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  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: It is time for the Canadian government to conduct a holistic review of Canada’s national security complex. The Defence Policy Review is floundering as a consequence of an uncooperative world, Canada’s domestic security institutions require legislative empowerment, and the election of Donald Trump has placed increased pressure on Canadian security and defence. Securing the U.S.’s northern border is a no-fail mission for Canada as peace and prosperity depend upon it. However, this must be done within Canadian security norms and values. Only a ground-up examination of the Canadian national security system will elicit a comprehensive understanding of the current deficiencies that will allow focused alignment of government objectives, policies and public funds. Crisis management requires a strategic plan with clear objectives from which to conduct concurrent and coordinated activities. The Trudeau government has the team in place; now, it needs a new National Security Policy statement to assist in “lead turning” an unconventional U.S. administration steadfast in its stance over national security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Immigration
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David S. Mitchell, Jeremy Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: On November 18, 2015, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor (DOL) published two important legal opinions that propose to give states new options for expanding retirement coverage for private-sector workers. These opinions open the door for states to move forward along one of two distinct paths: a payroll deduction plan that avoids ERISA, or a more traditional model that would fall under ERISA. This issue brief summarizes these rules and highlights the tradeoffs state policymakers will face when deciding which of these new avenues to pursue. The brief will be updated once the proposals are finalized.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Georges Fahmi
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: Egypt and Tunisia have been witnessing over the past few years a new wave of violent Islamist radicalisation. The engagement of Egyptian and Tunisian youth in political violence shows that depending only on classical counter-terrorism strategies will not only fail to prevent violent radicalisation, but it might actually increase it. Both the political and religious actors need to work together to formulate a comprehensive de-radicalisation strategy to render the political and religious spheres less enabling for violent radical ideas and movements.
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cyrus Rustomjee
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The world’s oceans are crucial to human life. They cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the earth’s water (Oceanic Institute 2016); provide vital ecosystem services; serve as a growing source of renewable energy and make crucial contributions to global food production and food security, through the provision of food, minerals and nutrients. Fish provide 4.3 billion people with about 15 percent of their intake of animal protein (UN Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] 2014b). Over 3.1 billion people live within 100 km of the ocean or sea in about 150 coastal and island nations (FAO 2014a), and global ocean economic activity is estimated to be US$3–5 trillion (FAO 2014b). Oceans and seas serve as waterways for global trade, with more than 90 percent of global trade carried by sea (International Maritime Organization 2012). Some 880 million people depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods (ibid.). Recognition of the services and resources provided by oceans has accelerated in recent years, spurred by the opportunities and challenges posed by a rapidly growing global population, increasing global demand for food and energy, advances in technology, and changes in patterns of global trade and human consumption. Developed countries have expanded fisheries, tourism and other oceanic and maritime industries; extended mineral exploration and extraction; and scaled up ocean-related scientific, technological and industrial research. Using increased knowledge of marine biodiversity, they have developed new value chains in pharmaceuticals, health care and aquaculture; and many have established integrated national ocean economy strategies, bringing together the regulatory, environmental, spatial, policy, institutional, industrial and other factors influencing their ability to exploit maritime resources.
  • Topic: Environment, Political Economy, Maritime Commerce, Biosecurity, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Global Focus
  • Author: Samuel Howorth, Domenico Lombardi, Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Students of macroeconomics will have heard about the central role played by the so-called Phillips curve in both theoretical and empirical analyses for almost 70 years. In 1958, A. W. Phillips reported an inverse relationship between changes in wages and the unemployment rate (Phillips 1958). The progeny of his thinking led to a revolution both in policy making and in the development of theoretical links between the real and nominal macroeconomic variables. Names such as Samuelson, Solow, Phelps, Friedman, Lucas and Sargent became associated with refinements and enhancements of the core finding reported by Phillips. Indeed, all of these economists went on to become Nobel laureates in economics, although not exclusively because of their contributions to the analysis of what has since been called the Phillips curve. Indeed, the concept is so influential that it spawned several different versions of the trade-off used to guide policy makers as a menu for the choices they face when deciding whether the gains from lower inflation are offset by the economic costs of higher unemployment. Initially, expectations of individuals or firms were ignored. This briefly gave policy makers the impression that they could simply select an inflation-unemployment combination and implement the necessary policy mix to achieve the desired outcome. Once a role for expectations was incorporated, debate centred on how forward-looking individuals are. The more forward-looking, the less likely it was that policy makers would be able to “exploit” the trade-off because, unless wages rose in purchasing-power terms, the gains from lower unemployment would, at best, be temporary once workers realized that the higher inflation, at unchanged wages, actually drives real wages down. Indeed, the pendulum swung all the way to the conclusion — reached by the 1970s and early 1980s — that the Phillips curve was illusory and there was no trade-off policy makers could exploit.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Céline Bak
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the way to Washington, DC, for a September 2015 visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping stopped in Seattle, WA, to sign an agreement aimed at combatting climate change by increasing the business ties between Chinese and US clean technology companies (South China News 2015). Five US states signed the agreement on commerce between China and clean-tech businesses from California, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. On the same day, Bill Gates’s energy company, TerraPower, signed an agreement with the China National Nuclear Corporation for joint cooperation on next-generation renewable and fusion nuclear power. In early 2015, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in General Fusion, a Canadian company based in Vancouver, to advance its energy innovation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sarah Birch
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Leaders, negotiators and scientists returned home from the recent United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris with a new mandate: to explore pathways to a world that warms no more than 1.5°C; to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries at a meaningful pace and scale; and, ultimately, to create real policy tools that can deliver prosperity that is not so fundamentally tied to burning fossil carbon. The Paris Agreement is historic in that it is universal (both industrialized and less-developed nations have agreed to the text), a heavy focus is placed on transparency and reporting of progress, and opportunities to periodically reevaluate and ratchet up ambition are built into the process. The ultimate power of this agreement, however, is not in its technicalities and legal implications. Rather, the Paris Agreement represents the manifestation of collective ambition, creating and demonstrating shared norms around the reality of climate change and the responsibility to act. This international process of negotiation and commitment is triggering a wave of conversations about how to reach these ambitious greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation targets. This will require a rapid and fundamental transformation of all sectors, including the design of urban spaces and the ways in which we produce and consume energy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Thistlewaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes that employ a range of different standards to measure climate change risks and corporate sustainability, this task will be challenging. But the diversity of schemes also represents an opportunity to assess which practices are effective at improving corporate accountability for sustainability performance, as well as efficient at producing comparable reports that do not unfairly burden reporting organizations. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the FSB and its Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Governance, G20, Regulation, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus