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Africa and external actors

13 Jan 2017 12:51:51 GMT

The Cape Town seminar in August 2016 brought together about 30 key scholars, policymakers, and civil society activists to assess bilateral and multilateral relations between Africa’s traditional and non-traditional actors in the post–Cold War era. Key issues pertaining to Africa’s relations with global actors were discussed under the following three broad themes: bilateral relations with traditional powers: the United States (US), Russia, China, France, and Britain; bilateral relations with  non-traditional powers: India; Japan; the Nordics; and Europe and the Arab world; and multilateral relations: the United Nations (UN), the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This meeting examined Africa’s relations with eight key bilateral actors or blocs and six major multilateral actors, assessing progress made in the continent’s efforts to increase its leverage in global politics through engagement with external actors. Policy recommendations:pro-Africa lobbyists in the US need to collaborate closely with legislators in the US Congress as well as Washington-based interest groups as they did during South Africa's anti-apartheid struggles in the 1980s. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) should also be mobilised to support these battlesthe tens of thousands of highly-educated Africans in America should further help to build a viable constituency for Africapeople-to-people relations are important in Africa’s relations with Russia. Russian cultural centres could therefore contribute to building Russo-African cultural relations to improve language barriers and to strengthen business partnerships with a view to changing stereotypes on both sidesAfrican countries should seize the potential opportunities presented by a weakened, less confident, and less cohesive post-“Brexit” Europe to redefine their relations with the European Union. This includes Africa calling for a moratorium on the economic partnership agreements while the EU completes its “divorce settlement” with Britain, and formulating substantive policy responses to issues such as BrexitAfrican countries should leverage China’s and India’s interest in the continent to reduce their dependence on traditional Western powers such as the US, Britain, and France, while Beijing and New Delhi should assist Africa in broadening its export base through technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. Francophone countries on the continent should reduce their political, economic, and cultural dependence on France. Furthermore, Africa must explore how it can borrow from India’s attitude towards aid and development, which is to accept aid as and when needed, and in specific ways to further its own socio-economic development based on a clear definition of its specific interestsAfrican governments should develop clear, coordinated positions on their goals and the strategies for achieving them in fora such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; and in respect of other rapidly emerging economies in the “global South” such as Brazil and IndiaAfrica remains a supplier of primary products to external actors, and should change its trade structures so that technical capacity transfer and capacity-building become more of a focus for partnerships with external actors, with local procurement and beneficiation given more prominence. Furthermore, African countries should claim their own individual and collective agency, and strengthen efforts to add value to their primary commodities; diversify their economies; and increase the competitiveness of the export of manufactured productsbuilding on the experiences of the Economic Community of West African States Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the African Union missions in Burundi, Darfur, and Somalia, Africa needs to create an effective peacekeeping force; it must fund its own institut[...]

Zambia’s constitutional Groundhog Day: why national debate about constitutional reform is not going away anytime soon

13 Jan 2017 12:14:09 GMT

Since independence, Zambia has had five major constitutional amendments (an average of one every 10 years), a fact that has raised concerns about the country’s constitutional foundations. The constitution has been made a campaign issue in every presidential election since Zambia’s return to multiparty politics in the 1990s. In recent years, constitutional reform has become increasingly politicised and intransigent. The latest constitutional amendment, announced in January 2016, offered Zambians provisions that had long formed part of their aspirations and demands. Why then was the 2016 constitution recently defeated in a national referendum?

This policy briefing demonstrates how the interests of citizens have continually been placed behind the interests of Zambia’s political elite, including in the 2016 referendum.
  • political parties should collaborate to find consensus before undertaking constitutional amendments. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) highlights that a country’s constitution should enjoy popular legitimacy, and major amendments and revisions should not be undertaken lightly. Zambia highlights the dangers of politicising such a foundational aspect of any democracy
  • referendums should not be held concurrently with national general elections. Zambia’s 2016 referendum clearly suffered due to the broader political environment, ultimately failing to secure the minimum turnout required to legally validate the final outcome
  • sufficient time should be allocated to sensitise citizens ahead of a national referendum. Clearly, less than six months was insufficient notice for Zambians, as demonstrated by the low turnout and significant number of rejected (spoilt) ballots
  • double-barrelled referendum questions should be avoided. Keep questions simple. The 2016 Zambian referendum question fails on both counts here, and the outcomes are evident
  • the symbols used for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ should be easy to understand. Using an eye for ‘Yes’ and an ear for ‘No’ proved contentious and confusing in the 2016 referendum

Partnering with the New Development Bank: what improved services can it offer Middle-Income Countries?

06 Jan 2017 03:15:42 GMT

Multilateral development banks increasingly struggle to respond effectively to the needs of middle-income countries, influencing not only their potential development impact but also their own financial stability. This challenge has been driven by a changing external environment, including additional competition from other financiers, the changing needs of middle income countries and institutional constraints. Business processes that deter greater borrowing by countries, especially in the presence of other financiers with less strenuous requirements, also contribute to this situation. These include lengthy loan approval processes, limited use of in-country management systems and sensitivities around environmental and social safeguards. There is also a need for greater responsiveness and an emphasis on the importance of knowledge services. This paper highlights some of these challenges and offers some alternative solutions. The New Development Bank, as a new entrant to the development finance milieu, will do well to draw on the experiences of existing multilateral development banks to improve its offerings to countries.

Illicit financial flows estimating trade mispricing and trade-based money laundering for five African countries

06 Jan 2017 03:05:49 GMT

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are garnered through the proceeds of illicit trade, trade mispricing, transfer pricing and other forms of organised profit-motivated crime. This paper focuses on the commercial tax evasion component of illicit financial flows (IFFs), clarifying concepts often used interchangeably, namely transfer pricing, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing (or trade mis-invoicing), trade-based money laundering (TBML), tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also shows how they link to IFFs. It estimates the extent of trade mispricing by enhancing the model currently used by Global Financial Integrity, and by developing a TBML model as a means of quantifying IFFs between two developing countries. There are data challenges with this methodology, as it is an estimation of illegal or hidden activities, using the International Monetary Funds Direction of Trade methodology.

The research points to declining trade mispricing in South Africa and Zambia for the period 2013-2015, and Nigeria for the period 2013-2014. Morocco and Egypt exhibit increasing trade mispricing from 2013 to 2014. The TBML model, which addresses the criticism regarding flows between two developing countries, points to increasing financial outflows for all five countries. These flows mean less revenue is available to the fiscus to invest in socio-economic infrastructure and pro-poor growth strategies, which would benefit women and the poor. Policy recommendations address commercial tax evasion as well as proposals to remedy the data anomalies.

Improving infrastructure finance for Low-Income Countries: recommendations for the ADF

06 Jan 2017 02:48:36 GMT

Low-income countries (LICs) in sub-Saharan Africa face a substantial infrastructure-financing gap. multi-lateral development banks (MLDBs) have traditionally played an important role in mobilising finance for infrastructure in LIcs, but their funding alone cannot match demand. the african development Bank’s (AfDB) concessional window, the african development fund (ADF), is a key infrastructure financier for african LICs, and comprises 37 regional member countries (RMCs), including emerging markets and fragile states. however, in recent years the ADF has faced funding and technical constraints.

This policy brief, based on a discussion paper, outlines the ADF’s role in providing infrastructure financing to LIcs and the challenges that countries face in accessing these funds. It also examines the changing context confronting LIcs as they weigh their infrastructure demands against the requirement to maintain sustainable debt levels. Lastly, the brief explores the challenges and opportunities of mobilising additional finance for LICs.

Policy recommendations:

  • in order to target growing international concerns around debt sustainability, the ADF should increase its efforts to work with countries in understanding and managing their debt levels
  • the ADF should continue to streamline its approval and implementation processes, targeting national capacity bottlenecks as early as possible and ensuring the continuity of AfDB officials from the appraisal to monitoring stages
  • the ADF should direct efforts towards increasing LIC awareness and understanding of its private finance mobilisation tools through greater promotion and dissemination of information, and should increase technical support and training for PPPs. It should place greater focus on measuring the developmental impacts of projects, especially where the private sector is involved
  • project preparation requires more ADF funding, and the ADF’s PPF should explore cost recovery mechanisms to ensure sustainability. LIC governments should create better co-ordination and unified support around proposed projects to decrease risks
  • LICs should be assisted in accessing the non-concessional ADB funds available to them

Côte d’Ivoire’s comeback: the revival of Ivorian regional diplomacy

06 Jan 2017 02:35:13 GMT

Over the past few decades, Côte d’Ivoire has been a passive and often problematic actor within its region. This has been the case since the death of the first president of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, on 7 december 1993. under Houphouët-Boigny the country encouraged migration by opening up its borders to neighbouring countries and actively linking France to the region. However, after his death the country fell into a cycle of crises characterised by political and economic instability as a result of coups d’état and civil war. This saw the country’s influence decline in west africa and beyond.

Côte d’Ivoire’s diplomacy and foreign policy is embedded in key documents such as the country’s constitution, act 2007-669 and decree 2011-248. This is indicative of its aspirations as an influential political and economic actor in the region. since the election of President alassane Ouattara in 2011 Côte d’Ivoire has slowly re-emerged as a stable regional and international actor. The country has sought to improve relations with neighbouring states, focusing on the policy of ‘good neighbourliness’, which entails fostering regional stability and economic prosperity through dialogue. The country has re-established itself as a key player in regional forums such as ECOwas and the west african Economic and Monetary union.

On a continental level, critics had predicted that relations between Côte d’Ivoire and south africa would sour due to former president Thabo Mbeki’s support for laurent Gbagbo, Ouattara’s predecessor. However, relations between the countries have remained stable, indicating Côte d’Ivoire’s commitment to strengthening its regional and international diplomacy. However, the country also needs to strengthen its governance and economy, and improve the living standard of its people while more firmly establishing itself as an influential regional, continental and international actor.

South Africa’s state-building role in the DRC: kicking the can down the road

06 Jan 2017 02:18:06 GMT

As the mooted presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is postponed to December 2018, South Africa’s most significant engagement in post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) since its return to African affairs in 1994 hangs in the balance. While South Africa has done a fairly decent job of supporting the DRC at various difficult intervals since the 1990s, the model it has pursued in that country appears to be falling short of the demands of strategic state and institution building. It is a model at the end of its resources.

This policy insights paper argues that these shortcomings are a result not only of South Africa’s inability to master the challenging political terrain in the DRC but also of Pretoria’s pushback from value-driven doctrines in its diplomacy. This severely impacts South Africa’s ideological and normative posture, particularly the manner in which it is inconsistently articulated in the political institution-building process in the DRC – a complex country with multi-layered issues and competing external and domestic stakeholders.

Climate Justice: The international momentum towards climate litigation

20 Dec 2016 10:39:25 GMT

The Paris Agreement is ground breaking yet contradictory. In an era of fractured multilateralism it achieved above and beyond what was considered politically possible – yet it stopped far short of what is necessary to stop dangerous climate change. In the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C, yet the mitigation pledges on the table at Paris will result in roughly 3C of warming, with insufficient finance to implement those pledges. The Paris Agreement was widely acknowledged to signal the end of the fossil fuel era, yet it does not explicitly use the words ‘fossil fuels’ throughout the entire document, nor does it contain any binding requirements that governments commit to any concrete climate recovery steps. Now, citizens and governments are beginning to seek redress in court with ground breaking cases emerging around the world, in a whole new area of litigation, some of which can be compared with the beginnings of - and based on some of the legal precedents set by - legal action against the tobacco industry. Other new strategies are focused not only on private industry but on the sovereign responsibility of governments to preserve constitutional and public trust rights to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere on behalf of both present and future generations. Climate litigation has spread beyond the US into new jurisdictions throughout Asia, the Pacific and Europe. Claimants are not only targeting the ‘Carbon Majors’, who are the world’s largest producers of oil, coal and gas, but are also targeting the governments around the world that are continuing to support and collude with the Carbon Majors by promoting, subsidising and approving a fossil-fuel based energy system, with the full knowledge of the catastrophic impacts of climate destabilization and ocean acidification that would result from continuing to burn fossil fuels. This document makes the following recommendations: remove the fossil fuel industry from the climate negotiations process and ban the industry from having a role or voice in setting climate change policyacknowledge and discharge governments’ affirmative sovereign obligations to preserve essential natural resources, including a healthy atmosphere, ocean and climate system, in accordance with the best available science, for the benefit of all present and future generations, with comprehensive plans for emission reductions and protection and restoration of natural ecosystemsas well as making appropriate contributions in their own right (public climate finance), introduce a levy on fossil fuel producers to partly fund the International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, allowing for individuals and communities to directly access the funds made available through this processremove fossil fuel subsidies and couple this action with the carbon levy to ensure that governments recuperate the true and complete costs of climate change from industryintroduce into international climate law a provision that recognises the role of private sector liability and encourages governments to take legislative action and legal actions under existing laws to deal with potential criminal and civil liability of the fossil fuel industrytake legal action against the fossil fuel industry within national jurisdictions to establish liability, recuperate the costs of climate change and expose internal industry documentsconsider amending limitation periods if necessary to allow claimants to bring cases from the time that climate damages manifestimplement strategies to ensure fossil fuel defendants do not take action to avoid liability (e.g. through shifting assets to alternative jurisdictions or splitting up their companies)introduce legislation that specifically addresses climate liability if there is a need for clarification of the law or a need to change the law to make climate[...]

The role of human rights in climate change adaptation: evidence from civil society in Cambodia and Kenya

15 Dec 2016 04:57:03 GMT

Inconsistent climate change policies increase the vulnerability of marginalised populations and lead to resource conflicts. A human rights-based approach can help protect the adaptive capacities of climate vulnerable populations.

Climate change raises critical issues about the linkages between human rights and the environment. With intensified natural hazards and increasingly uncertain weather conditions, more effort will be needed to safeguard the rights of vulnerable populations to be protected from hazards and to retain their capabilities to undertake their own adaptation strategies.

In order to assess how HRBA is applied to climate change it is essential to look at four specific human rights principles:

  • meaningful participation and opportunity
  • transparency
  • accountability of duty bearers
  • non-discrimination

This policy brief draws on examples from Kenya and Cambodia to illustrate the opportunities and obstacles for putting HRBA into practice.


  • a human rights-based approach to climate change can be used to clarify who is responsible for climate change adaptation and what their duties are
  • governments have a responsibility to protect individuals from climate change, but often lack capacity to do so. There is a need to help govern- ments shoulder these difficult tasks, but also to ensure that they fulfill their duty
  • civil society should hold governments and donors to account to ensure that climate policies are actually implemented. Human rights can provide a mandate and a platform for this

Decentralized climate change responses in Uganda: climate change adaptation lacks local government funding

15 Dec 2016 03:34:18 GMT

Local governments in Uganda are the most appropriate level for implementing national climate change adaptation and mitigation policies. They provide the best institutional interface between local people’s aspiration and international investments, national policies and civil society initiatives. Yet their contribution is not fully appreciated.
  • strengthen local government funding and capacity for implementing climate change adaptation
  • enhance content and pace of dialogue between national level and meso-level policymakers on climate change adaptation
  • create opportunities for local governments to collaborate in response to the transboundary nature of climate change
  • better understanding of who are vulnerable to climate change and tailor adaptation to their needs

A place for subnational governments at the international climate negotiating table

08 Dec 2016 03:43:44 GMT

It can be difficult for subnational governments and cities to acquire a place at the negotiating table for international climate events, such as UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gatherings. This is despite the fact that subnational governments are often best placed to implement the outcomes of climate change negotiations. The role of cities in global geopolitical negotiations and agreements has been undervalued, with subnational governments dependent on national structures to carry their message forward, even as the city space gains ever greater prominence with rapid global urbanisation. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local government associations (LGAs) have stepped into this often contested and politically charged space to represent the voices of subnational governments and cities on the world stage. They profile the need for co-ordinated, effective climate action at subnational level through improved vertical and horizontal co-operation with central governments and other role players in the climate action space.

Recommendations: To ensure that the targets and action measures from international climate agreements are relevant and implementable at the local scale, an institutional architecture should:

  • actively strengthen internal co-operation and collaboration between national and subnational governments by moving beyond ‘consultation’ to a model of ‘co-production’ in the climate change policy sphere
  • adopt fiscal measures that allow for the rapid movement of finance for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures from donor organisations to subnational governments
  • deepen the collaboration between transnational actors, central and subnational governments to maximise the opportunities for innovative and locally relevant mitigation and adaptation measures
  • recognise potential intra-governmental sensitivities and plan accordingly for conflict resolution measures that diffuse tensions that may arise

Nigeria’s foreign policy before Buhari: global expectations amid domestic and regional challenges

08 Dec 2016 03:35:37 GMT

A country well-endowed in terms of population, natural resources and
geographic size, Nigeria’s post-independence foreign policy has been
marked by a near-constant striving for influence within its region and beyond. This especially resonates in the articulations of Nigeria’s foreign policy, which places Africa at the centre of its foreign engagements, its commitment to global peacekeeping operations and its efforts at mediation and development co-operation in West Africa, in particular. However, since its return to an electoral democracy in 1999, Nigeria has struggled to duplicate its assertive and activist foreign policies of the 1970s and 1980s, and its status as ‘regional
hegemon’ or ‘pivotal state’ has been called into question. Critics list numerous factors that have led to this gridlock – from a chaotic post-1999 political economy due to fluctuating oil prices and economic difficulties to the failure to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency. Compounding these maladies, a corrupt elite and docile leadership have done little to accomplish the regional goals of ECOWAS and the AU.

On a broader scale, Nigeria’s election to the UN Security Council in January 2014 bought it little clout globally, especially in light of the Jonathan administration’s inability to adequately combat Boko Haram. Furthermore, on a continental level, the demographic and economic
giant has all but lost its pre-eminence to post-apartheid South Africa as ‘the voice of Africa’, as little has been done to further evolve the country’s foreign policy past its decolonisation and anti-apartheid agenda. There is a need for strong and legitimate leadership that will build a more diversified economy and stronger institutions to drive a clean government and safeguard the rule of law. It is thus crucial that the public policymaking process be democratised, including for foreign policy. It is only by doing so that Nigeria can close the gap between its domestic realities and its regional, continental and global ambitions, and foster an interest-driven foreign policy in line with the spirit of the 1999 constitution.

Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for South-South and Triangular Development Cooperation: lessons from Brazil for the 2030 agenda

25 Nov 2016 03:22:49 GMT

In the past 15 years, South-South development cooperation (SSDC)1 and triangular development cooperation (TrC) have been growing in prominence as a result of an increase in resources, geographical reach and
diversity of approaches to new forms of development partnerships. At the same time, demands for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are also being made by citizens, taxpayers and civil society that are engaged in SSDC

Yet, the lack of a clear and common conceptual framework makes SSDC monitoring and evaluation challenging. This problem is compounded by the evidence gaps and the low quality of data on SSDC, which is generally incomplete and unreliable, owing to weak M&E systems and overall information management in Southern partners. Development agencies among Southern partners are relatively new and still lack the seasoned M&E experience of traditional donors. Moreover, Southern partners understand SSDC in different ways, compared with a more homogeneous understanding among traditional donors. Hence, Southern partners have no comparable conceptual and methodological framework to match the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC/OECD) to guide and standardise their development cooperation M&E.

This paper provides an overview of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices from different institutions engaged in South-South development cooperation (SSDC) and triangular development cooperation (TrC) in Brazil, based on a literature and document review and semi-structured interviews with 13 Brazilian and international institutions.

The findings corroborate the initial hypothesis that there is no unified M&E system for Brazilian development cooperation but heterogeneous M&E practices. These practices are mainly focused on outputs and shaped by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency’s parameters as well as those of the executing institutions.

The challenges and pitfalls identified by domestic and international institutions involved in Brazil’s SSDC/TrC showed the growing awareness of the need to prioritize M&E. However, heterogeneous concepts of evaluation and diversified institutional contexts suggest that a broad and cross-sectorial debate could
enhance construction of a unified framework for Brazilian development cooperation, working hand in hand with general discussions on South-South cooperation and international development governance.

Brazilian triangular cooperation in social protection: contribution to the 2030 Agenda

25 Nov 2016 03:14:35 GMT

International organizations have played a crucial role in this process by supporting the diffusion and transfer of social protection policies. However, the role of South-South Cooperation partners cannot be underestimated. Brazil’s development trajectory in the last decade has drawn the world’s attention to the country’s social protection and food and nutritional security policies.

This paper aims to analyse how can trilateral cooperation (TrC) initiatives sharing Brazilian experiences in social protection contribute to the 2030 agenda. In the last decade, social protection has gained the spotlight in development cooperation. The boundaries of social protection has expanded from a narrow understanding of safety nets to potentially encompassing a broader set of policies aimed at increasing social justice and as a redistributive measure that reaffirms the social contract of the state with its citizens. Countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America have introduced regular cash transfers and other programmes to assist poor and vulnerable citizens, with positive impacts on a range of well-being indicators for millions of people.

Fragile States Index 2016

25 Nov 2016 03:02:39 GMT

Since its inception in 2005, the annual index produced by the Washington DC-based Fund for Peace has ranked 178 countries based on measures of their stability and the pressures they face. The vast amount of information acquisition and interpretation involved in such a project is no small task and the commendable objective of the Fragile States Index (FSI), aimed at policymakers and the wider public, is to inform political risk assessment and better policy responses. Called the Failed States Index when the IPCS last issued a report on it, the FSI has generated lively debate in South Asia and further afield. While it has received some qualified praise, it has also faced wide-ranging arguments by numerous scholarly and policy critics. The term 'failed state' and the FSI more broadly have been variously regarded as excessively biased and politicised, overly simplistic, and lacking analytical precision and predictive utility.

Indirect colonial rule and the political salience of ethnicity

25 Nov 2016 02:50:23 GMT

Colonies can be roughly differentiated into directly ruled or “settler” colonies that often reproduced systems of governance used in Europe and were administered in a highly centralized and bureaucratic form, and indirectly ruled colonies that outsourced local governance to “traditional” indigenous authorities.

This paper identifies indirect colonial rule as an important determinant of whether ethnicity becomes politically salient in the post-colonial context. First it demonstrates the existence of a cross-national relationship between indirect colonial rule and the salience of ethnicity in sub-Saharan Africa. It then identifies the effect of indirect colonial rule through a within-country natural experiment in Namibia.

Northern Namibia was indirectly ruled by German and later South African authorities, whereas southern Namibia experienced direct rule. Whether a locality in the border zone was directly or indirectly ruled was shaped by the spatial extent of direct German colonial rule at the time of an 1897 rinderpest epidemic.

Exploiting this plausibly exogenous assignment to treatment in the border zone, this paper shows that in indirectly ruled areas, today’s party system is more ethnically divided, ethnic parties do substantially better than non-ethnic parties at securing electoral support, and individuals are more likely to identify with their ethnic group than in directly ruled areas. The paper then explores potential causal mechanisms and find evidence for the importance of the legacy of institutionalized ethnic divisions in indirectly ruled areas of Namibia.

Do Africans still want democracy?

25 Nov 2016 02:38:21 GMT

More than half of all Africans today live in functioning multi-party electoral democracies that are demonstrably freer than the military or one-party regimes that previously dominated the continent. At the same time, the post-1990 gains that African countries registered in terms of civil liberties and political rights peaked in 2006, at least according to expert judgments offered by Freedom House.

Trends of this sort around the world have led some analysts to conclude that Africa is currently part of a global democratic recession In other words, multiple things may be true. That is, democracy may seem to be declining when measured with a near-term yardstick. At the same time, democracy may be alive and well, since the continent is still far more democratic than it used to be when viewed from a longer-term perspective.

With these mixed possibilities in mind, this report emphasizes what ordinary citizens in 36 African countries think. Do they desire a democratic form of government, or what we call “demand for democracy”? By tracking 16 African countries that have had been surveyed over more than a decade, Afrobarometer has previously demonstrated a steady rise in popular demand for democracy. Yet large proportions of Africans remain skeptical that they are being “supplied” with democracy by their current political leaders. Under these conditions, do Africans continue to consider democracy to be the best available form of government? Or have global trends questioning the desirability of democracy begun to diffuse within Africa?

Key findings:

  • on average across the continent, Africans support democracy as a preferred type of political regime. Large majorities also reject alternative authoritarian regimes such as presidential dictatorship, military rule, and one-party government. Smaller proportions agree on all four of these aspects of democratic preference, an index we call “demand for democracy.”
  • large cross-national differences exist in demand for democracy. For example, while three in four respondents in Mauritius are consistent, committed democrats, fewer than one in 10 Mozambicans merit the same description
  • demographically, demand is highest amongst those who live in urban settings, have a university education, and work in middle-class occupations. There is also an important gender gap, with women significantly less likely to demand democracy than men
  • across 34 countries included in both of Afrobarometer’s two most recent rounds of surveys, popular demand for democracy increased in 10 countries, decreased in 14 countries, and remained essentially unchanged in 10 countries
  • a for longer-term trends in 16 countries surveyed since 2002, a steady, decade-long upward trend in demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012
  • the quality of elections helps to explain demand for democracy. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to register increases in popular demand for democracy than countries with low-quality elections
  • in a positive sign for the future of democracy, popular demand for democracy still exceeds citizen perceptions of the available supply of democracy in most African countries (26 out of 36 in 2015)

Changing elites, institutions and environmental governance

24 Nov 2016 02:15:13 GMT

The topic of elites has always been controversial in Latin American social sciences. Elites have been studied indirectly as landowners, capitalists, business-leaders or politicians, and have also been approached directly using concepts and theory from elite studies. Although there is a significant amount of literature on the role of elites in democratic transformations, elites have often been considered to be an obstacle to the formation of more democratic, prosperous and egalitarian societies. This is also the case in the literature on environmental governance, in which elite groups are often considered to be an obstacle to sustainable development and an obstacle to establishing more equitable influence over the use and benefits of natural resources. Therefore, although an elitist conservation movement has long existed in Latin America, struggles to protect the environment from overexploitation and contamination have commonly been related to struggles against local, national and transnational elites by subaltern groups.

Turkey in Somalia: shifting paradigms of aid

22 Nov 2016 10:15:40 GMT

As the global development landscape continues to evolve, new and emerging actors – countries transitioning from being aid recipients to aid providers – are becoming increasingly visible on the global scene. Although the approaches, interests and resources of emerging donors are far from uniform, their increasing presence in global development – particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings – could create new ways of thinking about foreign aid and contribute to more horizontal, equitable and efficient practices. The rise of these donors also poses challenges: their compliance with international standards in development assistance, the effectiveness of their aid and the inclusivity of their efforts have often been questioned.

Turkey’s presence in Somalia is an important example of emerging donor engagement in a conflict setting. Its involvement in Somalia intensified in response to the devastating 2010–2012 famine, but has since gone well beyond delivering aid and assistance to famine survivors. It has hosted international and regional conferences, mediated among various parties, engaged in capacity-building efforts, encouraged bilateral trade and delivered development assistance. Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has been remarkably multifaceted; it has included the Turkish government, religious institutions, nongovernmental organisations, the private sector and local municipalities. It is too early to accurately assess the impact of Turkey’s involvement on Somali institutions or to understand whether it has attenuated the conflict. Instead, this report draws on dozens of interviews in Turkey and Somalia to examine trends and challenges.

Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has distinguished itself by a readiness to deploy staff in the field despite the security risks, deference to the Somali government and a push for national ownership, as well as its involvement in the security and private sectors. However, its experience has also brought to the fore critical tensions: Will its respect for sovereignty and support to security institutions clash with norms of human rights and the inclusion of other parts of society in peacebuilding? Can this multi-pronged approach to aid be channelled toward a coherent and comprehensive peacebuilding strategy? And will these nascent aid institutions be able to weather domestic pressures in Turkey? [Authors' summary]

Promoting urban green travel

22 Nov 2016 02:47:37 GMT

Extensive traffic congestion and air pollution from road traffic in Chinese cities pose significant health and safety threats, compromise operational efficiency, and increase fuel consumption. Factors that contribute to this problem include rapid and extensive urbanization, increased usage of private cars, and the deterioration of good walking and cycling environments. The root cause of urban traffic congestion and traffic generated air pollution in China lies in the insufficient management of urban and transport development by public authorities. Insufficient management includes a lack of top-level vision for urban transport; insufficient attention to local government management and leadership, insufficient financial support, weak administrative capacity of local governments, imperfect performance evaluation systems, and the central government's limited influence on local governments.

This Executive Report provides an overview of the work carried out by the study team comprising Chinese and international experts, who were asked to develop a set of high level recommendations for the State Council on how to deal with the growing problems of traffic congestion and traffic-related air pollution in Chinese cities. The detailed findings and research evidence that underpins these recommendations can be found in the supporting full technical report.

This study forms part of a wider initiative on exploring the ways in which China might develop more sustainable cities, and focuses on the contribution that ‘green travel’ can make to achieve this goal. The report argues that tackling the twin problems of congestion and air pollution requires a switch in investment and policy away from car travel to encouraging the use of more sustainable and efficient ‘green’ modes of transport; in particular, enhanced rail (and bus) services, supported by better walking and cycling networks for local travel, and taxi travel for specific purposes.

Deciding over nature: corruption and environmental impact assessments

22 Nov 2016 02:43:46 GMT

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are a core aspect of environmental decision-making in most countries. Despite massive potential for public harms resulting from corrupt decision-making linked to EIAs, research on this topic is still very limited. We consider the main generic corruption risks in carrying out EIAs and provide suggestions for what public agencies, including development aid donors, might do to mitigate them.

Our analysis provides a systematic literature review of the topic, supplemented by fieldwork-based case analysis of the EIA process in Albania. We find that a range of poor practice currently afflicts Albania?s EIA system and that the present accountability and monitoring framework for EIAs does little to mitigate various corruption risks.

Lack of consultation. Stakeholders’ perspectives on local content requirements in the petroleum sector in Tanzania

22 Nov 2016 02:13:55 GMT

Tanzania has recently discovered huge offshore natural gas fields. This has led the Government to develop Local Content Policies (LCPs) to increase local job and business opportunities. This brief presents the main findings from a study of the stakeholders’ assessment of the LCPs the Tanzanian Government has developed. While there is widespread support to LCPs, the government is criticized by stakeholders for not conducting a transparent and inclusive consultative process which may weaken the implementation of the LCPs. This study follows the process from the first draft of the LCP, published in May 2014 by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral, to the Petroleum Act, passed by Parliament in July 2015 and assented to by the Tanzanian President in December 2015.

Panama Papers and the looting of Africa

21 Nov 2016 04:44:07 GMT

On the 3rd of April 2016 the German Newspaper Sud Deutsche Zeitung in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made an unprecedented release of documents from a database of the Panama based offshor e law firm Mossack Fonseca which is the world’s fourth largest offshore services law firm. The release captured global attention and would turn out to be the largest data leak in history. It exposed the offshore secrecy structures of wealthy businessmen, politicians, suspected drug lords and arms dealers use to hide their wealth.

The extent and magnitude to which the African continent is exposed to the shadowy world of offshore dealings is illustrated through the Panama Papers which found that implicated companies were operating in 44 out 54 African countries. A recent study by the United Nations committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that commodity dependent countries are losing up to 67% of their export earnings worth billions of dollars due to trade misinvoicing. While it remains to be seen how much the Panama papers will lead to a rethink of the international financial system the leak has significantl y contributed to exposing its fault lines. The prevailing discourse on illicit financial flows (IFFs) and the global financial transpar ency has until now focused on the demand side elements originating primarily from poorly governed developing countries. In contrast, the revelations in the Panama Papers suggest a systemic failure in the global financial architecture and illustrate the depth of advanced accounting, finance, and legal systems providing the supply-side infrastructure for IFFs to offshore territories and high secrecy jurisdictions.

Financing technology delivery for SDGs: a way forward for TFM

18 Nov 2016 03:02:54 GMT

The importance of Science and Technology (S&T) and availability of innovation driven solutions, particularly to mitigate and address sustainability challenges globally has been a central theme in all important global platforms in the recent past including the Rio+20 process that led to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) leading to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Climate Change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) including COP 21 and the Istanbul Plan of Action (IPoA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The FfD3 prioritising S&T delivery perhaps signals collective willingness to address issues of resource availability and financing of a global mechanism to facilitate and support the process.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda documents final decision on part of world leaders to establish a Technology Facilitation Mechanism – TFM. This was officially adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. India (along with Brazil) has been enthusiastically promoting the cause for TFM under the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

This policy brief reviews the current proposals for TFM and proposes a three-tier structure that can be way forward for the TFM. It also presents possible role that India can play in steering the TFM.

India and Sustainable Development Goals: the way forward

18 Nov 2016 02:04:44 GMT

India along with other countries has signed the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising of seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit of the United Nations in September 2015. SDGs are comprehensive and focus on five Ps – people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. On its current trajectory, India has already set for itself more ambitious targets for implementation of SDGs in several areas of economic progress, inclusion and sustainability.

As part of this major work programme on SDGs, RIS has also come out with this set of 19 papers dealing with various aspects of sustainable development goals. These papers have been prepared in collaboration with prominent experts from respective fields.

Hotter planet, humanitarian crisis: El Niño, the “new normal” and the need for climate justice

17 Nov 2016 02:25:52 GMT

In April 2016, almost a year after the first strong warnings were issued, as water sources dried up and crops withered across much of the world, and as UN humanitarian experts predicted that up to 100 million people would need international humanitarian relief, world leaders met at UN headquarters in New York to celebrate the official signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement. A succession of soaring speeches celebrated the climate action that the new deal would supposedly bring, but not a single leader referred to the fact
that the planet was already in the grip of one of the most widespread drought crises ever seen.

The stark contrast between the celebrations over the Paris Agreement, and the lack of international response to an actual climate crisis at the speed and scale required, shows how much needs to be done to ensure that global decision-making on the climate can help the most vulnerable. The 2015-16 El Niño crisis has exposed a clear disconnect between climate rhetoric and humanitarian action.

As the impacts of climate change are felt hardest by the countries who have least responsibility for creating the problem, a fair shares approach to climate justice can provide guidance for appropriate levels of humanitarian aid and boost support for the most vulnerable.

And as the UNFCCC continues its celebration and ratification of the newly-formed Paris Agreement, the millions that are still hungry must not be forgotten.

Enhancing the climate resilience of Africa's infrastructure: the roads and bridges sector

17 Nov 2016 01:08:40 GMT

Roads are a key asset for Africa. They connect villages to economic centers, people to hospitals, children to schools and goods to markets facilitating trade. This report examines the implications of climate change for Africa’s road connectivity, and practical steps that can be taken now to minimize the associated risks. The scope of the report includes 2.8 million km of roads throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, with a special focus on new road construction outlined in the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), an African Union facilitated initiative to enhance trans-boundary connectivity through the continent. The main conclusions of the report are:adequate road maintenance is the most critical and most efficient way of reducing the impact of a changing climate on the road system. In the absence of an adequate maintenance regime, the damage caused by climactic events is exacerbated. The uncertainty related to climate change further reinforces this dynamic. Thus, maintenance of pavements and sealing activities; regular maintenance of bridges, culverts and drainage structures to ensure they are functional and not obstructed; maintenance and improvement of slope protection works; and systematic assessments to identify and incrementally address vulnerable and critical road sections are the first defense to climate riskssimply ignoring climate change is not an option. The report shows that climate change is likely to lead to a shortening of roads rehabilitation life-cycle, which, in addition to maintenance, usually entails resurfacing every 20 years. The shortened life-cycle is likely to lead to steep increases in maintenance and periodic rehabilitation costsproactive adaptation in response to temperature increase is a no regret option. Modifying the design in response to an anticipated higher temperature is a low or no-regret option for paved roads in virtually all countries and the vast majority of climate scenarios, including both the PIDA transboundary corridors and the planned expansion/upgrade of the national networks. The reason is that the savings accrued over the road life cycle more than offset the higher construction costs, even if the measures are adopted now, before significant temperature increases are experiencedthe case for proactive adaptation in response to precipitation is not as clear cut, and needs to be assessed case by case. Because of the fundamental uncertainty regarding future climate, it is not possible to be as definiteon how to proactively design for precipitation. Rainfall varies all over the continent, but in several countries (e.g. Angola, Nigeria, Botswana, Togo, South Sudan, Mozambique, Benin, and Cameroon), it is clear that even moderate changes in the climate will induce significant precipitation-related disruption. In these countries, it would be appropriate to start proactively adapting the road system. In other countries, more detailed analysis is needed to identify where, when and how to invest in resilience most appropriately. Some roads in some areas may well already benefit also from pro-active adaptationbetter information on the benefits of avoiding climate-related disruption can inform decisions on proactive adaptation. This report develops a methodology to evaluate the merits of proactive adaptation in the context of an uncertain future climate[...]

Youth-led accountability for the SDGs

11 Nov 2016 02:05:08 GMT

The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have set out an ambitious agenda for global development for the next fifteen years, leading up to 2030. Empowering young people to hold governments and duty-bearers accountable is one of the most important means of implementation for an agenda that “leaves no one behind”.

More than half the world is currently under the age of 30 but decision-making processes largely remain in the hands of older generations. Young people, particularly young women, are not adequately represented in formal political processes or institutions - including parliaments, political parties, elections, and public administrations. Young people are also among the hardest hit by the effects of poverty, climate change and inequality.

Despite these barriers to participation in formal or conventional spaces, young people are frequently at the forefront of change and development, such as mass citizen and digital activism. Where traditional structures are failing to include them, young people are finding new ways to engage. Youth have driven many of the high impact social movements of recent years (e.g. on climate change and inequality) characterised by self-organising and the innovative use of new technologies. Youth-led action can help governments fill gaps in implementation, follow-up and monitoring, as well as programmes and policy.

Key principles to enable youth-led accountability: inclusion, responsiveness, collaboration, transparency:

  • inclusion: actively engaging the most marginalised young people to promote social and political inclusion and ensuring effective opportunities and resources (information, capacities) to participate in the accountability processes
  • responsiveness: government officials listening, responding to and acting upon the inputs of young people
  • collaboration: governments and stakeholders working actively with young people through mechanisms and structures that encourage interaction and discourse
  • transparency: young people having access to government data relevant to their policy focus areas. Political processes are widely publicised and communicated

Whose waters? Large-scale agricultural development and water grabbing in the Wami-Ruvu River Basin, Tanzania

08 Nov 2016 07:41:18 GMT

In Tanzania like in other parts of the global South, in the name of 'development' and 'poverty eradication' vast tracts of land have been earmarked by the government to be developed by investors for different commercial agricultural projects, giving rise to the contested land grab phenomenon. In parallel, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM ) has been promoted in the country and globally as the governance framework that seeks to manage water resources in an efficient, equitable and sustainable manner. This article asks how IWRM manages the competing interests as well as the diverse priorities of both large and small water users in the midst of foreign direct investment. By focusing on two commercial sugar companies operating in the Wami-Ruvu River Basin in Tanzania and their impacts on the water and land rights of the surrounding villages, the article asks whether institutional and capacity weaknesses around IWRM implementation can be exploited by powerful actors that seek to meet their own interests, thus allowing water grabbing to take place. The paper thus highlights the power, interests and alliances of the various actors involved in the governance of water resources. By drawing on recent conceptual insights from the water grabbing literature, the empirical findings suggest that the IWRM framework indirectly and directly facilitates the phenomenon of water grabbing to take place in the Wami-Ruvu River Basin in Tanzania.

The Complex Politics of Water and Power in Zimbabwe: IWRM in the Catchment Councils of Manyame, Mazowe and Sanyati (1993-2001) - file

07 Nov 2016 06:30:05 GMT

In the mid - nineties Zimbabwe formed participatory institutions known as catchment a nd sub - catchment councils based on river basins to govern and manage its waters. These councils were initially funded by a range of donors anticipating that they could become self - funding over time through the sale of water. In this article, we explore the origins of three of the councils and the political context in which they functioned. The internal politics were shaped by the commercial farming elites who sought to control the councils with a ' defensive strategy ' to keep control over water. However, ext ernal national political processes limited the possibilities for continued elite control while simultaneously limiting water reform. Despite significant efforts to alter the waterscape, fast track land reform which began in 2000 led to the undermining of t he first phases of IWRM and water reform and to the privileging of land over water. The economic foundations for funding the new participatory institutions were lost through the withdrawal of donors, the loss of large - scale farmers able to pay for water an d the economic and political crises that characterised the period from 2000 to 2010.

Surges and ebbs: national politics and international influence in the formulation and implementation of IWRM in Zimbabwe

07 Nov 2016 06:20:18 GMT

In  the  1990s, the  Government  of  Zimbabwe  undertook  water  reforms  to  redress  racially  defined inequitable access to agricultural water. This paper analyses how a water reform process, seemingly informed by a clear political economy objective, was hijacked by efforts directed at implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). It uses the notion of policy articulation to analyse why and how IWRM 'travelled' to and in Zimbabwe  and  with  what  outcomes. The  paper  shows  that  attempts  at  introducing  and  implementing  IWRM  in Zimbabwe  have  had  a  chequered  history. The  efforts  of  Zimbabwe  in  pioneering  implementation  of  IWRM  in southern  Africa,  have  subsequently  waned,  and  prospects  for  resurrecting  IWRM  in  its  original  form  are  low. Introduced in the 1990s when Western donors jumped on the bandwagon of the liberal economic agenda inspired by the IMF/World Bank, it declined between 2000 and 2009 due to a combination of poor economic performance, national-level politics and international isolation. In 2011 IWRM was reintroduced as the country re-engaged with the international community. The re-emergence of IWRM, however, seems to be largely rhetorical as the focus is now  on  fixing  a  crisis-ridden  water  sector,  with  a  new  political  dispensation  adding  another  layer  of  complexity. The  paper  concludes  that  the  development  of  IWRM  in  Zimbabwe  mirrors  broader  national-level  socio-political processes and their complex relationship with the international community.

Emergence, interpretations and translations of IWRM in South Africa

04 Nov 2016 07:29:43 GMT

South  Africa is  often  regarded  to  be  at  the  forefront  of  water  reform,  based  on  Integrated  Water Resources Management (IWRM) ideas. This paper explores how the idea of IWRM emerged in South Africa, its key debates and interpretations and how it has been translated. It maps out the history, main events, key people, and implementation  efforts  through  a  combination  of  reviews  of  available  documents  and  in-depth  semi-structured interviews  with  key  actors.  While  South  Africa  sought  to  draw  on  experiences  from  abroad  when  drawing  up  its new  legislation  towards  the  end  of  the  1990s,  the  seeds  of  IWRM  were  already  present  since  the  1970s.  What emerges is a picture of multiple efforts to get IWRM to 'work' in the South African context, but these efforts failed to  take  sufficient account  of  the  South  African  history  of  deep  structural  inequalities,  the  legacy  of  the  hydraulic mission, and the slowness of water reallocation to redress past injustices. The emphasis on institutional structures being  aligned  with  hydrological  boundaries  has  formed  a  major  part  of  how  IWRM  has  been  interpreted  and conceptualised,  and  it  has  turned  out  to  become  a  protracted  power  struggle  reflecting  the  tensions  between centralised and decentralised management.

Introduction to the special Issue: Flows and practices: the politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Southern Africa

03 Nov 2016 03:20:45 GMT

For the past two decades, IWRM has been actively promoted by water experts as well as multilateral and bilateral donors  who have considered it to be a crucial way to address global  water management problems. IWRM  has  been  incorporated  into  water  laws,  reforms  and  policies  of  southern  African  nations.  This  article introduces the special issue 'Flows and Practices: The Politics of IWRM in southern Africa'. It provides a conceptual framework  to  study:  the  flow  of  IWRM  as  an  idea;  its  translation  and  articulation  into  new  policies,  institutions andallocation  mechanisms,  and  the  resulting  practices  and  effects  across  multiple  scales – global,  regional, national and local. The empirical findings of the complexities of articulation and implementation of IWRM in South Africa,  Zimbabwe,  Mozambique,  Tanzania  and  Uganda  form  the  core  of  this  special  issue.  We  demonstrate  how Africa  has  been  a  laboratory  for  IWRM  experiments,  while  donors  as  well  as  a  new  cadre  of  water  professionals and  students  have  made  IWRM  their  mission.  The  case  studies  reveal  that  IWRM  may  have  resulted  in  an unwarranted policy focus on managing water instead of enlarging poor women’s and men’s access to water. The newly  created  institutional  arrangements tended  to centralise  the  power  and  control  of  the  State  and  powerful users over water and failed to address historically rooted inequalities.

Petro-governance in Tanzania: opportunities and challenges

02 Nov 2016 02:01:53 GMT

Recent significant natural gas discoveries have pushed Tanzania into the international spotlight as a new petroleum producer. How can the country ensure that its newfound wealth is translated into economic development? Much depend on the way in which the petroleum resources are governed by the country’s new petroleum legislative framework. In this brief, we review the most important provisions of the new legislative framework, and argue that gaps and conflicts within and across laws must be resolved to ensure that Tanzania’s petroleum riches become a blessing rather than a curse.

On becoming a responsible great power: contextualising China’s foray into human rights and peace & security in Africa

06 Oct 2016 01:18:39 GMT

The deepening of China’s engagement with Africa has also prompted the broadening of its interests on the continent. This has resulted in China’s expansion into increasingly riskier territories, which means there is a greater urgency to protect its interests from the political vagaries endemic to conflict-affected African states. This evolution marks a shift away from traditional perceptions of Chinese engagement in Africa as being limited to its economic interests, towards one where China becomes a politically interested and invested actor. This trend is paralleled by a macro-level reorientation of China’s foreign policy goals, where it envisions itself playing a stronger norm-setting role in the global arena.

This policy insights paper explores the values and imperatives that motivate China’s engagement in peace and security, human rights and human security in Africa.

China’s foray into political matters is a consequence of the growing need for it to respond to attacks on its citizens and investments on the ground, but can also be traced to grander foreign policy underpinnings associated with its desire to position itself as a norms entrepreneur in the global arena. What emerges from the interplaybetween these two factors is a dynamic foreign policy that is responsive to the political contexts of African states while guarding the sanctity of state sovereignty.

To be a successful player in promoting peace, security and human rights in Africa, China has found it necessary to develop an approach that mitigates the challenges of operating in volatile environments by increasing its engagements in multilateral organisations. In doing this, China positions itself as an important alternative to established global norms, projecting its aspirations of becoming a more responsible great power in world affairs.



Brexit: implications for climate change commitments

04 Oct 2016 11:31:54 GMT

When the UK voted to leave the EU, climate change was far from the minds of both the electorate and politicians. Climate change had scarcely featured in the referendum campaign. Yet, the UK’s decision to exit has consequences for climate change policy in the UK and EU, as for almost every other area of policy.
There is still considerable uncertainty about how the UK’s exit from the EU will affect climate change policy
and its implementation. However, it is worth reflecting on what the implications might be. It may be two or more years before the details of the UK’s new relationship with the EU are fully known but during this time, the global climate change agreement will continue to evolve in a number of areas. Parties to the UNFCCC are expected to confirm their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), examine the options for making them more ambitious, and begin to consider longer-term commitments of climate finance. The EU is due to reform its emission trading system (ETS), revise policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and set 2030 targets for emissions outside the ETS. The urgency of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure the average global temperature rise is well below 2°C, will become even greater.

Key messages:

  • departure from the EU is unlikely to affect the UK or the EU’s international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These are enshrined in law in the case of the UK, and in Council Conclusions for the EU. In addition, the UK’s departure will not affect existing commitments to support developing countries to address climate change
  • the UK will need to decide whether to implement the Paris Agreement jointly with the EU or as an individual party. The terms of the UK’s exit from the EU may determine this decision
  • if the UK acts as an individual party after departure from the EU, it will need to submit its own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the UNFCCC. The EU’s NDC will need to be revised, which may affect the individual contributions of the remaining EU member states
  • how the UK sets its carbon pricing, whether within or outside of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) will be integral to the UK’s energy policy in achieving ambitious emission reductions
  • prolonged delay by the EU and the UK in revising international climate change commitments may weaken their influence and leadership in multilateral climate change negotiations.

War and peace in the Great Lakes Region

04 Oct 2016 05:18:11 GMT

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a two-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 19 to 20 March 2016, on the theme “War and Peace in the Great Lakes Region”. The meeting brought together about 30 prominent African and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society activists to assess the major obstacles to peace and security in the Great Lakes, and considered seven broad themes: Security and Governance in the Great Lakes Region; the cases of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Burundi; Rwanda; and Uganda; as well as the role of the United Nations; and that of the European Union, in the Great Lakes. The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the policy research seminar:since post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts in the Great Lakes have become stalled due to the unresolved issues in the region’s political economy, it is imperative that governments urgently address the major issue of youth unemployment – more than 30 percent of the region’s population are aged between 10 and 24the international community must adopt a less selective approach to responding to the governance deficiencies of the countries in the region, acting swiftly to criticise the government in Burundi but being reluctant to condemn governments in Uganda and Rwanda due to strategic interests in both countriesaddressing sexual violence in the DRC must become a key priority. Making progress in security sector reform which has been largely uncoordinated by external actors amid a lack of political will on the part of the government of Joseph Kabila, would also be critical to efforts to tackling gender-based violenceBurundi needs effective leadership and a government that is accountable to its own people. A mass movement must therefore be fostered to promote an inclusive negotiation process. Beyond Burundi, mass advocacy movements should also be built among the 127 million citizens of the Great Lakescarefully targeted international sanctions against the Rwandan government for its actions in the DRC have had some effect in changing its behaviour. Such sanctions should also be applied to Rwanda’s domestic human rights situationthere is an urgent need for governments in the Great Lakes region to recommit to peace accords and tackling regional insecurity related to issues of identity and citizenshipthere is also an urgent need for political parties and conflict actors in the Great Lakes to revisit peace accords that were signed more than a decade and a half ago with a view to adapting as well as implementing principles of constitutionalism and multi-party democracy which were enshrined in these accordsthough some have suggested that UN peacekeepers should withdraw from the DRC to create room for endogenous solutions to the country’s long-running conflict, other voices have cautioned against a premature withdrawal of the UN, citing the example of Burundi in 2006 where such a withdrawal removed the international community’s capacity for tackling instabilityit is time to rethink the role of the UN[...]

South Africa in Africa: the dilemmas of foreign policy and human rights

30 Sep 2016 02:30:02 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) hosted two public dialogues in Cape Town, one on 11 April 2016 on “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?”, and another on 30 June 2016 on “South Africa in Southern Africa: ‘Good Governance’ Versus Regional Solidarity?” Both events were held at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town.

