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  • Author: Gary Hufbauer, Sherry Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 102, Axel Berger claimed that the debate over a multilateral framework for investment is futile. We disagree. Following its achievements at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the World Trade Organization (WTO) should launch negotiations to draft a 21st century Investment Framework Agreement (IFA).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Joachim Karl
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his famous book, "The End of History and the Last Man", published in 1992, Francis Fukuyama argued that Western democracy represents the end point of the socio-cultural evolution of humanity and the final form of government.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Anthea Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: There have been many calls for a rebalancing of investor protection and state sovereignty in the investment treaty system. However, another equally important shift is underway: the recalibration of interpretive authority between treaty parties and arbitral tribunals. In newer-style investment treaties, states are increasingly protecting and enhancing their role in interpreting and applying their treaties.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Sheng Zhang
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The China-US bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations have attracted attention due to the relative size and weight of both economies. Despite broad consensus about the importance of such a treaty, there is considerable debate about its shape and content. The debate is reflected in two recent Columbia FDI Perspectives. Donnelly argued that a China-US BIT should be modeled on the US Model BIT without "splitting the difference between Chinese and US positions", and that the possibility of meaningful BIT negotiations are "really up to China at this point".
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Colombia
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Anna Larson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's Provincial Councils (PCs) represent one of the best hopes for the future of local democracy in Afghanistan. Yet since their shaky formation in 2005, they continue to be overlooked by international actors preferring to interact with parliamentarians, ministers and appointed governors. The significance assigned by Afghans to winning PC seats has steadily increased over the last decade. Indeed, for many, the April 5 PC elections will do more than the presidential poll to determine whether democratic practices continue to take root in local politics. PC elections offer a chance to build local, personal ties and accountability mechanisms connecting to increasingly centralized government resources, and, in particular, an opportunity for a new generation of young, motivated Afghans to begin their political careers. As the locally-visible manifestation of the Afghan political system, PCs are the immediate face of democracy—or a lack thereof—for many Afghans. In 2009, with most news stories covering the widespread fraud in the presidential contest, the uproar over the fraud and delay throughout the PC polling process rarely received coverage on newspaper front pages. Yet those problems contributed significantly to people's sense of alienation and disillusionment with their country's political actors and electoral institutions. In spite of these experiences, Afghans are once again preparing to go to the polls. Voters, candidates, parties and local organizations are putting greater emphasis than ever on the process of provincial council polling—expressing concern about the prospects for fraud, mobilizing around their candidates and campaigning in earnest. If due attention to the process is not paid by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and by international agencies, popular participation in future elections could drop. Prospects for Afghan democratization will depend much on how these and future provincial-level elections are conducted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Demographics, Development, Islam, Politics, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Scott S. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's democratic development has taken place within the tight embrace of international support and the conception of "free and fair" elections that comes with it, but Afghan and inter-national views on what to expect from elections have diverged in the past, leading to a deepening of distrust between the Karzai-led Afghan government and the international community. The run-up to the 2014 presidential elections has been shaped by this distrust. Nonetheless, with the breakdown of the reconciliation effort with the Taliban and uncertainty about the result of the transition process due to President Hamid Karzai's unexpected refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the April 5 election is the only remaining opportunity for a political resolution of the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. A more complete understanding of the 2009 elections—how they were and were not a disaster—can help to narrow the gap between Afghan and international expectations; and an understanding of some of the changes that have occurred in Afghan society since 2009 can offer reason for optimism that the election will at the least create space for political elites to address the root causes of the crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Corruption, Democratization, Political Economy, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A piecemeal approach to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in Afghanistan, with four DDR programs since 2001 each targeting specific groups, has yielded limited results, mostly due to an extremely adverse political environment. Comprehensive DDR is unlikely to work without a settlement that includes all armed groups. The success of such a deal would in turn hinge on the successful reintegration of commanders and fighters. Sequencing DDR in the conventional way may not work; reintegration might better precede disarmament.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Mikael Wigell, Karl Lallerstedt
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Illicit trade flows generate massive costs f or the EU, yet the countermeasures have been inadequate. A shortage of data, the tendency to look at different forms of illicit trade as separate phenomena, and the complexity of the problem have led to an under-prioritisation of illicit trade among policymakers. Globally, the illicit trade in products that replace those that are generally licit (such as counterfeit goods and contraband excise goods) represents the biggest monetary turnover and hurts government and corporate revenues directly. Still, it is particularly under-prioritised. Synergistic effects for smuggling different items relate to the fact that there are over one thousand international poly-crime groups operating in the EU, the same smuggling routes can be used f or different commodities, and the same corrupt officials or purveyors of false documentation can deliver their services to multiple "operators". Illicit trade also makes the EU more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. It finances terrorist organisations, and well-established smuggling routes make the borders more porous. To address the problem, better data need to be generated showing its extent and impact. Taking a holistic view of the various aspects of illicit trade is important to facilitate coordination among the relevant authorities. The costs of this work represent investments which - beyond enhancing security - will generate income by boosting tax revenues, reducing crime, creating jobs and driving economic growth.
  • Author: Antto Vihma, Harro van Asselt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Notwithstanding the incremental steps taken in October 2013, meaningful action on regulating international aviation emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) remains a distant prospect. The European Union (EU) must decide on its aviation Directive without the guarantee of a global market-based mechanism being agreed in 2016. The strong and uncompromising positions of countries opposed to the inclusion of foreign airlines in the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) are more related to a realist game of politics rather than to the design details of the policy instrument. The political and legal arguments against the European Commission's proposal to amend the EU ETS vis à vis aviation emissions are unconvincing. Europe should also insist on its own sovereign rights-such as the right to regulate international aviation in its own airspace-and consider ways of manifesting more assertiveness in the future in order not to create a precedent with the retreat in the Aviation Directive case. Otherwise, the EU ma y become vulnerable to pressure in other areas of regulation with extraterritorial implications, and the EU's credibility when faced with strong and coordinated external influences might be undermined.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Treaties and Agreements, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Reforms made to the EU's economic and fiscal policies have served to reinforce the fragmentation of the division of competences between the EU and its member states in this field. It has also impacted the way in which these competences are exerted by the European and national institutions. Resulting from a differentiation of responsibilities between the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU, fragmentation is increasingly taking place even inside the EU institutions. The current fragmentation of competences and institutions complicates the democratic scrutiny of economic and fiscal policies. The biggest challenge is to accommodate the differentiated responsibilities of the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU within the framework of existing institutions in a w ay that would ensure the unity of this framework, but also the proper democratic anchoring of the EU's economic and fiscal powers.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe