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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports
Policy Brief No.51 - October, 2019
The rise of social media in Zimbabwe has brought with it a greater variety of platforms which offer people a means to express themselves. However, the democratisation of information and the increase in digital spaces have also come with greater state restriction and polarisation among Zimbabweans. This policy brief discusses the state’s attempts to act as the proctor of social media in order to explore the relations between users of online platforms in terms of political leanings and gender. To this end, it will also discuss how online targeting can exacerbate already existing political divisions between people and how the state uses legal instruments to surveil and regulate online activity as a way of maintaining its iron grip on the people. The policy brief concludes with recommendations aimed at stopping hateful, harmful or false narratives being spread at the click of a button.
Policy Brief No.50 - October, 2019
This policy brief analyses the use of social media by different groups affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence, including the group itself. The rate, speed, spread and belief which information from social media commands has changed theatres of war and amplified terrorist threats. The Nigerian youth who are the forerunners of social media use in the country have further employed Hashtag (#) Activism for varied causes regarding Boko Haram. This study examines the use of social media in ‘orchestrated data circulation’ by both the insurgents and the Nigerian government, and the populace’s growing awareness of the power they wield by simply having internet data and a phone. This brief concludes with recommendations regarding ways that tech companies and Civil Society Organisations could re-influence the social media dynamics in Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence.
Policy Brief No.49 - September, 2019
Rates of urbanisation vary considerably among the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, some of which have among the highest population densities in the world despite these countries being relatively small. Growth in the number of urban residents has led to the emergence of informal settlements on sites which are often on marginal land that is highly exposed to the effects of extreme events. It is likely that climate change will cause greater numbers of people to migrate to urban areas as their home locations become increasingly less habitable. Many will find themselves again living in exposed locations. Additionally, having little land tenure security, high levels of unemployment or underemployment, crowding, lack of infrastructure, crime and lack of access to land for food are likely to render many of these migrants vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As climate change continues to unfold, urban areas in the Pacific Islands region may find themselves particularly at risk. Urban planning which takes the likelihood of climate change into account is critically important.
Policy Brief No.48 - September, 2019
The process just before, during and after the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-building Measures and Disarmament in Europe which took place between January 1984 and September 1986 formed part of a wider chain of events, the full importance of which was not widely understood until 1989, or perhaps even much later. The added value of this Policy Brief may be to highlight the potential importance of what many would refer to as associated measures when dealing with the current dangers of nuclear weapons and a renewed arms race with ever more devastating weapons.
Policy Brief No.47 - September, 2019
Arms control during the years of détente remains almost a legend: it was born in the middle of a dangerous stand-off between two implacable rivals and achieved reasonable successes in substance and the overall atmosphere of cooperation. As the world has entered an unstable and dangerous phase in 2010s, we look back to the 1970s in search of lessons to be drawn and examples to follow. Can that experience be replicated? How can we launch a new arms control effort at the time of worsening and increasingly dangerous geopolitical competition? If two rival superpowers could engage in a cooperative endeavour in the midst of a geo-political conflict, perhaps we could repeat the experience today and mitigate the more dangerous aspects of the conflict that will likely continue for an extended period of time.