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  • Author: Chad Michael Briggs
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Paid parental leave can provide important health and educational benefits to children while enabling mothers to remain attached to their prior jobs, which can increase earnings substantially once the mother returns to work
  • Topic: Finance, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China is investing much less in the US than it did just a year ago. It has never invested much in the Belt and Road. Yet China’s global investment spending remains healthy, with impressive diversification across countries and the reemergence of private firms.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael Bohnet, Stephan Klingebiel, Paul Marschall
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The structure of German Official Development Assistance (ODA) is in a state of transition. Germany’s growing international role, the increasing importance of climate issues as well as the refugee crisis are contributing greatly to a significant increase in German ODA, which has more than doubled since 2012 and amounted to around EUR 22 billion in 2017. The coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD in 2018 has prioritised ODA-eligible expenditures and views development policy as a priority area. Significant changes can also be seen with regard to the scope and pattern of ODA expenditures
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Max Otto Baumann, Silke Weinlich
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Can the United Nations Development System (UNDS) become a resourceful, well-organised partner for member states in implementing the 2030 Agenda? The UNDS is the biggest multilateral development actor, accounting for $18.4 billion, or 33 per cent, of multilateral aid in 2015. Its functions range from providing a forum for dialogue, decision-making and norm-setting, to research, advocacy, technical assistance and humanitarian aid. Numerous governments, including those of high-income countries, are counting on the UN’s assistance for advancing their development in a sustainable way. More than any other development organisation, the UNDS needs to adjust in order to fulfil these expectations. In May 2018, UN member states set the course for reforming the UNDS by agreeing on a draft resolution. The resolution contains five potentially transformative decisions that will bring the UNDS a step closer to being “fit for purpose”, the term under which the reform process was initiated more than three years ago. The global structures of the UNDS are to be strengthened, making the system more strategic and accountable; Resident Coordinators are to coordinate more effectively and objectively; their funding will be guaranteed by a new 1 per cent levy on tightly earmarked contributions; common business operations are to be advanced, with potential efficiency gains of $380 million per year; and the UN’s vast network of country offices is to be consolidated for more efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Claudia Schwegmann, Sarah Holzapfel
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Data is a central but underestimated prerequisite for the realisation of the 2030 Agenda. Although technical innovations such as smartphones or the internet of things have led to a data explosion in recent years, there are still considerable gaps in the availability and use of data in developing countries and development cooperation (DC) in particular. So far it is not possible to report regularly on the majority of the 230 indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Annabelle Houdret, Irene Pasqua, Saâd Filali Meknassi
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: In Tunisia, Morocco and other North African countries, en¬vironmental problems increasingly lead to political protest. Industrial pollution and a lack of clean drinking water adversely impact the living conditions and income op¬portunities of already marginalised groups and trigger unrest. Environmental governance in the region is often highly centralised, and takes no consideration of the needs of the citizens in the use of natural resources. In a political context that remains unstable following the 2011 uprisings, the double challenge of mounting environmental problems and related social unrest calls for new approaches. Reinforcing accountable environmental governance could help, not only by addressing environmental problems and needs, but by contributing to the overall transformation of societal relationships towards more democratic (i.e. transparent, accountable and participative) governance in the longer term.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Author: Clare Castillejo
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Migration was an important issue at the November African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) summit. While the tone of discussion was somewhat improved on that of recent years, divisions between the two continents remain great. Europe and Africa still have fundamentally different positions in relation to migration, with the EU and many European member states prioritising prevention and return, while African governments focus more on remittances and legal migration opportunities. However, Europe’s current approach does not acknowledge these differing interests and instead seeks to impose its own agenda in ways that threaten to undermine important African ambitions. In recent years, the EU has launched initiatives aimed at curbing migration from Africa that have caused significant controversy, notably the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). These initiatives suffer from a number of weaknesses. The EUTF is based on the flawed premise that development assistance can prevent migration. It diverts aid to migration goals, and its projects often do not comply with development principles such as transparency, ownership and alignment. Meanwhile, the MPF seeks to use positive and negative incentives across a range of external action areas to encourage partners to cooperate with the EU’s migration goals – primarily on prevention and return. So far, results have been limited and it has soured relations with some partner countries.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jean-Frédéric Morin, Vera Chaudhuri, Mathilde Gauquelin
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Trade agreements have mixed effects on the environment. On the one hand, trade generates additional pollution by raising production levels. Trade rules can also restrict the capacity of governments to adopt environmental regulations. On the other hand, trade agreements can favour the diffusion of green technologies, make production more efficient and foster environmental cooperation. Whether the overall effect is positive or negative partly depends on the content of the trade agreement itself. Recent studies have found that trade agreements with detailed environmental provisions, in contrast to agreements without such provisions, are associated with reduced levels of CO2 emission and suspended particulate matter (Baghdadi et al., 2013; Zhou, 2017). It remains unclear, however, which specific provisions have a positive environmental impact and how they are actually implemented.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Svea Koch, Niels Keijzer, Christine Hackenesch, Julian Bergmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The EU is one of the leading global players in international development, trade, peace and security. Therefore, a key part of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is the one reserved for action beyond EU’s borders. This budget heading is called ‘Global Europe’ (also referred to as Heading IV). Under the current budget for the period of 2014 to 2020, including the inter-governmental European Development Fund (EDF), over 90 billion euros are available for the EU’s external action. The lion’s share of this is reserved for development cooperation. In previous years, the EU has dealt with new challenges in external action mostly by creating specific initiatives and new financial instruments. At the start of the negotiations on the next MFF, Heading IV thus appears to be rather complex and fragmented compared to other headings.
  • Topic: International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Furness, Julian Bergmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The question of how the EU should finance peacebuilding in developing countries has challenged policy-makers and pundits for many years. At one level this is a technical and legal issue of budget lines and financing rules. It nevertheless touches on the much deeper political and even moral issues of whether the EU should use development aid to finance security provision, how best the EU can respond to the legitimate needs of partners in conflict-affected countries and what kind of civil and/or military engagements the EU can support as part of its external relations. The question has come to resemble the proverbial can being kicked along the road by successive European Commissioners, Council working groups and parliamentary committees. It has come to a head again because intra-EU negotiations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 are starting in earnest. This time, a sensible proposal is on the table which can potentially provide a pragmatic and workable solution, at least for a while.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesco Burchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: With the signing of the 2030 Agenda, the international community has committed to ending poverty in all its forms. This first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) recognises poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon that goes beyond the simple lack of a sufficient amount of income. However, the way the SDG 1 and, in particular, Target 1.2 – “reduce … poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” – are formulated poses challenges for its operationalisation. Which specific dimensions of poverty should a country focus on? How can we identify them? Is it possible to agree on a universal set of dimensions with which to compare poverty across several countries?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Commins
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The growing share of Africa’s urban residents living in slums is creating a further source of fragility. In response, some cities are implementing integrated urban development strategies that link local government, police, the private sector, and youth to strengthen social cohesion and enhance stability.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Urbanization, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anouar Boukhars
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Persistent economic and social disparities between urban centers and outlying communities present an ongoing source of instability for countries in the Maghreb.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Maghreb
  • Author: David Boaz
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Democrats accuse President Trump of abuse of executive power and “thinking he is a dictator.” But then, Republicans made similar charges about President Obama. They all have a point. At least since the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, there has been a flow of power from civil society to government, from the states to the federal government, and from Congress to the executive branch. But a recent newspaper headline reminded me of some other headlines that tell a story.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Gene Healy
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For the past 17 years, presidents have used the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as a blank check to wage war whenever and wherever they please. Congress is now debating several replacement AUMFs—but these, too, pose the danger of granting the president far broader war powers than the Constitution envisioned. At a Capitol Hill Briefing, Cato’s GENE HEALY and JOHNGLASER made the case for repealing, rather than replacing, the AUMF.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Samar Batrawi, Ana Uzelac
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Syrian society is more socially, politically and geographically fragmented than ever before. None of the social problems that caused the 2011 protests have been resolved. Nevertheless, during recent months the Syrian regime has been trying to foster the image that Syria is entering a post-war phase in which a unified and stable Syria can flourish under President Bashar al-Assad. The fact that more than half of the country’s pre-war population is living in exile and has no part in this new social contract of sorts is conveniently omitted from the image presented of this ‘new’ Syria. These refugees will likely continue to live in precarious conditions, with few prospects for safe and voluntary return.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: With the boost that has been given to the EU’s defence policy, some of the St. Malo reflexes have reoccurred in Washington. Mostly, there are some misgivings in the United States about the exact meaning of ‘European strategic autonomy’, as it featured in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But also in Europe, it is not clear what strategic autonomy means. In light of the increasing uncertainty among the EU and European NATO-members about the solidity of the American security guarantees, strategic autonomy gains a new quality. If Europe were forced ‘to go it alone’, what would that take, both in terms of conventional and nuclear capabilities?
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The risk of a connectivity conflict becoming the next Great Game in the Balkans and Black Sea region is real. If, instead, countries in the region are to capitalize on their geography and history as a trading hub, all stakeholders need to invest in furthering political will, money, cooperation and trust. The Balkans and Black Sea Cooperation Forum (BBSF), convened in Athens in May 2018, is a noteworthy building block in this process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Ana Uzelac, Jos Meester
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This report analyses the challenges of implementing a ´protection in the region´ agenda in Lebanon, a country that hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, and which has been the recipient of one of the largest per capita aid and support packages since 2016. Our main finding is that EU diplomatic efforts and financial commitments to date have made very limited progress in ensuring protection for Syrian refugees in the country or improving their dismal socio-economic position. On the contrary, the main socio-economic indicators for Syrian refugees have remained very poor for the past three years, and the refugees’ continued presence in the country is increasingly questioned by parts of Lebanon’s political establishment.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe