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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change, Natural Disasters and the Military

Policy Brief  No.77 - June, 2020

This policy brief explores the role of the military in responding to natural disasters. It first draws a linkage between disasters and security broadly, then examines the ways in which military and defence resources might be mobilised in response to these disasters. It looks at the important role of perceptions of the military’s role in responding to natural disasters—their own and those of others—and concludes with an assessment of how different countries have navigated this issue and carved out a specific role for the military in responding to natural disasters. The policy brief refers to two case studies, the bushfires in Australia in 2019-20 and floods in Myanmar in 2015, and concludes with policy recommendations.

Climate Change and Conflict

The United Nations Security Council, the Boe Declaration, and Upolu Luma Vaai’s Umbilical Cord – and Why They Matter for Peacebuilding in the Era of Man-Made Climate Change

Policy Brief  No.76 - May, 2020

This Policy Brief tries to do the seemingly impossible: to lay open the relations between spheres of experiences and activities that at first sight are worlds apart, such as debates in the UN Security Council and stories told in a village on a small Pacific island, decisions taken (or not taken) by so-called world leaders in New York and by local village elders; and it tries to explain why revealing these relations matters for peacebuilding and policy advice in our current era of climate change. The paper commences with a comparison between the two existential threats mankind is confronted with today: nuclear threat and the threat of climate change, and builds a case for peace research to engage with climate change. Flowing from the identification of gaps and shortcomings in the debate, an innovative Pacific eco-relational approach is presented.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

How Many Intensive Care Beds Will A Nuclear Weapon Explosion Require?

Policy Brief  No.75 - May, 2020

The near-universal response to the panic created by COVID-19 leads to the conclusion that the number of ICU beds needed to deal with a disaster should become a new norm, and a new way to judge when radical action is needed to respond to a global threat. So what other types of global catastrophes could call for more hospital infrastructure and personnel than is now available? The nuclear bomb is one obvious answer. This Policy Brief, first published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (28 April 2010), applies the number of available intensive care beds as the new measure for potential nuclear catastrophes.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific Workshop: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience

Policy Brief  No.74 - May, 2020

In September 2019, Toda Peace Institute held a workshop which facilitated dialogue between three groups of Climate Change experts. The aim was to generate shared analysis of challenges and, wherever possible, joint or coordinated practical responses. The meeting was structured to have a ‘triangular’ format. First, contributors working in the international realm presented their analyses to scholars and practitioners from Pacific Island countries and Japan. Second, Pacific Islanders presented their local and regional research findings, and their practice-based approaches, to the international and Japanese experts. In a third step, Japanese presenters outlined the state of the debate in Japan for the benefit of the Pacific Islanders and international experts. This policy brief draws together the main challenges and perspectives that emerged from that meeting, with illustrative case studies and recommended approaches for linking academic research, policy and practice.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media Impacts on Conflict Dynamics: A Synthesis of Ten Case Studies & a Peacebuilding Plan for Tech

Policy Brief  No.73 - May, 2020

In 2019, the Toda Peace Institute’s research programme on “Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding” published a series of policy briefs exploring the impact of social media technologies on conflict dynamics in ten countries: three in Latin America, three in Africa, three in the Middle East and South Asia, and Northern Ireland. On November 13, 2019, the ten authors met together with 30 practitioners, scholars, professionals, faculty and students working at the intersection between technology and peacebuilding at a workshop held at the University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School for Peace Studies. This report draws together key themes from the case studies presented in the ten policy briefs, and concludes with recommendations for governments, tech companies, legacy media, and civil society, particularly peacebuilders.