring sizable domestic military mobilizations. Yet, public debate about emergency preparedness is virtually nonexistent. To explore the challenges of climate risk to the U.S. energy system, the Energy Security and Climate Change program at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of forty-four experts at the Council’s New York office on March 18–19, 2019, for the workshop “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.” During their deliberations, workshop participants discussed the presenters’ papers and explored how climate-related risks to U.S. energy infrastructure, financial markets, and national security could be measured, managed, and mitigated. Discussions began with assessments of the current state of climate research and the pressing need to improve data on localized effects, which could differ widely from global and regional averages. The workshop also investigated new energy technologies, financial tools, and changes to disclosure regulations that could enable the United States to reduce risks and mitigate consequences of climatic shifts.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Scott A. Snyder, Geun Lee, You Young Kim, Jiyoon Kim
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite becoming influential on the world scene, South Korea remains a relatively weak country surrounded by larger, more powerful neigh- bors. This contrast between its global rank as a top-twenty economy and its regional status as the weakest country in Northeast Asia (with the exception of North Korea) poses a paradox for South Korean for- eign policy strategists. Despite successes addressing nontraditional security challenges in areas such as international development, global health, and UN peacekeeping, South Korea is limited in its capacity to act on regional security threats. South Korea has historically been a victim of geopolitical rivalries among contenders for regional hegemony in East Asia. But the coun- try’s rise in influence provides a glimmer of hope that it can break from its historical role by using its expanded capabilities as leverage to shape its strategic environment. The pressing dilemma for South Korean strategic thinkers is how to do so. As the regional security environment becomes more tense, South Korea’s strategic options are characterized by constraint, given potentially conflicting great-power rivalries and Pyongyang’s efforts to pursue asymmetric nuclear or cyber capabilities at Seoul’s expense. South Korea’s relative weakness puts a premium on its ability to achieve the internal political unity necessary to maximize its influence in foreign policy. Students of Korean history will recall that domestic factionalism among political elites was a chronic factor that hamstrung Korea’s dynastic leadership and contributed to its weakness in dealing with outside forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Nuala O'Conner
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Half of all Americans believe their personal information is less secure now than it was five years ago, and a sobering study from the Pew Research Center reveals how little faith the public has in organizations, whether governmental or private-sector, to protect their data—and with good reason. In 2017, there was a disastrous breach at Equifax, Yahoo’s admission that billions of its email accounts were compromised, Deep Root Analytics’ accidental leak of personal details of nearly two hundred million U.S. voters, and Uber’s attempt to conceal a breach that affected fifty-seven million accounts. Individuals are left stymied about what action they can take, if any, to protect their digital assets and identity. Nuala O’Connor Yet record-shattering data breaches and inadequate data-protection practices have produced only piecemeal legislative responses at the federal level, competing state laws, and a myriad of enforcement regimes. Most Western countries have already adopted comprehensive legal protections for personal data, but the United States—home to some of the most advanced, and largest, technology and data companies in the world—continues to lumber forward with a patchwork of sector-specific laws and regulations that fail to adequately protect data. U.S. citizens and companies suffer from this uneven approach—citizens because their data is not adequately protected, and companies because they are saddled with contradictory and sometimes competing requirements. It is past time for Congress to create a single legislative data-protection mandate to protect individuals’ privacy and reconcile the differences between state and federal requirements.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy, Data, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Felix Pena
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The institutional order governing world trade is going through a critical period. Debate over its future form and design will be a dominant theme on the global agenda for the coming years. The Donald J. Trump administration has questioned the benefits of the multilateral trading order and is pulling the United States back from its traditional leadership role. In December 2017, the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ended in disappointment with no substantive multilateral achievements. The shift in economic power from the West to the East and the growth of nonstate actors further complicate the search for consensus on international trade rules, leading to a so-called multiplex world. In a multiplex world, actors with different cultural values and relative power inequalities—such as nation-states, international and regional institutions, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations—compete against each other. To ensure a resilient trading system, multilateral trading rules and institutions need to be adapted to these new realities of trade, investment, and the distribution of global power. Unlike the international system as it functioned after World War II, today’s trading system does not reflect the interests of a single power or an alliance of powers with sufficient clout to impose their will on others in a sustained way. This is not a Group of Twenty (G20) or Group of Seven–led world: it is a G-Zero world, with no established lineup of who should be invited to the table where decisions are made. In this vacuum of global leadership it is increasingly difficult to identify who will create the new rules of international competition. Actors pursue their own self-interest, which results in less certainty for the international trade system.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Multilateralism, Trade Wars, WTO
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elena Chernenko, Oleg Demidov, Fyodor Lukyanov
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: nformation and communications technology (ICT) presents one of the most critical modern challenges to global security. Threat assessments predict that the next major international crisis could be due to a state or terrorist group weaponizing ICTs to devastate critical infrastructure or military logistics networks. The proliferation of asymmetric warfare (i.e., conflicts between nations or groups that have disparate military capabilities) has increased states’ use of ICTs, which necessitates the development of an international code of cyber conduct. There is an urgent need for cooperation among states to mitigate threats such as cybercrime, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, electronic espionage, bulk data interception, and offensive operations intended to project power by the application of force in and through cyberspace. Emerging cyber threats could precipitate massive economic and societal damage, and international efforts need to be recalibrated to account for this new reality. A common misperception is that the principal cybersecurity threats demanding urgent international collaboration are massive, state sponsored attacks that target critical infrastructure such as power plants or electrical grids, causing massive devastation and human casualties. In fact, cyber threats are more diverse and complex, often targeting private enterprises and endangering the technical integrity of the digital world. The near-total digitalization of business models makes the global economy more vulnerable to cyberattacks, not only from states but also from criminal organizations and other nonstate actors.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David P. Fidler
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The tasks of securing outer space and cyberspace are converging. The internet increasingly depends on space-enabled communication and information services. Likewise, the operation of satellites and other space assets relies on internet-based networks, which makes these assets, like cars and medical equipment, devices on the internet of things. New government actors, companies, goals, and technologies are expanding and transforming space activities. However, neither space policy nor cybersecurity policy is prepared for the challenges created by the meshing of space and cyberspace, which could increase national security risks. To meet these challenges, government, industry, and international action is needed. The Donald J. Trump administration’s National Space Council should develop cybersecurity recommendations for space activities, and federal agencies should prioritize these within the government and in cooperation with the private sector. In crafting needed legislation for commercial space activities, Congress should bolster industry efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. Private-sector actors should strengthen their adoption of cybersecurity best practices and collaborate with one another on improving implementation of cybersecurity strategies. Internationally, the United States should pursue collaboration on space cybersecurity through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), plurilateral space cooperation mechanisms, and bilateral forums.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Space
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Emerging challenges to international order require cooperation between the United States and China, two countries that share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly. U.S.-China relations are becoming more strained and antagonistic, however, and the prospects for cooperation appear to be receding. To explore whether there are still grounds for cooperation on issues of common concern between the two countries, in March 2018 the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of fifteen experts from the United States and China for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-China Cooperation.” CPA partnered with Peking University’s School of International Studies in Beijing for the workshop and also met with experts at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies in Shanghai. During the workshop, President Donald J. Trump announced plans to impose about $60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports. While trade was a major topic of discussion, it was by no means the only area discussed. Workshop participants assessed conflicting views of the sources of global disorder and examined areas of global governance such as international trade, development, the environment, and the future of various multilateral institutions. They also discussed the most pressing security challenges in East and Southwest Asia. Participants highlighted the need for a greater understanding between the United States and China on the evolving international order. No major transnational problems will be solved without some cooperation between the two powers. It is therefore imperative that the two countries avoid a further deterioration of the relationship and instead identify areas of potential cooperation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government and private industry have been stuck at an impasse concerning cybersecurity information sharing for over a decade. While the Barack Obama administration rolled out executive and legislative efforts to increase information sharing, many U.S. companies still argue that the federal government should do more to provide them with useful intelligence on cyber threats. But the U.S. intelligence community argues that greater declassification and sharing of information with private companies could put technical sources and methods at risk. Fixes to this problem exist. The Department of Defense already provides a classified network for cleared defense contractors to receive intelligence on threats to their companies. Replicating this network for cyber threats has long been discussed as a way to share more information with the financial sector, electricity suppliers, and other private-sector entities critical to the U.S. economy. Expanding this network requires increasing the number of cleared personnel and of facilities that can hold classified information, as well as changing intelligence collection priorities. These hurdles can be addressed by cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors. As a crucial first step, the U.S. government should begin the targeted collection of intelligence on cyber threats to critical infrastructure. To disseminate this information, the government should establish security standards different from those applicable to defense contractors to determine who may hold clearances.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Information Age, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although the Barack Obama administration rhetorically made Southeast Asia a centerpiece of its “rebalance to Asia” strategy, the administration still largely focused on the Middle East and Europe, and Southeast Asia remained a low U.S. policy priority. The Obama administration did try to boost U.S. economic ties with Southeast Asia in 2016 by forging the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but that trade deal was broadly unpopular in the United States. The following year, the Donald J. Trump administration ended U.S. participation in the TPP, and it also suggested launching punitive economic measures against Southeast Asian states currently running trade surpluses with the United States. Many Southeast Asian leaders now worry that Washington has no clear security or economic strategy for the region, other than applying pressure on Beijing to respect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. In this perceived void of U.S. leadership and strategy, workshop participants assessed how Southeast Asia might change as China becomes an increasingly dominant regional security and economic actor. They also discussed the future of U.S. strategic and economic relationships with important partners in the region, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Participants further considered how China might use its growing leverage in Southeast Asia, and whether Beijing’s tactics could backfire. Finally, several workshop participants posited that the United States, China, and Southeast Asian states could cooperate on at least some nontraditional security issues, such as combating piracy and terrorism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Patrycja Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Migration is a natural and defining phenomenon of the globalized world. The challenge of governing migration lies in its inevitability, volume, and heterogeneity. As a portion of the global population, migrants represent around 3 percent, but their absolute number is rising. There were 170 million migrants in 2000; today there are roughly 260 million. Migration levels will certainly grow while hostilities continue in the most conflict-ridden regions of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the global wealth gap persists, climate change aggravates living conditions in many areas, and the poorer half of the globe becomes more populous. Moreover, migration is a complex heterogeneous process. Depending on the cause, duration, and legality, migration can be voluntary or forced (refugees and internally displaced persons, including survival migrants such as climate and disaster refugees), permanent or circular, regular or irregular. Politically, migration poses a twofold challenge: balancing security and freedom and harmonizing international obligations with domestic laws. Traditional discussion of migratory movements divided the world into the sending global south and the receiving global north. Interests of the former lay primarily in safeguarding the rights of their citizens regardless of immigration status and ensuring remittance flow. Interests of the latter lay in accommodating the “useful” migrants and restricting the rest. With the shifts in global wealth distribution, this division is losing tenacity. Countries that once were sending migrants are also receiving them today. For nations, migration affects the most rudimentary pillar of sovereignty (national borders), the core of democratic political systems (human rights), and atavistic social needs (national identity). Perceptions of migration affect political popularity: political parties are tempted to use selective, mostly negative, aspects of migration to rally the electorate around national identities. This in turn disproportionately, and often contrary to the objective needs of the host countries, vilifies migration generally. Political opposition to migration occurs despite a consensus that the economies of both sending and receiving countries benefit economically from migration. Even though the sending countries may experience labor and brain drain, they benefit from remittance flows from receiving countries; similarly, the receiving countries get a boost of human capital.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, United Nations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Varun Sivaram
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In2017,theEconomistproclaimedthatdatawasthenewoil. Justastrade in oil has underpinned the global economy for a century, flows of data— the most valuable resource of the twenty-first century—now drive eco- nomic value. Indeed, in 2017, all five of the world’s most valuable publicly traded companies specialized in digital technologies, whereas just a decade earlier three of the top five companies were in the energy sector. This does not mean that the energy sector has been left behind by the digital revolution. To the contrary, digitalization is at the heart of the tectonic shifts that are starting to reshape the energy landscape. As energy industries produce ever more data, firms are harnessing greater computing power, advances in data science, and increased digital con- nectivity to exploit that data. These trends have the potential to trans-form the way energy is produced, transported, and consumed. An important potential benefit of this digital transformation of energy is a reduction in global emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change; the elimination of such emissions from the global economy is known as decarbonization. By enabling clean energy sys- tems that rely on low-carbon energy sources and are highly efficient in using energy, digital innovations in the energy sector can speed decar- bonization. Yet they are not guaranteed to do so. In fact, digital innova- tions could well increase global greenhouse emissions, for example, by making it easier to extract fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Developed economies are paying remarkably little attention to coordinating their monetary policies. This is an unavoidable consequence of the independence of central banks, which faithfully follow their purely domestic mandates except in times of crisis. As a result, global monetary policies have reached unprecedented levels of divergence. This divergence is set to widen—primarily due to differences in the relative strength of labor markets—while global current account imbalances return. Meanwhile, exchange rates have not reacted as economists expected; the dollar has weakened even as policy rates have increased. Economic tensions will likely become more disruptive the longer global imbalances go uncorrected. Likewise, the global economy will become more vulnerable to shocks. Yet by focusing on bilateral trade imbalances, the United States has mistakenly singled out China when the global imbalances between the United States and the eurozone is the more critical issue. The growing global imbalances are reflected more in the eurozone current account surplus and U.S. fiscal policy than in China’s shrinking surplus.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Exchange Rate Policy, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite recent turbulence in the transatlantic relationship, the United States and the European Union share a common interest in managing emerging sources of global disorder. To explore prospects for and challenges to transatlantic cooperation, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University Center in Talloires, France, on July 12–13, 2018, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation.” The workshop is the third in a series of meetings supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is premised on the belief that the United States, China, the European Union, and Russia not only share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly, but also that the nature and scope of this task necessitates cooperation among them. Workshop participants discussed their perceptions of the growing sources of disorder in the world, examined areas of strategic cooperation, and explored where the United States and the European Union might work together to address a variety of regional concerns emanating from Africa, China, the Middle East, and Russia. While highlighting how the two can work together to address increasing political instability and violent conflict, participants also cited the importance of the transatlantic relationship in preventing or mitigating the demise of the liberal international order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, European Union, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International efforts to curb illicit financial flows (IFFs) resemble post–Cold War collaboration in other issue areas that have risen on the global agenda: climate change, global health, internet govern- ance, and cybersecurity. Nongovernmental actors, including private corporations and nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs), have often driven agenda-setting in those domains. The focus has shifted over time, as new issues have been added and as older issues have assumed renewed im- portance. That reshaped agenda has in turn affected the institutional ecosystem of global action, which is captured only in part by formal and informal intergovernmental institutions. These new is- sue areas are characterized not by a single dominant institution or core set of institutions but by mul- tiple clusters of institutions that have each claimed a segment of the agenda and the instruments of cooperation. The result is a fragmented landscape with disjointed actors and organizations that often compete, collaborate, and act in parallel in pursuing their collective ends.1 The term of art for such an institutional landscape, one with several institutional or legal founda- tions, is “regime complex.”1 The regime complex for combating IFFs differs in its complexity from other, similar issue areas. Defining IFFs produces disagreement among researchers, activists, and policymakers. “Illicit” captures a normative judgment perhaps broader than “illegal.” For law en- forcement, IFFs are framed by predicate crimes, activities that are illegal in one jurisdiction or anoth- er and often of greater interest to authorities than IFFs. For those interested in broader global out- comes, such as the effects of IFFs on economic development, “illicit” could include cross-border fi- nancial flows associated with activities that they believe should be forbidden, such as tax avoidance by multinational corporations (MNCs). Those activities may not be illegal, however.2 These categories shift over time: bribery of foreign officials by corporations based in Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) countries was made illegal in the United States well before it was criminalized in other industrialized countries. Variations in national treatment of both IFFs of certain kinds and the underlying predicate crimes have made harmonization of national policies and their implementation in many IFF domains difficult. IFFs are also one of the most important features of globalization’s dark side. Unlike other illicit or dangerous cross-border flows, however, IFFs bear almost no markers in and of themselves: pecunia non olet. Tainted food, endangered species, and dangerous individuals all present fewer problems of identification. For IFFs, it is suspicious activity rather than a characteristic of the funds themselves that generates the attention of those attempting to curb the flows. These definitional and identification problems make measuring the effectiveness of counter-IFF policies more difficult than assessing the effectiveness of policies in other issue areas. As many skep- tics and critics have pointed out, without a clear grasp of the scale of underlying flows, the scale of effects, though perhaps not the direction, of policies to counter those flows cannot reliably be deter- mined.3 If the costs of enforcement and compliance or unintended negative effects are included in estimates, the balance sheet becomes even more uncertain. International collaboration to curb IFFs and domestic measures to support that collaboration are directed to a wide array of predicate crimes that produce IFFs (drug trafficking, terrorism, or tax eva- sion) or to negative externalities (global “bads,” such as corruption) that both support IFFs and are sustained and promoted by them. This diversity of IFF sources and effects, and the public policy goals that follow, mobilize an unusually large number of actors: law enforcement agencies, financial super- visors and ministries, private financial institutions, and NGOs. These actors are interested more in certain IFFs and predicate crimes than in others. The links between specific crimes or categories of crime and larger global outcomes of interest, whether economic development or international securi- ty, are often second or third order. As a result, political attention to these issues—and willingness to bear the costs of implementation—fluctuates over time and across jurisdictions. As Peter Reuter and Edwin M. Truman observed in their classic 2004 account, the anti–money laundering (AML) regime (a subset of the complex countering IFFs) “reflects shifting priorities, compromises, and trade-offs.”4 This variation over time is particularly important in combating IFFs, because enforcement depends largely on national governments and both their incentives and their capacity to enact anti-IFF poli- cies. Financial markets and naming-and-shaming campaigns can strengthen those national efforts; they can also direct attention and effort against particular IFFs. However, they cannot substitute en- tirely for government action. What follows is a summary and introduction to organized international efforts to combat IFFs. In order to limit the policy universe, the narrower definition of IFFs used by the World Bank—“money illegally earned, transferred, or used that crosses borders”—will be used to define the wider interna- tional regime complex to combat IFFs.5 Mapping the institutions and actors involved in this issue area over time will capture the evolution of the global IFF agenda and the politics surrounding its de- velopment and implementation.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, Institutionalism, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The connection between women’s economic participation and global prosperity is undeniable. Over the past two decades, international organizations and world leaders have increasingly recognized how critical women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion are to economic prosperity and growth. Analyses from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, and other leading institutions demon- strate the growth potential of women’s increased economic partici- pation. UN frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals recognize the relationship between economic opportunity for women and development, and include time-bound targets—such as equal access to financial services, natural resources, and technology, and equality in property ownership and inheritance—to advance women’s economic participation. However, despite growing awareness that women’s economic empowerment is critical to women, their families, and broader eco- nomic prosperity, many countries still legally undermine women’s economic participation and undervalue women’s work. Of the 189 economies surveyed in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2018 report, 90 percent have at least one regulation that impedes wom- en’s economic opportunities. More than one hundred economies still prevent women from working in certain jobs; fifty-nine economies provide no legal recourse to women who experience sexual harassment in the workplace; and in eighteen countries, men can legally prevent their wives from working outside the home. An array of other legal barriers—from limitations on access to finance to laws restricting women’s agency and mobility—prevent women from fully participat- ing in the economy. Even in 2018, the legal landscape for women in the economy fails to reflect the value women’s participation adds to eco- nomic growth. But change is on the horizon. Over the last decade, several countries have enacted legal reforms that significantly advance women’s rights. Today, all but thirty-two countries legally guarantee gender equality in their constitutions, and a record number of countries now have laws prohibiting discrimina- tion or violence against women. While these gains—rightfully cel- ebrated—show that progress is possible, proposals to eliminate the critical barriers that limit women’s economic potential remain absent from mainstream discussions on international and national economic policy, and barriers to female economic enfranchisement persist in every region of the world. In order to realize the economic potential of 50 percent of the world’s population, nations need to do more to level the legal playing field for women. This volume collects in-depth analysis and commen- tary on legal barriers to women’s economic participation, with a focus on five areas in which the greatest obstacles to women’s economic par- ticipation endure: financial inclusion, identification laws, land rights, workplace discrimination, and family law. In the opening essay, I make the economic case for eliminating legal barriers that inhibit women’s economic participation. Closing gender gaps in the workplace could add an estimated $12 trillion to the global economy. Countries simply cannot afford to waste this economic poten- tial—and governments from Saudi Arabia to Japan are taking notice and enacting policies to promote women’s workforce participation. A web of discriminatory laws impedes women’s access to financial services and undermines their capacity to borrow, save, or obtain insur- ance. In an essay on financial inclusion, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Senior Fellow Jamille Bigio highlights how banks stand to ben- efit economically by ensuring women’s access to and use of financial services, by sharing the experience of a Nigerian woman who employed digital tools to save for her daughter’s school fees. CFR Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, reporting on a successful financial inclusion program in Tanzania, explores how education can help women over- come legal and social barriers to opening bank accounts. The economic case for legal reform to promote women’s financial inclusion is strong: when women can use financial services without spousal consent and have control over where they live, and when unpaid work is recognized in marital property regimes, gender gaps in financial inclusion are nar- rowed. Legal reform needs to be a central component of any strategy to advance women’s access to and use of savings, credit, and insurance.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Feminism, Participation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zhao Long
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, climate change and globalization have dramatically transformed the Arctic. As a result of global warming, the Arctic sea ice has been melting rapidly, potentially easing access to natural resources and opening up new maritime routes in the region. These changes have increased global attention on potential commercial opportunities, research, and peace and stability in the region. As national governments, international institutions, and nonstate actors explore different approaches to Arctic governance, a cohesive regime complex—a set of functionally specific regimes that together serve as a foundation for efficient governance—that integrates existing frameworks could help address the environmental, economic, sociocultural, and geopolitical challenges this region faces. The recent transformation of the Arctic is driven largely by sea ice melting at an accelerated rate. Between 1979 and 2015, the Arctic sea ice extent—the surface area of the ocean covered by sea ice—decreased by 4.7 percent per decade and the thickness of sea ice dwindled by 10 to 15 percent. Even if global temperature rises by less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Arctic could see a sea ice–free summer at least once a decade. Decreased sea ice allows for additional human activity in the Arctic; this in turn exacerbates the damage to the Arctic ecosystem. Decreasing sea ice and permafrost—as a result of which more fresh water enters the Arctic Ocean—can change weather and climate conditions in other parts of the globe.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Arctic
  • Author: Sagatom Saha, Ilya Zaslavskiy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A prerequisite for Ukraine’s economic and political success is reform of its energy sector. Enduring corruption and mismanagement in the energy sector have generated pernicious budget deficits, eroded sovereignty, jeopardized energy security, and limited economic potential. Although all post-Soviet states have encountered obstacles in transitioning to market economies, Ukraine has been remarkably slow to introduce market reforms, and its sclerotic energy sector is at the center of its economic dys- function. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Orange Revolution, and nine International Mon- etary Fund (IMF) loans conditional on reform, Ukraine’s energy sector remains a drain on taxpayers, a playground for corrupt oligarchs, and an unattractive destination for international investment. However, Ukraine now has a small but important window of opportunity. The 2014 Euromaidan Revolution—the series of pro-European demonstrations that culminated in Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s removal—provided a mandate and framework for energy reform. Beginning in 2015, Ukraine moved to cut implicit subsidies on natural gas, adopted laws to restructure the state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz, and halted imports of Russian gas. These advances are welcome news not only for Ukraine, but also for the United States. A prosper- ous and energy-secure Ukraine, capable of standing up to Russian interventionism, would advance U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region. Recognizing this, Washington already provides technical, financial, and military assistance to Kiev.1 The United States has focused particularly on encouraging Ukraine’s energy-sector reforms, last year tasking the State Department with promoting the country’s energy security with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s energy-sector reforms to date do not go far enough. To achieve lasting reform, Ukraine must curtail its population-wide subsidies, reinforce the independence of its energy regulator, and dismantle the monopolies that exist in every segment of the natural gas sector. The benefits that would result from these steps are manifold. End consumers would enjoy better energy services and lower prices; the domestic energy sector would create high-skilled jobs and boost eco- nomic output; and the government would secure new revenue streams that could bolster national priorities such as defense and social services. Further reforms in Ukraine’s energy sector could mean the difference between economic growth at the current sluggish rate of 2 percent and reaching 6 percent or more, which some experts suggest is possible.2 Ultimately, Ukraine will be the arbiter of its own success in energy-sector reform. But the United States can and should do more to help it achieve politically and technically complex reforms. Apply- ing greater diplomatic pressure, providing technical assistance, and offering targeted financial in- centives—and disincentives—could speed the pace of Ukraine’s reform efforts. The Donald J. Trump administration, which has not yet articulated a clear strategy toward the country, should place energy-sector reform at the center of its relationship with Ukraine. Doing so would constitute a low-risk, high-reward strategy for Washington to counter Moscow’s influence at the North Atlan- tic Treaty Organization (NATO) border without overcommitting to military options and antagoniz- ing Russia. Moreover, by helping Ukraine reform its energy sector, the Trump administration may create opportunities for trade in energy equipment and services, advancing its strategy of U.S. en- ergy dominance.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Reform, Gas
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The global impact of oil’s fall from $100 plus to under $50 a barrel has not gotten as much attention as I think it deserves. For most oil exporters, it has been a profound shock—one that forced such a massive contraction in imports that it pulled down global trade (far more than the trade remedies that tend to dominate the ‘trade” news). A few countries adjusted quickly and relatively efficiently (Russia), though not painlessly. A few have struggled to adapt—notably, because of its large external debt, poor policies, and growing political crisis, Venezuela.
  • Topic: Oil, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aaron Connely
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In April 2016, the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop on Southeast Asian perspectives on U.S.–China competition, which informed this publication. That workshop was made possible in part by the generous support of the Robina Foundation. This report is a collaboration between the Lowy Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed in this report are entirely the authors' own and not those of the Lowy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Robina Foundation.
  • Topic: Governance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America