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  • Author: Valeriya Mechkova, Anna Lührmann, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Establishing accountable governments is a top priority on the international development agenda. Yet, scholars and democracy practitioners know little about how accountability mechanisms develop and thus can be supported by international and national actors. The present study tackles the questions of how, and in what sequence accountability sub-types develop. We consider not only vertical (elections and political parties) and horizontal accountability (legislature, judiciary and other oversight bodies), but also diagonal accountability (civil society and media) in both their de-jure and the de-facto dimensions. By utilizing novel sequencing methods, we study their sequential relationships in 173 countries from 1900 to the present with data from the new V-Dem dataset. Considering the long-term dimensions of institution building, this study indicates that most aspects of de-facto vertical accountability precede other forms of accountability. Effective institutions of horizontal accountability – such as vigorous parliaments and independent high courts – evolve rather late in the sequence and build on progress in many other areas.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: Abstract It appears from his decision to replace Abdelilah Benkirane with Saadeddine Othmani as head of the government that Moroccan King Mohammed VI does not want to deviate from the requirements of the constitution and democratic methods. He is attempting to use his constitutional powers to find an acceptable solution to end the stalemate and form a government. Othmani has succeeded in reaching a tentative agreement to form the government and is likely to succeed in its formation and leadership. However, he will head a heterogeneous government afflicted by many contradictions, which may implode if it falls under excessive pressure. The government would then be in crisis, which it would have to overcome with a cabinet reshuffle to avoid a complete collapse, especially given the strong position of the king who wants the Justice and Development Party to continue leading the government in future.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • 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
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In 2012, when Bashar al-Assad’s regime withdrew most of its security forces from the Jazira in northeastern Syria, it ceded local power to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing. The PYD replicated past regime behavior, focusing on maintaining a secure hold of this strategic geographical area at the expense of effective governance. This approach has hindered the prospect of building a self-sustained administration. At the same time, outside actors such as Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, and the United States have inadvertently reinforced the PYD’s security-focused rule while pursuing their own security concerns. Exploring potential avenues to peace and stable governance in Syria requires carefully identifying the interrelated nature of these various actors’ security concerns in the Jazira.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Amr Hamzawy
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egypt’s new authoritarian regime is rapidly closing the public space—cracking down on autonomous civil society and independent political parties, asphyxiating the practice of pluralist politics, and thwarting citizens’ peaceful and active engagement in public affairs. The government’s primary strategy is to institute wide-scale repression through lawmaking and justify its behavior through conspiratorial and populist narratives. With unprecedented resolve, it has passed new protest and terrorism laws, introduced legal amendments targeting nongovernmental organizations, and extended the military court’s jurisdiction. Essentially, the regime is adapting lawmaking for its own purposes. To fight against the tide, those challenging the system need to fully understand how.
  • Topic: Governance, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Mohammad Tariq
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper concludes a series on governance and human rights action in North Africa. Written by Mohammad Tariq, it presents a preliminary analysis of the issues of governance in human rights organizations in Morocco. Such a research faces methodological and practical impediments stemming from the scarcity of information on funding flows and other governance issues.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Morocco
  • Author: Hafedh Chekir
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: ARI's project on the Future of Human Rights Action in North Africa continues to explore the governance challenges and moves in this paper to Tunisia where prominent feminist, academic and human rights defender Hafidha Chekir explores the legal environment of civil society organizations in Tunisia and how this affected their own internal governance.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Yara Shahin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper explores the state of internal governance in Egyptian human rights NGOs. It looks at their internal structures including; decision-making processes, the existence and role of governing boards, relationships with donors, levels of accountability and representation of constituencies along with the relationship with the government within a restrictive legal and political environment. It argues that while the restrictive environment for civil society in Egypt has hindered the development of stronger internal governance mechanisms in many organizations, the internal dynamics of these organizations have also contributed to the weak internal governance structures in most of them. The dilemmas that persisted through different generations and phases of Egyptian human rights organizations include balancing activism on public issues with bureaucratization and professionalization of vehicle organizations, the difficulty for and resistance from founders/directors to leave their influential posts, developing better participatory mechanisms of accountability towards the NGOs constituencies and addressing the “stigma” of foreign funding
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper explores China’s perspectives and practices in its quest for overseas energy supply security and its participation in international energy cooperation since becoming a net oil import country in 1993. It compares the traditional approach, in which China mainly focuses on bilateral means to pursue its overseas energy supply security, and the new concept of energy security, in which greater involvement in global energy governance, in particular in the Group of Twenty (G20), is highlighted to promote China’s energy security. The paper argues that China still retains a bilateral and regional cooperation approach, while making progress in developing closer cooperation with existing major global energy governing institutions. The One Belt, One Road strategy proposed in 2013 is regarded as a strengthened version of the bilateral and regional cooperation approach. Chinese academic circles constitute the main forces advocating China’s more positive participation in global energy governance. The G20 provides significant institutional arrangements to coordinate big powers to govern the international energy markets and to address climate change. This paper suggests that, given China’s growing prominence at the G20, it could be the proper platform for the country to play a more active role in global energy governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Governance, G20
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Internet enables the free flow of information on an unprecedented scale but to an increasing extent the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, such as privacy and the mediation of free expression, is being left in the hands of private actors. The popularity of a few web platforms across the globe confers on the providers both great power and heavy responsibilities. Free-to-use web platforms are founded on the sale of user data, and the standard terms give providers rights to intrude on every aspect of a user’s online life, while giving users the Hobson’s choice of either agreeing to those terms or not using the platform (the illusion of consent). Meanwhile, the same companies are steadily assuming responsibility for monitoring and censoring harmful content, either as a self-regulatory response to prevent conflicts with national regulatory environments, or to address inaction by states, which bear primary duty for upholding human rights. There is an underlying tension for those companies between self-regulation, on the one hand, and being held accountable for rights violations by states, on the other hand. The incongruity of this position might explain the secrecy surrounding the human systems that companies have developed to monitor content (the illusion of automation). Psychological experiments and opaque algorithms for defining what search results or friends’ updates users see highlight the power of today’s providers over their publics (the illusion of neutrality). Solutions could include provision of paid alternatives, more sophisticated definition and handling of different types of data — public, private, ephemeral, lasting — and the cooperation of all stakeholders in arriving at realistic and robust processes for content moderation that comply with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus