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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The Nuclear Ban Treaty is a Fact

Policy Brief  No.99 - January, 2021

Belgium is a small country and a military minnow, but it is the only NATO member state to recognise the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). For a number of reasons it would be wrong to conclude that this country’s actions—or inaction—with respect to the TPNW are irrelevant for the Atlantic Alliance. In this Policy Brief, Jorge Hersschens considers the pioneering role that Belgium has taken historically on nuclear issues and what this might mean for its future stance on the TPNW.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The Nuclear Umbrella Revisited

Policy Brief  No.98 - November, 2020

On 21 September 2020, 56 former leaders of 22 umbrella states published an open letter in support of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW or the Ban Treaty). The Treaty obliges member states to never, under any circumstance, assist or encourage use, threats of use or possession of nuclear weapons. The fact that so many leaders were ready to support such a radical departure so shortly after leaving government suggests that they had developed a certain restiveness and discomfort with the state of affairs during their time in office. Now, with the NPT in miserable shape and the TPNW about to come into force in January, it is hoped that the wrangling between the respective treaty supporters will calm down and enable a new consensus on the normative basis for non-proliferation and disarmament.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change, Relocation and Peacebuilding in Fiji: Challenges, Debates, and Ways Forward

Summary Report  No.97 - November, 2020

Climate change induced human mobility comes with considerable risks and responsibilities. This insight was the starting point for a recently held workshop on climate-change induced migration and community relocation in the Pacific Island country of Fiji. Climate change induced relocation is a highly complex ‘wicked problem.’ This Policy Brief identifies the key challenges and focuses on the most relevant findings and insights from the workshop—i.e., the need for a holistic and integrated multi-stakeholder and multi-scalar approach with the cooperation of state, civil society and community actors, and the need for an inclusive dialogue and communication between a plurality of narratives and voices to build trust. It concludes with lessons learned and policy recommendations. (The workshop ‘Comparative Learning: Climate Change, Relocation and Peacebuilding in Fiji’ was organised by Toda Peace Institute, Conciliation Resources and Transcend Oceania on 5-6 October 2020.)

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

A Practical Approach to North Korea for the Next US President

Policy Brief  No.96 - October, 2020

After three years of an erratic approach to North Korea, the Trump administration has made little progress in reducing the nuclear threat and enhancing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The Kim Jong Un regime not only maintains its stockpile of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but these capabilities have grown both quantitatively and qualitatively. The next US president will have to address this grave situation. This Policy Brief examines what might work and outlines four steps on a practical path to building a new framework for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. This article was first published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: https://thebulletin.org/2020/10/a-practical-approach-to-north-korea-for-the-next-us-president/

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament New Technologies, Security and Peace

Emerging Technologies Challenge International Humanitarian Law: Mapping the Issues

Policy Brief  No.95 - October, 2020

The shared understanding of the rules and the premise of International Humanitarian Law is challenged by the accelerated development of new military technologies. Is the existing IHL framework robust enough to protect civilians, combatants and the environment in the face of new military technologies? The judicial remedy of IHL is oriented to the past in the sense that its main task is to resolve cases that have already occurred. Therefore, it also tends to ex post relief, as is typical for paying “compensation” for damages. The challenge posed is to address the questions about what may happen in a risk society today. This paper addresses the question of how existing and emerging technologies impact IHL rules in order to consider how legal challenges posed will be responded to in the future.