The main focus of the public dialogue “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?” was to discuss South Africa’s obligations to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) generally, and its specific obligations towards arresting Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the ICC. Following the adoption by the United Nations (UN) Security Council of resolution 1593 in March 2005, several investigations resulted in two warrants being issued by the ICC for the arrest of al-Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes, and, in July 2010, relating to charges of genocide, both committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The following four key recommendations emerged from the two public dialogues:

  • African and other governments need to work closely with the UN and the ICC to sequence the administration of justice in cases such as Sudan in ways that do not undermine the pursuit and consolidation of peace
  • the South African government should not lose sight of its domestic human rights challenges, particularly in relation to violence, crime, and xenophobia; and Tshwane should give these problems as much priority as its outward-looking foreign policy
  • South Africa, through SADC, should put in place a five-year implementation plan for greater regional industrialisation projects that build strong partnerships to promote socio-economic development and reduce human rights abuses
  • Southern African governments must honour their commitments enshrined in SADC, the AU, the UN, and other international legal documents to promote human rights more effectively across the sub-region

Peri-urban water security: an agenda for water governance

27 Sep 2016 12:52:00 GMT

Water governance needs to mainstream peri­-urban water security.  As cities grow, policy makers and planners focus onmeeting the needs of  urban populations. This happens at the expense of the peri-urban and the rural. For instance, it is very common to divert physical flows of water from villages to cities. Another common practice is the acquiring of rural land and water resources to meet the requirements of urban expansion.

This poliy brief recommends an in-depth understanding of the inter-relationship between rural and urban water flows and their integration in planning and management.

Accessibility, transportation cost and regional growth: a case study for Egypt

27 Sep 2016 01:52:17 GMT

The potential ability of transport infrastructure investments to produce transport benefits depends on the travel time reductions and accessibility. In this paper, the authors use an interregional computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to estimate the economic impacts of transportation cost change due specifically to changes in accessibility induced by new transportation projects. The model is integrated with a stylized geo-coded transportation network model to help quantify the spatial effects of transportation cost change. The analysis is focus on a proposed development corridor in Egypt. A main component of the project is a desert-based expansion of the current highway network.

The paper focuses on the likely structural economic impacts that such a large investment in transportation could enable through a series of simulations. It is clear that an integrated spatial CGE model can be useful in estimating the potential economic impacts of transportation projects in Egypt. In this vein, this or similar models should support government decisions on such projects.

At the extremes: corruption in natural resource management revisited

26 Sep 2016 03:18:06 GMT

Natural resource sectors are undergoing profound changes. Resources are being extracted in more remote locations within corruption-prone developing countries than was previously the case; there is an increased proliferation of actors involved in resource extraction; and a marked shift towards renewable energy, conservation and climate change projects in developing countries. Formulating generic anti-corruption policy prescriptions for the wide range of heavily contextualised corruption challenges natural resource sectors face is unlikely to help. This U4 Brief offers instead modest advice for advancing solutions through development cooperation, with a focus on analytical methods, project management approaches, and tracking evidence for effectiveness.

Human rights implications of climate change mitigation actions

23 Sep 2016 11:59:24 GMT

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have recognized that they should fully respect human rights in all climate-related actions, and, at the time they negotiated the 1992 UNFCCC in Rio de Janeiro, principles of public participation and sustainable development were at the forefront of their minds, as embodied in the Rio Declaration of the same conference. Since then, the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), the UN Human Rights Council, and other bodies have helped to further develop and clarify the legal obligations related to climate change.Yet, as this policy brief demonstrates by discussing the applicable law and UNFCCC-related case studies, the realization of these obligations has not fully materialized through implementation of the UNFCCC.This policy brief highlights the opportunity to learn from these positive and negative outcomes of UNFCCC-related projects and actions, and to ensure the Paris outcome is robust, consistent with human rights obligations, and a reflection of the mindset of the UNFCCC drafters’ commitment to sustainable development and public participation.To this end, this policy brief offers the following recommendations:Include this language in Article 2 of the Paris agreement:All Parties shall, in all climate change-related actions, respect, protect, promote, and fulfill human rights for all, including the rights of indigenous peoples; ensuring gender equality and the full and equal participation of women; ensuring intergenerational equity; ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs; ensuring food security; and ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystemsEstablish best-practice guidelines with clear, detailed guidance on local stakeholder consultation, including:who must be consulted (at minimum, affected people)how (through means of communication, including language and media, appropriate to the people being contacted); andwhen (early and throughout the project cycle, to ensure a communication channel if the project causes harm after approval or registration)Adopt clear, detailed guidance for sustainable development assessment and monitoring based on sustainable development indicators, including on:minimum standards for sustainable development, reflecting international law obligations including the do-no-harm principle and requiring assessment throughout the project cycle and with indicators made publicly availablepublic participationgender equality; andsafeguards against negative social and environmental impactsestablish international-level communication channels and grievance mechanisms for people and communities regarding social and environmental impacts of climate change mitigation projects or actions; andadopt guidance, including minimum standards, for establishing grievance and complaint procedures at the national level, with reporting and transparency requirements[...]

India's Panda the rise and fall of Sabyasachi Panda in India's Maoist movement

23 Sep 2016 10:42:57 GMT

Sabyasachi Panda is an ordinary man with a curious claim to fame. A mathematics graduate from a middling college in rural India, Panda, with his custom short haircut (combed to the side), generic reading glasses, and stock-standard moustache (almost universal amongst Indian men), speaks softly and almost entirely in well-worn clichés. Unimposing (both in personality and physicality), neither impressive nor unimpressive, intellectually unremarkable and entirely non-descript in appearance, by all logic, Panda really ought to have lived out his days quietly and unnoticed in the shadows – just another face in India.

The fact that he has not stands as an affront to any ideal of a merit based society. Panda's prominence, it seems, is an accident of history; something that should ordinarily provoke protests – he just does not seem like someone who deserves media attention. Yet it is safe to say that no one in India today envies Panda as he sits in solitary confinement facing an almost certain life sentence. His mug-shot remains the last and only indication that there might be something more to his character: the man now considered a martyr for his cause – "India's Che Guevara" (Pandita 2012) – is spitefully pouting as he stares down the camera in a final act of defiance.

Not ready, still waiting: Governments have a long way to go in preparing to address gender inequality and the SDGs

22 Sep 2016 04:37:01 GMT

Governments urgently need to improve their policy readiness if they want to have any chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on inequalities. Governments in developing countries do not yet have the laws and policies in place to allow them to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 10 on reduced inequality within and among countries.

In ActionAid’s study, only three of ten developing countries had over 65% of key inequality-reducing policies in place.2 To make things worse, rich countries are not adequately supporting developing countries to achieve the SDGs, contrary to SDG 17’s aim to 2revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development". Indeed, some rich countries’ domestic and development policies deepen inequalities globally. Ultimately, governments' failure to address women’s inequalities may jeopardise achievement of all SDGs.

In this report, ActionAid looks at where governments are policy ready and where they are not, identifying where key policies, laws and supportive environments will allow governments to take the first step towards greater economic and gender equality.

To improve their policy readiness to achieve the SDGs, civil society and national governments should:

  • from those who currently hold power and influence, including multilateral institutions, rich-country governments, elite groups, and multinational corporations, and towards developing country governments and their people
  • develop and hold governments accountable to redistributive national plans with policies that support the accomplishment of the SDGs. Such policies would aim to: recognise, redistribute and reduce women’s unpaid care work; improve opportunities for decent work and wages for women and young people; stop violence against women and girls; improve women’s mobility, and their capacity to organise and participate in decision- making at all levels; improve women’s access to education and health, and their access to and control over natural and economic resources

  • put in place appropriate systems, governance, financial support, and monitoring and evaluation programmes so policies can be designed with a genuine “feminist lens” insisting that women’s development potential be at the centre of analysis and decisions. Those systems should be implemented with sufficient information, infrastructure and budget, and rigorously monitored by women and girls who are given the power to hold decision-makers accountable

Election quality, public trust are central issues for Africa’s upcoming contests

20 Sep 2016 03:47:12 GMT

Nothing kindles democracy’s energies, anxieties, hopes, and frustrations like an election. The quality of an election can spell the difference between a cooking fire and an explosion. If a successful election can calm and focus a nation (e.g. Namibia 2015), a disputed election can tear it apart (e.g. Burundi 2015, Côte d'Ivoire 2010, Kenya 2008).

With at least 25 African countries conducting national elections in 2016-2017,1 great attention is focused on electoral management bodies – typically national electoral commissions – as crucial players in electoral processes and in shaping public perceptions of how well democracy is working. Poor electoral management can enable election fraud and, even if it doesn’t swing an election, produce political alienation, public mistrust, protest, and violence. In 2016, we have already seen examples of unrest in Kenya, where opposition calls for electoral commission reforms using the hashtag #IEBCMustFall have sparked demonstrations and a violent reaction from security forces; in the Republic of the Congo, where election malpractices led to violent protests; and in Gabon, where bloody clashes erupted after President Ali Bongo claimed a widely disputed re-election victory. In Ghana, pre-election anxieties are high amid questions about the electoral commission’s revision of the voter roll for December’s election.

