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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 in the DRC in the areas of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Its bureaucracy has become dysfunctional which has negatively affected the efficiency of UN peacekeeping missions. The UN Security Council must therefore do more to align mandates, roles, and resources closer to the realities onthe groundthe EU and other international actors need to undertake more outreach to Tanzania, South Africa, the EAC and other regional actors in their peacebuilding efforts in the Great Lakes[...]

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, polic.y makers andplanners 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 ecosystems

Establish 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); and
  • when (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 available
  • public participation
  • gender equality; and
  • safeguards against negative social and environmental impacts
  • establish international-level communication channels and grievance mechanisms for people and communities regarding social and environmental impacts of climate change mitigation projects or actions; and
  • adopt 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 change
  • greater 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 change
  • policy 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 Cooperation
  • global 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 communication
  • policy 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 domestic learning as well as that of the rising powers, drawing on the lessons from several decades of attempts to support policy transfer for the development of health and social sectors


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 ICC
  • African 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 Statute
  • South Africa and other African governments must continue pushing for the reform of the UN Security Council, particularly as it relates to referrals to the ICC
  • all 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 resort
  • the 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 impunity
  • the 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 priority
  • South 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.

A Funder’s Toolkit: Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

19 Aug 2016 12:48:56 GMT

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration or UNDRIP) is the most comprehensive international instrument regarding the collective and individual human rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The purpose of this toolkit is to support and to strengthen the work of funders in the implementation of the Declaration. The Toolkit seeks to elaborate ways funders can engage respectfully and positively withIndigenous Peoples within the context of the Declaration. It is designed to provide funders with guidance on how to include the implementation of the Declaration in the grantmaking strategies` and other programmatic activities of their organisation.

Libraries and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda

19 Aug 2016 01:02:34 GMT

Libraries make an important contribution to development. The purpose of this toolkit is to support advocacy for the inclusion of libraries and access to information as part of national and regional development plans that will contribute to meeting Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (“UN 2030 Agenda”).

Libraries must now show that they can drive progress across the entire UN 2030 Agenda. While the SDGs are universal goals, each country will be responsible for developing and implementing national strategies to achieve them, and will be expected to track and report its own progress toward each target. As these plans are developed, the library community in each country will have a clear opportunity to communicate to their government leaders how libraries serve as cost-effective partners for advancing their development priorities. Advocacy is essential now to secure recognition for the role of libraries as engines of local development, and to ensure that libraries receive the resources needed to continue this work.

This toolkit is primarily for librarians involved in national advocacy. It will also be of interest to librarians advocating at the local level, and organising activities to increase awareness of the UN 2030 Agenda in their own library.

This toolkit will help you to:

  • understand the UN 2030 Agenda process, and IFLA’s advocacy
  • understand how the UN 2030 Agenda will be implemented at the national level
  • organise meetings with policymakers to demonstrate the contribution libraries and access to information make to national development, and across the SDGs
  • monitor the UN 2030 Agenda and implementation of the SDGs
  • tell library users about the SDGs

Climate security and justice for Small Island Developing States: an agenda for action

18 Aug 2016 12:52:54 GMT

Small island developing states (SIDS) are a unique group of countries that bear a disproportionate share of the impacts of climate change despite their minimal contribution to its causes. Their vulnerability and lack of resources to adapt raise signifi cant questions for global security and justice in the decades ahead.

This policy brief reviews both the challenges that SIDS face because of climate change in terms of adaptation and development, internal displacement and migration, sovereignty and exclusive economic zones, as well as the means they use to advance their cause, such as legal claims to compensation and multilateral diplomacy.

The policy brief proposes an agenda for action that identifies political, legal, economic, and other possible ways of addressing the predicament of the SIDS. The authors encourage policymakers to consider the proposals presented here at fora such as the upcoming Third International SIDS Conference, UNFCCC negotiations, other climate summits and discussions on a post-2015 sustainable development framework, with a view to taking concrete decisions for action.

Witness protection: facilitating justice for complex crimes

18 Aug 2016 03:43:52 GMT

Responding appropriately to complex transnational and international crimes requires a multifaceted approach that includes a robust criminal justice response. Witness testimony is a crucial part of this. Witnesses, and often their family members, can face significant danger given their crucial role in obtaining a conviction. Africa has seen situations where witness intimidation and harm have led to case dismissals and acquittals. Ultimately, justice fails in these circumstances. Obstacles such as insufficient funding, shortage of skills and weak political will must be addressed.


  • Governments should promote greater understanding of the pivotal role of witness protection services among policymakers and legislators in governments, where such services do not exist
  • Governments should undertake costing exercises to provide legislators with an understanding of the cost implications for envisaged new witness protection services, and to allocate adequate annual budgets
  • Governments should pass domestic witness protection legislation to create independent witness protection services that
    can address the needs of witnesses in a holistic way
  • Governments should seek technical support from experienced external organisations and other governments to design witness protection legislation and systems
    Governments should explore the range of approaches to managing the costs of witness protection, e.g. incremental implementation of services and prioritising witness protection based on the level of the potential threat

Does less engaged mean less empowered? Political participation lags among African youth, especially women

18 Aug 2016 03:34:19 GMT

The African Union (AU) Assembly declared 2009 - 2018 the "African Youth Decade" and released an action plan to promote youth empowerment and development throughout the continent, including by raising young citizens' representation and participation in political processes. The latest results from Afrobarometer surveys in 36 countries reveal a wide gap between the aspirations set forth in the AU policy framework and the reality of youth political engagement in Africa today. The data show that African governments and development partners have considerable work to do to achieve the goal of increased civic and political participation among youth, particularly young women. African youth (aged 18-35) report lower rates of political engagement than their elders across a variety of indicators, including voting in national elections. Young citizens are also less likely to engage in civic activities such as attending community meetings and joining others to raise an issue. While these findings are consistent with research on age differences in voter turnout in advanced democracies, the survey further finds that youth engagement levels have declined over time despite the introduction of regional and national youth empowerment policies. Key findings:political engagement is generally lower among African youth than among their elders, particularly in terms of voting. Two-thirds (65%) of 18- to 35–year-old respondents who were old enough to vote in the last national election say they did so, compared to 79% of citizens above age 35slightly more than half (53%) of African youth report being “very” or “somewhat” interested in public affairs, while two-thirds (67%) say they discuss politics with friends or family at least “occasionally.” Compared to their male counterparts, young women report significantly less interest (48% vs. 60%) and discussion (61% vs. 74%)attendance at campaign rallies is the most popular form of pre-electoral engagement among young Africans: One-third (33%) say they attended at least one in the previous year, compared to 37% of older citizens. The gender gap in participation in rallies averages 10 percentage points and is largest in East Africa (14 points) and West Africa (13 points)African youth are less likely than their elders to participate in civic activities: Less than half (47%) of 18- to 35–year-olds say they attended community meetings at least once during the previous year, while 40% joined others to raise an issue (vs. 57% and 47% for older citizens). Young women’s participation also lags behind that of their male peers on these measures of civic activism (by 9 percentage points, on average), particularly in West Africa and North Africa (both by 14 percentage points)not quite half (48%) of youth say they contacted political or community leaders during the previous year to discuss an important issue, with lower reported engagement levels among young women than men (43% vs. 53%)youth participation in demonstrations and protest marches is lower than in more conventional forms of civic and political engagement, but higher than among their elders: 11% of young survey respondents say they attended at least one protest in the previous year (vs. 8% older citizens). Again, women report lower participation levels than their male peers (8% vs. 13%)comparison over time in 16 countries shows that youth engagement levels have declined since 2005/2006 across most of these indicators, particularly interest in public affairs and measures of civic activi[...]

The impact of institutional blockholders on voluntary disclosure and transparency: the case of Egypt

18 Aug 2016 02:09:52 GMT

Disclosure and transparency are crucial elements in the improve ment of overall corporate governance. Disclosure is a very important mean of communicati on between management and outside investors. This study investigates how institutional blockholders impact levels of voluntary disclosure released in annual reports of some of the most active companies in the Egyptian Stock Exchange. The results generated by the study di d support a significant positive impact of institutional blockholders on voluntary disclosure an d transparency. It also found that this impact is due to two types of institutional blockholders'€™ ownership: low institutional ownership defined as those owning from five to twenty percent and controlling institutions defined as those owning more than fifty percent of a company'€™s shares. This indicates that concentrated ownership can be vi ewed as a monitoring mechanism in an emerging market like Egypt. According to the author€™s' knowledge, this study is the first to explore the impact of different categories of blockholders; categorized by the size o f their block; on levels of voluntary disclosure in Egypt.

The African Union: regional and global challenges

18 Aug 2016 01:38:08 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”.The meeting was convened with about 30 prominent African, Asian, and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society actors to reflect critically on the historical mission, achievements, challenges, and prospects of the African Union (AU) in a changing regional and global environment.The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the Cape Town policy seminar:the AU Commission should engage more strategically with African civil society, think tanks, the private sector, and the philanthropic sector in order to implement its mandate more effectively. There is an urgent need to revisit Adebayo Adedeji’s 2007 five-year review of the AU Commission in order to implement its main findings on reforming the AU’s institutions and accelerating regional integration and economic development efforts in Africa. Key parts of the 2013 Olusegun Obasanjo Report on alternative sources of funding for the AU should also be implemented to ensure a sustainable source of future financingthere is an urgent need to sanction non-performing AU staff members and to implement results-based management at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Recruitment, retention, and training of personnel should be greatly improved. There is also a need for better coordination between the AU’s Department of Political Affairs and its Peace and Security Department. The AU Commission must further strengthen its administrative and financial management capacity to be able to absorb and manage donor fundsthe AU’s continental early warning system needs greater coordination with the mechanisms of sub-regional bodies such as IGAD, ECOWAS, and SADC. Furthermore, African leaders must provide greater financial and political support to the APRM, strengthening its capacity and restoring its previous consistent fundingthere is an urgent need to create institutionalised mechanisms for regular consultation and coordination between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the organs of the RECs; this must include the increased participation of civil society and parliaments in decision-making to promote greater synergy and complementarity between the policies and initiatives of the AU and the RECs in this arearegional integration in Africa should take into account the configuration of interests in member states, and put in place mechanisms to compensate groups that may lose out from integration. There is an urgent need to cultivate a national entrepreneurial class to drive socio-economic development across Africa. The continent also needs more “Afrocrats” – young, highly competent officials with a strong commitment to Pan-Africanism, similar to many of the EU’s “Eurocrats”the AU needs to rationalise relations between the RECs and the African Economic Community in light of the multiple membership of the former. It might also be necessary to create a smaller grouping of African states in which conditions for entry involve sound economic and political performance, resulting in greater aid and investment for its membersin line with the Common African Position devised by the AU, five key principles should underpin relations between the AU and the UN: promotion of collective security in the context of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter; support for African owners[...]

Multi-level pro-poor health governance, statistical information flows and the role of regional organisations in South America and Southern Africa

15 Aug 2016 04:21:49 GMT

Health governance has become multi-layered as the combined result of decentralisation, regional integration and the emergence of new actors nationally and internationally. Whereas this has – in principle – enhanced the installed capacity for health response worldwide, this complexity also poses serious challenges for health governance and policy-making.

This paper focuses on one of these challenges, namely the organisation of statistical information flows at and between governance levels, and the emerging role that regional organisations play therein. The authors aim to understand the extent to which statistics are regionally coordinated and the role regional organisations are playing with respect to national health information systems. Specifically, they analysed regional to national-level data flows with the use of two case studies focusing on UNASUR (Bolivia and Paraguay) and SADC (Swaziland and Zambia). Special attention is given to pro-poor health policies, those health policies that contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequities.

Results demonstrate that health data is shared at various levels, to a greater extent at the global-country and regional-country levels, and to a lesser extent at the regional-global levels. There is potential for greater interaction between the global and regional levels, considering the expertise and involvement of UNASUR and SADC in health. Information flows between regional and national bodies are limited and the quality and reliability of this data is constrained by individual Member States’ information systems. Having greater access to better data would greatly support Member States’ focus on addressing the social determinants of health and reducing poverty in their countries.

The East African energy frontier, a decade on

12 Aug 2016 11:07:29 GMT

The East Africa region has seen some of the decade’ s largest natural gas and energy finds. However, despite their magnitude, these discoveries have yet to fulfil the promise of social and economic progress. With some signs of the negative impact of resource wealth already in evidence, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique all require changes to their natural resources policies to ensure that revenues are shared and invested in the future. Underpinning this is the need for governments to improve transparency, allowing local institutions to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable. Without such steps, the full potential of these finds is set to go unrealised.
The past decade’s energy finds created great promise for Eastern Africa. Yet questions remain about whether these finds will be a burden or blessing. With the downturn in global energy markets and production dates being repeatedly postponed, any potential benefits are subject to the uncertainties and political volatilities that have come to characterise the region. However, it is not too late for these countries to use their assets wisely. A real commitment to accountability and the channelling of revenues towards development objectives is needed, as well as the necessary freedoms for local institutions to monitor the sector and hold government and other stakeholders to account. Now, while prices are low, is a good opportunity for states to get their institutional houses in order. With the effective infrastructure in place, as well as co-operation between states and profits being invested in their future, these finds can in time contribute to the development of the region.

Xenophobia trivialises South Africa’s ambitious Africa policy

12 Aug 2016 10:56:53 GMT

South Africa’s grand transition and re-integration into international affairs under former president Nelson Mandela gave the country the moral resources to lead in Africa. An exceptional transition of domestic tolerance and a declared commitment to justice in the world were to serve as directive elements in South Africa’s diplomatic footprint in Africa. However, South Africa’s ability to lead – and to be emulated – on the basis of the  ‘exceptionalism’ of its domestic order is increasingly under stress.
Xenophobia, which has become a near-permanent feature of its domestic political economy, is undermining the country’s leadership role. Notionally, ubuntu as a central feature of the country’s foreign policy is ringing hollow. While more should be done to rehabilitate those sections of the population who perpetrate xenophobic violence, bolder domestic and foreign policy initiatives that speak to the scale of the problem are urgently needed. Only then can South Africa reclaim with some legitimacy lost ground as a torchbearer, as it attempts to remain the indispensable African country.
  • to demonstrate its commitmentto fighting xenophobia, South Africa should lead international efforts for tolerant societies by calling for an ambitious Durban IV Summit against Racism
  • to promote tolerance, South Africa’s cultural diplomacy in Africa should promote the country as a diverse and tolerant nation founded on justice and the
    pursuit of human rights for all its inhabitants
  • in its deliberations on the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance, South Africa should strive to externalise its experiences
    by deliberating with key African institutions, including SADC and the AU, with the objective of regionalising the plan’s policy objectives

South African and the DRC: evaluating a South–South partnership for peace, governance and development

12 Aug 2016 10:46:25 GMT

The ‘Rise of the South’* and the role of ‘emerging powers’ in global development has animated much of the political and economic discourse of the past decade. There is, however, little empirical evidence on the contribution that emerging Southern partners make to sustainable development, due to the lack of common measurement systems for South–South cooperation (SSC).

This case study utilises the analytical framework developed by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) to assess the range, extent and quality of South Africa’s peace, governance and economic support to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The study reveals that South Africa, in absolute financial terms, is a significant development partner in the DRC, and even exceeds the traditional donors when its aid is measured in proportion to gross national income.

The qualitative field research highlights that South Africa’s approach to development co-operation to a large extent reflects the core values of SSC, although with a mixed bag of successes and failures in terms of the results of co-operation activities. This pilot study of the South Africa–DRC development partnership is one of the first in which the NeST conceptual and methodological framework has been tested for the purpose of further refining tools and indicators for SSC analysis, so as to assist the future monitoring and evaluation endeavours of South Africa and other emerging development partners.

South-South cooperation: conference proceedings 2016

12 Aug 2016 10:32:08 GMT

Emerging economies such as India have their own philosophy underlying development cooperation. The norms and mechanisms of such cooperation are different from OECD norms or norms followed by international financial institutions.

There is a need for engagement and dialogue among all the stakeholders involved in development cooperation – the traditional donors, the emerging Southern providers, the development partners in developing countries and international and regional financial institutions. A broad international consensus on international development cooperation in a transformed world would be worth pursuing especially in the context of the very ambitious goals adopted under Agenda 2030 by the United Nations, involving 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets to be achieved.

It is against this background that the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) organised the Conference on South-South Cooperation in New Delhi on 10 and 11 March 2016 in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; United Nations; Network of Southern Think Tanks (NesT); and the Forum of Indian Development Cooperation (FIDC). The large number of participants, representing all the major stakeholders in SSC – policymakers, academics, civil society organisations, traditional donors, private enterprises and development practitioners – majority of them being from the global South, deliberated at length on major emerging issues facing South-South Cooperation and other forms of development cooperation.

This Report on the proceedings of the Conference, brought out by RIS will serve as a reference for deepening the South-South development cooperation, expanding North-South and Trilateral Development Cooperation, particularly in the context of the recent UN agenda of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Tanzania-China all-weather friendship from socialism to globalization: a case of relative decline

12 Aug 2016 10:00:00 GMT

How close is the Tanzanian-Chinese partnership today? Bi-lateral trade and Chinese economic activity in Tanzania today is far more significant than in the 1970s; China’s “no strings attached” policy is still attractive and political solidarities and military co-operation have remained relatively strong. However, this bi-lateral relationship does not have the importance, nor the exclusiveness it enjoyed in the heydays of socialism. Today, China must compete economically, politically and culturally with the activism and soft power of a larger group of countries, particularly the United States. Although both in Dar es Salaam and in Beijing this relationship is still presented as “special”, it has lost the structural role that it had until the late 1970s in shaping Sino-African relations. Growing Sino-American and Sino-Western competition in Africa has increased Tanzania’s option and helped it, to some extent, to better defend its own interests.

This paper examines Tanzanian-Chinese relations over the past half century and more particularly since 2005, highlighting how global political, strategic and economic shifts have affected and on the whole reduced, in relative terms, the importance of this bi-lateral relationship.

Should Tanzania establish a sovereign wealth fund?

12 Aug 2016 06:32:40 GMT

Many natural resource abundant countries have established sovereign wealth funds as part of their strategy of managing the resource wealth. This working paper by Ragnar Torvik looks into different arguments used as reasons to establish such funds, discuss how these funds are organized, and draw some policy lessons. The paper then develops a theory of how petroleum funds may affect the economic and political equilibrium of an economy, and how this depends on initial institutions. A challenge with petroleum funds is that they may produce economic and political incentives that undermines their potential benefits. In conclusion, the paper suggests that the best way to manage the petroleum wealth of Tanzania may not be to establish a sovereign wealth fund, but rather use revenues to invest domestically in sectors such as infrastructure, education and health. Such investments may produce a better economic, as well as institutional, development.

Fractured peacebuilding in the Central African Republic: lessons for African Union engagement

12 Aug 2016 04:33:44 GMT

The Central African Republic (CAR) has seen decades of fracturedpeacebuilding processes. after holding elections in 2016, the country can seize the opportunity to reach sustainable peace. This policy brief looks at the role played by the African Union in supporting CAR’s peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development processes; and identifies ways for the continental body to enhance its engagements.
Key findings:
  • the impact of the African Union (AU) can be seen most clearly in its capacity to convene stakeholders, including
    government, thereby supporting larger peacebuilding initiatives
  • the AU’s mandate to engage on a post-conflict
    reconstruction and development framework can be more clearly defined in order to maximise its impact in this area
  • there is an increased AUinterest in the central african
    Republic (caR), which could provide further opportunities for linking with other AU-led initiatives
  • there are opportunities to strengthen coordination between the AU in CAR and the AU Commission
  • the AU and other international organisations, including the united nations, can enhance coordination on how
    to best to support peacebuilding in CAR

Statistical profile of scheduled tribes in India 2013

12 Aug 2016 03:01:26 GMT

The Government of India acknowledges the importance of a good database to deal with Scheduled Tribes’ affairs.This document contains information relating to some key characteristics pertaining to Scheduled Tribe population such as, trend analysis of their demographic profile, education, health, and employment status along with their proportions having basic amenities like, drinking water, electricity, and bank account etc. It also includes data on status of ST women, provision of various health infrastructure facilities, and poverty together with social and environmental statistics.

Tribal profile at a glance 2014

12 Aug 2016 02:54:50 GMT

Statistical Profile of Scheduled Tribes. This is done through collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of data and information on various facets of tribals and their socio-economic development  from different sources - Census, NSSO, NFHS, SRS, AIES, Government Departments, Budget Documents, Government Schemes (both State and Central level),  Special Component Plan for SCs/ STs, Nodal and Line Ministries (Rural Development, Human Resource Development, Women & Child Development, etc.).


Does personal experience of bribery explain protest participation in Africa?

12 Aug 2016 01:20:23 GMT

This paper examines the effect of direct experience with bribery on collective action using survey data on reactions of citizens to a hypothetical situation of corruption as the first dependent variable and participation in protests as the second. The results show that although a relatively small number of respondents prefer protests as a means to address allegations of corruption, the relative probability of preferring this type of action rises with an increase in the frequency of paying bribes. However, participation in protests and demonstrations first rises and then falls as the frequency of bribery increases. These findings bring into sharp focus conditions under which direct personal experience with corruption is likely to encourage apathy and when it is likely to trigger political engagement – a missing detail in the nascent literature on the effect of petty corruption on collective action.

What is the association between absolute child poverty, poor governance, and natural disasters? A global comparison of some of the realities of climate change

11 Aug 2016 11:18:19 GMT

The paper explores the degree to which exposure to natural disasters and poor governance (quality of governance) is associated with absolute child poverty in sixty-seven middle- and low-income countries. The data is representative for about 2.8 billion of the world ́s population. Institutionalist tend to argue that many of society’s ills, including poverty,
derive from fragile or inefficient institutions. However, our findings show that although increasing quality of government tends to be associated with less poverty, the negative effects of natural disasters on child poverty are independent of a country ́s institutional efficiency. Increasing disaster victims (killed and affected) is associated with higher rates of child poverty. A child ́s estimated odds ratio to be in a state of absolute poverty increases by about a factor of 5.7 [95% CI: 1.7 to 18.7] when the average yearly toll of disasters in the child ́s country increases by one on a log-10 scale. Better governance correlates with less child poverty, but it does not modify the correlation between child poverty and natural disasters.

The results are based on hierarchical regression models that partition the variance into three parts: child, household, and country. The models were cross-sectional and based on observational data from the Demographic Health Survey and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, which were collected at the beginning of the twenty-first millennium. The Sustainable Development Goals are a principle declaration to halt climate change, but they lack a clear plan on how the burden of this change should be shared by the global community. Based on our results, we suggest that the development agencies should take
this into account and to articulate more equitable global policies to protect the most vulnerable, specifically children.

Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea: establishing law, generating order

08 Aug 2016 12:34:49 GMT

Maritime security has become a buzzword in recent years as criminal activities at sea threaten a wide range of geostrategic, security and economic imperatives. In few other places in the world is this problem more pointed than in the Gulf of Guinea on Africa’s western coast. While countries in the region are receptive to mechanisms promoting co-operation in tackling maritime insecurity, problems are posed by inadequate information around the nature and extent of maritime crime, as well as a dearth of legal instruments to address this activity. This presents an important challenge to evidence-based policymaking, and prevents capacity-constrained countries from using their resources in the most effective way. The impending AU summit on maritime security and safety to be convened in October 2016 in Lomé, Togo, however, provides a unique opportunity to address these obstacles.
  • policymakers at Lomé should legally define the range of maritime crimes in their waters, and subsequently require the criminalisation of these incidents through the development of appropriate national legislation
  • the reporting of all incidents should be required of shippers under the charter, so that better data may be available on the extent and nature of maritime crime. This may necessitate an undertaking from states to ease the burden implied by reporting, through swift evidence collection and modern means of involvement, such as testifying via video link
  • a more detailed template for reporting should be adopted by the IMB/IMO and reporting bodies at regional and national level. This will improve capacity for generating data that is accurate and statistically significant, in turn allowing for evidence-based policymaking

The state of governance in Africa: what indices tell us

21 Jul 2016 11:53:54 GMT

Governance is notoriously difficult to measure – yet numerous global indices attempt to do so. This paper tracks the governance progress of 52 African countries through various indices. A total of 17 of these states have undergone a holistic governance review by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Another 17 have joined the APRM, but have not yet been reviewed. The remaining 18 are not members and thus are used as independent variables to determine whether the APRM makes a difference.

Since the APRM does not provide ratings or rankings in its reports, this paper uses data from the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance to track progress (or lack thereof) between 2003 (when the APRM was established) and 2015 (the most recent set of data available at the time of writing). Supporting data from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index is used where necessary.

Arguably, by voluntarily acceding to and undergoing the review, APRM member states have demonstrated the necessary political will to reform. How have they fared since the year of inception of the APRM? The paper concludes that overall, APRM members have performed better than non-members. But whether a state has actually undergone the APRM review or merely joined the mechanism does not seem to make much of a difference. Progress has also often been mixed, and economic achievements have sometimes come at the expense of political freedoms.

The African Union: regional and global challenges

21 Jul 2016 01:39:30 GMT

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”. The meeting was convened with about 30 prominent African, Asian, and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society actors to reflect critically on the historical mission, progress, problems, and prospects of the African Union (AU) in a changing regional and global environment.Policy recommendations The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the Cape Town policy seminar:the AU Commission should engage more strategically with African civil society, think tanks, the private sector, and the philanthropic sector in order to implement its mandate more effectively. There is an urgent need to revisit Adebayo Adedeji’s 2007 five-year review of the AU Commission in order to implement its main findings on reforming the AU’s institutions and accelerating regional integration and economic development efforts in Africa. Key parts of the 2013 Olusegun Obasanjo Report on alternative sources of funding for the AU should also be implemented to ensure a sustainable source of financingthere is an urgent need to sanction non-performing AU staff members and to implement results-based management at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Recruitment, retention, and training of personnel should be greatly improved. There is also a need for better coordination between the AU’s Department of Political Affairs and its Peace and Security Department. The AU Commission must further strengthen its administrative and financial management capacity to be able to absorb and manage donor fundsthe AU’s continental early warning system needs greater coordination with the mechanisms of sub-regional bodies. Furthermore, African leaders must provide greater financial and political support to the APRM, strengthening its capacity and restoring its previous consistent fundingthere is an urgent need to create institutionalised mechanisms for effective coordination between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the organs of the RECs; this must include the increased participation of civil society and parliaments in decision-making to ensure complementarity between the AU and the RECs in this critical arearegional integration in Africa should take into account the configuration of interests in member states, and put in place mechanisms to compensate groups that may lose out from integration. There is an urgent need to cultivate a national entrepreneurial class to drive socioeconomic development across Africa. The continent also needs more “Afrocrats” – young, highly competent officials with a strong commitment to Pan-Africanism, similar to many of the EU’s “Eurocrats”the AU needs to rationalise relations between the RECs and the African Economic Community in light of the multiple membership of the former. It might also be necessary to create a smaller grouping of African states in which conditions for entry involve sound econ[...]

Networks of organized violence: conference documentation

12 Jul 2016 11:54:48 GMT

Networks are part of the current landscape of peace and security—they have likely always been, but they are perhaps more so today. Rather than consider them as a challenge only, they could also be seen as having potential for building peace and reducing organized violence, and should be examined accordingly.
On 28 October 2015, BICC hosted its annual international conference entitled “Networks of Organized Violence”. This topic was chosen because of a perceived shift from the primacy of the state to the importance of
networks in perpetrating organized violence. The aim the conference was to view networks of organized violence from different academic angles and to discuss various methodological approaches to understanding the
role of networks. The first panel illustrated the relevance of exploring local dynamics of violent conflicts, including the behaviour of groups and the networks in which they are embedded. The second panel looked at
the interconnectedness of structures, systems and people involved in the procurement and application of military technology, using a more classical understanding of networks. The final panel discussed the use of network
analysis as a tool for understanding armed actor groups. The conference concluded that while understanding networks of organized violence is critical to limiting its destructive effects, networks should also be examined for their potential to build peace and reduce organized violence.

Integrated Urban Development Framework and Implementation Plan

12 Jul 2016 03:13:45 GMT

In 2009, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed the number living in rural areas, announcing the 21st century as the urban century. The world’s attention is on the pivotal role of cities and identifying  alternative pathways for urban development that address poverty reduction and sustainable development. South Africa is firmly in this debate: by 2030, almost three-quarters (71.3%) of the country’s population will be living in urban areas.

The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is government’s policy position to guide the future growth and management of urban areas. In the economic history of humanity, urbanisation has always been an accelerator of growth and development, bringing about enormous changes in the spatial distribution of people and resources, and in the use and consumption of land. Supporting policies and frameworks are therefore needed that can leverage the urbanisation process for increased development gains and sustainability.

The IUDF’s overall outcome – spatial transformation – marks a New Deal for South African cities and towns, by steering urban growth towards a sustainable growth model of compact, connected and coordinated cities and towns. Informed by this outcome and the NDP’s vision for urban South Africa, the IUDF aims to guide the development of inclusive, resilient and liveable urban settlements, while directly addressing the unique conditions and challenges facing South Africa’s cities and towns. Importantly, this vision for South Africa’s urban areas recognises that the country has different types of cities and towns, each with different roles and requirements. As such, the vision has to be interpreted and pursued in differentiated and locally relevant ways. To achieve this transformative vision, four overall strategic goals are introduced:

  • spatial integration: To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas
  • inclusion and access: To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices
  • growth: To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development
  • governance: To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve spatial and social integration

Ageing in the Caribbean and the human rights of older persons: Twin imperatives for action

12 Jul 2016 01:15:54 GMT

Over the next twenty years, the Caribbean will see a rapid and dramatic ageing of its population. Over this period, the number of older persons will double: the number of persons aged 60 and over will increase from 1.1 million (or 13 per cent of the population) in 2015 to 2 million (or 22 per cent) in 2035.

The number of people aged 70 and over will increase from 500,000 (or 6 per cent) to 1 million (or 11 per
cent). The population will continue to age after 2035 albeit at a slowly diminishing rate. Over the next twenty years and beyond, all Caribbean countries and territories will see rapid ageing and significant increases in the proportion of older persons in their respective populations.
This study addresses the ageing of the Caribbean population and the situation with respect to the human
rights of older persons. It considers the implications for public policy of these ‘twin imperatives for action’. The first chapter describes and explains the changing age structure of the Caribbean population. Important features of the ageing dynamic, such as differential regional and national trends and the growing number of ‘older old’ persons, are also analysed.

The study then describes the progress that has been made in advancing and clarifying the human rights of older persons in international law. The core of the study then consists of an assessment of the current situation of older persons in the Caribbean and the extent to which their human rights are realised in practice. The thematic areas of economic security, health, and enabling environments – which roughly correspond to the three priority areas of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing – are each addressed in individual chapters. These chapters evaluate national policies and  programmes for older persons and make public policy recommendations
intended to protect and fulfil the human rights of older persons. The report concludes by summarising
the priorities for future action both through the establishment of new international human rights
instruments as well as national policies and programmes.

The institutionalisation of mediation support within the ECOWAS Commission

06 Jul 2016 04:57:22 GMT

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission established the Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) in June 2015 to backstop mediation efforts undertaken by its mediation organs, member states, non-state actors and joint initiatives with other international organisations, such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations (UN). In January 2016, the structure was further upgraded to a directorate within the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).

This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) examines the rationale for taking the bold step to institutionalise a mediation support structure within the ECOWAS Commission; the legal and normative instruments that underpin its mediation interventions; the mandate, vision and scope of operation of the mediation support structure; and the key activities undertaken by the structure within one year of its existence. The PPB identifies the uniqueness of ECOWAS’s experiences in interventions in the 1990s, and the subsequent importance accorded to preventive diplomacy and mediation as a key factor that informed the decision to establish a mediation support structure -  in contrast to using an ad hoc arrangement to backstop its mediation efforts in the past. This new arrangement, the PPB argues, will ensure that mistakes such as the marginalisation of ECOWAS in mediation processes in the region, the disconnect between the ECOWAS Commission and its appointed mediators, facilitators and special envoys, are remedied. It will also ensure a coordinated approach to capacity building and mediation knowledge management within the ECOWAS Commission and its institutions, as well as with its partners, including mainstreaming Tracks II and III mediation into official Track I mediation.

Parliamentary oversight of UK development cooperation: the experience of DFID

06 Jul 2016 03:56:01 GMT

The Department for International Development, the UK government body responsible for foreign assistance and international development cooperation, has garnered global respect for its work in the developing world since its inception in 1997. By focusing on its core mandate of eliminating global poverty, in 2014 it helped the UK achieve the status of the first G7 country to spend 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) on aid and development in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This briefing paper examines DFID’s legislative and operational environments, and explains the critical role played by Parliament in its monitoring and oversight of the department and its spending. The paper will consider how Parliament attempts to influence policy-making within DFID, primarily through the International Development Committee and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact. Based on the experiences of DFID, recommendations will be provided for Parliamentary monitoring and oversight of the South African Development Partnership Agency.

Rural banditry and conflicts in Northern Nigeria

06 Jul 2016 03:16:23 GMT

Ipastoralists and farmers in Nigeria have been on the rise. This social conflict has traditionally consisted of disputes over natural resources and is often presented as a conflict between settlers and nomadic people. However, what began as conflict between pastoralists and farmers over land has recently developed into rural banditry with heavy human and economic cost, ranging from the sexual assault of women and girls, attacks on villages, to catte rustling, amongst others. The bandits traversing Benue, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano are involved in crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping. There have also been reported cases of rural banditry in Delta, Enugu, Ondo, Oyo and Ebonyi states.

Examining the root causes of rural banditry and social conflict requires an understanding of its historical trajectory, social contexts, development and the dynamics of the often conflictual, but also symbiotic relationship between two production systems (agricultural and pastoral) that not only depend on land and its related resources, but are also fundamentally different in important respects. It is against this backdrop that the researchers undertook a broad interrogation of the economic and social forces that might have triggered the current realities. The 10 chapters of this book focus on wide-ranging issues, including: cattle rustling; animal husbandry; transhumance; grazing reserves; herdsmen and farmers association; media and construction of popular narratives; social impact of the phenomenon; and women's livelihoods.

The findings of the 10 reports reveal that factors which account for rural banditry and social conflicts include: ecological and climate change and consistent shift in the human and livestock population; expansion in non-agricultural use of land; weak state capacity and the provision of security; proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs); rise of criminality and insecurity in rural areas; and weakening or collapse of informal conflict resolution mechanisms.

The reports also draw attention to the international dimensions of rural banditry and social conflicts, from the perspective of the rising incidences of cross-border crimes and how it impacts on the proliferation of SALWs in Nigeria. The book incorporates recommendations to policy makers and other relevant stakeholders that, if considered and implemented, may help mitigate and manage this challenging phenomenon.

South African scenarios 2024: politics, violence and growth in the rainbow nation

06 Jul 2016 02:50:31 GMT

South Africa may experience a political turning point in the aftermath of the December 2017 National Conference of the ruling African National Congress. Building on an associated publication, Economics, governance and instability in South Africa , this paper describes three different futures for the country. The first scenario is an uninspiring and business-as-usual Bafana Bafana scenario, an alarming downward scenario called Nation Divided, where the "€˜traditionalist"€™ camp within the ruling party holds sway, and a desirable Mandela Magic scenario, where "reformists"€™ triumph and begin to address some of the country'€™s most pressing challenges. A related policy brief, Rainbow at risk, presents recommendations.

Economics, governance and instability in South Africa

06 Jul 2016 02:31:47 GMT

FORTY YEARS AGO a combination of frustration against local government, the enforcement of Afrikaans  language policy, trade-union activism and the politicising impact of the black consciousness movement culminated in the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976. In the weeks and months that followed, tens of thousands of South Africans from townships across the country took to the streets in a violent confrontation with the apartheid state. Although the National Party government was eventually able to restore a semblance of order by force of arms, several thousand young South Africans fled the country, largely to join the Pan Africanist Congress, then moving on to the African National Congress (ANC) when the former proved absent to fight apartheid. These events – combined with international activism, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and internal revolt within the governing National Party – would eventually force a historical compromise when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and, in 1994, elected president of South Africa.

This paper examines the economic and social underpinnings of rising political instability in South Africa such as poverty, unemployment and inequality. The paper then reviews the patterns of violence across different categories before concluding with a brief analysis of the extent to which corruption, poor governance and lacklustre leadership exacerbate social turbulence. In this way, it presents the context for a separate paper, South African scenarios 2024, and a subsequent set of policy recommendations Rainbow at risk that set out the prospects and requirements for change.

Manufacturing torture? South Africa's trade in electric shock equipment

06 Jul 2016 02:11:12 GMT

In South Africa, the trade in certain kinds of fi rearms and military equipment is controlled for reasons of safety and security. However, there is a gap in legislation when it comes to the control of law enforcement equipment that can facilitate torture and ill treatment. This brief examines electric shock devices as an example of security equipment that needs stronger trade- control measures.

The brief outlines concerns over the use of electric shock equipment, and discusses the manufacture of these items in South Africa and their trade with other countries. It also looks at trade controls currently used elsewhere, and provides recommendations for changes in the control measures surrounding these products in South Africa.

  • the trade in law-enforcement equipment that has no practical purpose other than for the purpose of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment should be prohibited
  • body-worn electric shock devices (e.g. stun belts) have no legitimate law enforcement purpose and should be banned for import and export
  • hand-held direct contact electric shock devices designed for law enforcement (e.g. stun shields and stun batons) are prone to abuse and should be banned for import and export
  • wired projectile electric shock weapons should be regulated in the same way as firearms
  • a targeted end-use control mechanism for policing and security equipment would help prevent the transfer of weapons that could contribute to internal repression

Tools of torture? Use of electric shock equipment among African police

06 Jul 2016 02:05:31 GMT

Torture is not an act that happens in isolation. It occurs in many contexts, and there are several techniques and means by which pain and suffering are infl icted on suspects, convicted inmates and others deprived of their liberty.

This policy brief highlights how African law-enforcement agencies or government security forces potentially misuse electric shock equipment in a way that contravenes international and continental anti-torture frameworks. It then discusses reported cases of such misuse in South Africa. Finally, recommendations are made on how the use of electric shock equipment on the continent could be curbed, along with ways to build on efforts to prohibit and prevent torture.
  • all policies and training with respect to the treatment of persons in custody should be compatible with national, regional and international human-rights standards
  • African states should ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or DegradingTreatment or Punishment, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • all incidents of torture, assault and death in police custody should be reported and carefully monitored as a matter of public accountability and transparency, and perpetrators prosecuted
  • handheld direct contact electric shock devices and body-worn electric shock devices designed for law enforcement are prone to abuse and should be prohibited

Compliance through pain: electric shock equipment in South African prisons

06 Jul 2016 01:56:00 GMT

Various kinds of electric shock devices are authorised for use in South African prisons. These are designed to enforce compliance through pain, incapacitation or fear of activation. However, their use has been associated with acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This policy brief provides an overview of electric shock equipment and describes known harmful medical effects associated with its use. It highlights the use and misuse of these types of equipment in correctional institutions in South Africa, and outlines how and why this equipment is in breach of local, regional and international standards.

This brief is designed to raise awareness of these concerns and to provide recommendations for change in how electric shock equipment is used in South Africa.


  • body-worn electric shock devices (e.g. stun belts) have no legitimate law-enforcement purpose and their use should be prohibited
  • hand-held direct contact electric shock equipment,such as stun shields and stun guns, are prone to abuse and should also be prohibited
  • non-electrifi ed batons, shields and cuffs should instead be used to achieve restraint and control
  • given the problems with other categories of electric shock devices, wired projectile electric shock weapons should be prohibited from being introduced into correctional centres or other places of detention
  • all use-of-force incidents should be reported and carefully monitored
  • all prison policies and staff training should be compatible with domestic and international human-rights norms and standards

Rainbow at risk: improving South Africa's prospects

06 Jul 2016 01:49:56 GMT

South Africa needs to build an inclusive economy where broad-based
economic growth creates productive jobs for the unemployed; increases
productivity and earnings for the employed; and leads to sustained poverty alleviation. South Africa must simultaneously invest in partnerships with the private sector to establish a knowledge economy, close the skills gap currently constraining development and create an enabling environment for growth, investment and innovation.

Drawing on two associated ISS papers, Economics, governance and instability in South Africa and South African scenarios 2024, this policy brief presents a set of recommendations to extricate South Africa from its middle-income trap and set it on a high-road Mandela Magic growth path.


  • South Africa needs a labourintensive, low-wage and less regulated growth path
  • government needs to continue but carefully manage its expansive social support programmes
  • government must strengthen South Africa’s domestic technological innovation capacity. Partnering with the private sector can close the skills gap currently constraining development and, among others,
    increased investment in research and development
  • focus is needed on smalland medium-sized business, the reduction of red tape, better access to low-cost finance, more business-friendly market regulations and a more flexible labour market
  • broad-based black economic empowerment ought to be replaced in favour of more specific race-based initiatives