Against the backdrop of history’s examples – in Africa and elsewhere – of tampering with voter rolls, suppression of competition and voter turnout, ballot stuffing, vote-buying, multiple voting, and manipulation of results, free and fair elections, agreed to in the African Union’s Charter on Good Governance and Elections, depend on competent election management supported by citizen sensitization efforts to build public confidence.

Using 2014/2015 Afrobarometer data from 36 African countries, this analysis examines public perceptions of electoral management institutions and the quality of elections. Overall, public trust in national electoral commissions is moderate at best. Although a majority of citizens say their most recent elections were mostly free and fair, citizens express serious concerns about the fairness of vote counts, corruption during elections, and the safety of voters during campaigns and at the polls. Citizens’ views of electoral commission performance and election quality generally mirror the opinions of country experts found in international assessments.

More broadly, many citizens say elections are not working well as mechanisms to ensure that people’s views are represented and that voters can hold non-performing leaders accountable. Few countries have achieved improvement in the perceived performance of elections over the past decade.

Towards mutual learning with the rising powers

09 Sep 2016 12:39:25 GMT

Rising powers such as Brazil, India and China have achieved major advances in supporting economic and social development in their less-developed regions and in creating health and social protection systems in response to the rapid changes they are undergoing. However, there are gaps in the evidence on this, and understanding these experiences better could ensure that the right lessons from these advances are incorporated into international processes of mutual learning.Mutual learning is emerging as a new way of talking about the 'how' of development cooperation, particularly in contexts of rapid change, with countries increasingly recognising that they have much to learn from each other's experience. Achieving the promise of universal development within the ambitious and complex framework of the Global Goals agreed in 2015 will require much more systematic and strategic efforts to learn from and share the development policy innovations of rising powers such as China and Brazil. This should include exploring opportunities for other countries to engage with the rising powers' experiences through more structured processes of mutual learning.What can be done to accelerate mutual learning informed by the important development experiences of rising power countries?policy and research communities in the rising powers would benefit from reviewing what has worked well and why, identifying lessons learned using a more systematic approach focusing on the role of political economy and adaptation processes, in addition to technical design. This will contribute to the ongoing management of change in their own countries, as well as to global learning about managing social policy and health system changegreater recognition is needed of the value of opportunities for policy actors in the rising powers to exchange  experiences and research findings between countries, explore solutions to common problems and contribute to global understandings about options for social policy and health system development in contexts of rapid changepolicy actors in low and middle-income countries would also benefit from opportunities to learn more about the rising powers and test the local applicability of lessons from their experiences, as already takes place in the context of South-South Development Cooperationglobal actors involved in promoting mutual learning need to respect the diversity in experiences of development that may be relevant in different contexts, avoiding the imposition of hierarchies of knowledge and ensuring appropriate methodologies are used to build inter-cultural communicationpolicy actors and analysts from countries like the UK and other developed countries (i.e. members of the OECD) who are familiar with international development experiences can also contribute to more effective sharing of experiences from both their own [...]

South Africa, the ICC, and theUN Human Rights Council

08 Sep 2016 11:27:27 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) hosted two public dialogues in Cape Town on 24 February 2016 on €œSouth Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC)€, and on 31 March 2016 on €œSouth Africa and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council€.In 1993, less than a year before the end of apartheid, Nelson Mandela -€“ South Africa'€™s first democratically elected president -€“ identified the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy as core principles to guide the country's foreign policy. However, two decades on, South Africa’s efforts to forge a human rights-based foreign policy have been confronted by the realities of regional and global politics, with critics decrying the perceived forfeiture of its role as a 'human rights entrepreneur'.  Tshwane (Pretoria) has, however, emphasised the need for a balance between normative ideals and pragmatic concerns, pointing to the decisive influence that national interests play in international politics and arguing that South Africa should not be judged by a higher standard than other countries.The following seven key policy recommendations emerged from the two public dialogues:civil society must maintain sustained pressure on South Africa not to withdraw from the ICCAfrican states should use their majority at the ICC constructively to place their concerns before the Assembly of Parties, and propose amendments to the 1998 Rome StatuteSouth Africa and other African governments must continue pushing for the reform of the UN Security Council, particularly as it relates to referrals to the ICCall African countries should cede jurisdiction on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in order to establish a viable regional court as an alternative to the ICC, which should be a court of last resortthe granting of immunity to sitting African heads of state must be carefully weighed against a fair justice system that holds leaders to account and avoids impunitythe South African government should not place its political and economic interests on the continent ahead of the rights of victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Justice for victims must remain the prioritySouth African government departments responsible for the implementation of the provisions of international human rights law instruments - including the departments of justice and constitutional development, social development, home affairs, and health - must be fully capacitated, both in terms of budget and human resources, to submit reports to the UN Human Rights Council timeously, and to implement the programmes emanating from this domestication[...]

Forest and Farm Producer Organizations - operating systems for the SDGs

06 Sep 2016 02:52:28 GMT

Responding to the new global development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this publication argues that forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) are effective operating systems to deliver the SDGs. In fact it may be difficult to reach the most marginalised and excluded people at scale without them. Agriculture and forestry have links to all 17 of the SDGs, and smallholder producers control a significant proportion of the worlds' farm and forest resources, so FFPOs are a vital part of the sustainability equation. As the first Strength in Numbers 1 explained, individual producers can overcome isolation by forming self-governing groups; their concerted action has benefits across the globe. Examples are arranged under five themes.  The the first four cover key aspects of FFPO activities; the fifth looks at partnerships.

The authors of this report suggest that the potential of FFPOs to provide direct benefits related to the SDGs should be supported by enhancing the enabling environment which facilitates their effective functioning. This starts by ensuring that smallholders have security of tenure and access to productive forests, farms, pasture, fisheries and other resources. Conscious efforts will be required to safeguard the rights of smallholders to form FFPOs at multiple levels, and to give legal recognition to FFPOs to provide services and represent their members. FFPOs must be provided seats at decision-making tables so that FFPOs are involved from the design stage through implementation and monitoring of efforts to achieve the SDGs. Finally, the barriers which restrict FFPO members’ access to markets and engagement within value chains must be removed. These actions will optimize FFPOs’ ability to become active and recognized actors in the private sector.

Climate change and malaria

31 Aug 2016 10:05:38 GMT

Weather and climate are major determinants of the geographical distribution, seasonality, year-to-year variability and longer term trends of malaria. Periods of long-term drought can reduce transmission. Periods of unusually high rainfall, altered humidity or warmer temperatures can result in modified distribution and duration of malaria, as well as icreased transmission, even in areas where control is strong. Natural climate variability – including the El Niño phenomena and other long-term meteorological cycles – are important not only in explaining trends in disease burden but also periodic upsurges in cases, including atypical epidemics.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that anticipated changes in temperature and rainfall will affect the natural habitats of mosquitoes, changing the prevalence of the vector or prolonging transmission seasons (or both) in some areas, and potentially exposing new regions and populations to malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
This fact sheet was written to accompany the Briefing Paper Lessons learned from responding to malaria globally: A prototype for sustainable development.

Environmental costs of China’s new law on foreign NGOs

31 Aug 2016 02:32:31 GMT

In 2015, China's People's Congress revised and ratified a controversial foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) management law that is set to take effect in 2017. According to reports, the new law will directly affect approximately 7,000 foreign NGOs operating within the country'€™s borders as well as local NGOs who receive financial support from overseas donors. These groups include foundations, social groups, NGOs and think tanks. Strict government control toward these groups will likely manifest from the law. Whilst the Chinese government may have their own reasoning for the new regulations (concerns about foreign NGOs harming national security), at a time when environmental problems are only increasing in the country and around the world (often with Chinese involvement), this law can only do more harm than good. Globally and in China, often it is international environmental NGOs that do most of the work in trying to address vast environmental challenges.

According to experts, the actual consequences of this new law remain unknown since it will not be implemented until 2017. Yet, it will  undoubtedly strengthen the Chinese government’s control over foreign NGOs and their room to manoeuvre. Many foreign NGOs are now considering limiting their operations or
closing down their China branches altogether. This may have major consequences for the many domestic NGOs that depend on overseas support for the running of their organisations. Additionally, environmental NGOs increasingly need technical expertise to address the vast environmental damage in China today, which often comes from the international NGO sector. Thus, while the government’s policy aims to limit the movement and operations of foreign NGOs, the impact may be felt further. China needs all the support it can get in addressing its ever-increasing environmental challenges but the implementation of this new law will undoubtedly limit their ability to do so.