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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The Future of Nuclear Arms Control: Time for an Update

Policy Brief  No.86 - August, 2020

In 2020, we live in a reality where arms control, rather than being seen as sacrosanct, has been reduced by some experts to “nuclear identity politics” while others claim that it is “practically exhausted”. Disconcerting as these sentiments may be, they contain a kernel of truth. Arms control in 2020 is still oriented to realities of the past. But if the arms race spirals into full force, it is humans who will be the losers. Hence, it is unhelpful to dismiss arms control as an obsolete manifestation of Cold War nightmares. But it is time for an update to address new global challenges, in particular quickly evolving geopolitical realities and emerging technologies. Furthermore, the silos in the debate on arms control need to be overcome.

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

China and South Asia Crisis Management in the Era of Great Power Competition

Policy Brief  No.85 - August, 2020

Until very recently, China has been seen as an important and constructive force in the crisis management in South Asia in the event of an India-Pakistan military crisis. However, due to the shifting power balance in the region and the trilateral interactions between China, the United States and India, this view has become increasingly challenged. China’s Belt and Road investments and infrastructure development is also likely to draw it into third-party crisis management. Although China is interested in preventing a nuclear war, its interest in crisis management is constantly subject to its definition of its national interest in the changing regional power balance and great power dynamics. With the deteriorating U.S.-China relations and great power competition, China’s instinct is to preserve its strategic leverage. In addition, with the border skirmishes between China and India continuing to flare up, China itself might become a party to the regional conflict.

Climate Change and Conflict

Addressing Challenges in Climate Change Adaptation: Learning from the Narikoso Community Relocation in Fiji

Policy Brief  No.84 - August, 2020

This paper draws from the experiences of a multi-stakeholder planned relocation measure in Narikoso village, Fiji, to enhance understandings around the nature and scope of challenges in relocation processes for adaptation. Key learnings are drawn from the Narikoso case study with implications for policy and practice. This brief makes strategic and operational recommendations in areas of: promoting participatory processes; building on existing capacities and improving coordination; strengthening the inclusion of socio-cultural dynamics; improving monitoring, evaluation and learning; and securing and managing finance.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change, Conflict and Crises: Lessons from Lake Chad

Policy Brief  No.83 - July, 2020

This policy brief draws on an analysis of the interlinkages of climate change and conflict in Lake Chad to make recommendations for the implementation of responses to this crisis and in other climate-affected fragile contexts beyond the Lake Chad region. The assessment of Lake Chad shows that the impacts of increasing variability and decreasing predictability in rainfall are decreasing social cohesion, leaving communities less able to cope with conflict and this, in turn, is eroding people’s resilience to climate change. Responses to such crises, where climate change and security interlink, need to take the interactions of climate change and conflict into account and be climate- and conflict-sensitive. Climate and conflict informed programming and interventions are vital to ensure responses remain effective and sustainable, and do no harm in the face of a changing climate.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Bad Moon Rising Over the Himalayas: Nuclear-armed China and India Fight with Stones and Clubs

Policy Brief  No.82 - July, 2020

On June 15, a clash between two nuclear-armed neighbours, fighting with fists, rocks and clubs at an altitude of 4,250 metres, led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Chinese casualties are unconfirmed but are estimated at 40 deaths. Each side blames the other for the deadly clash. China’s media is state controlled but India’s too is noisily jingoistic. The Modi government’s propensity to bluster and to impugn the patriotism of anyone asking critical or sceptical questions does not inspire confidence in its narrative significantly more than in China’s official narrative. India does not seem to have learnt anything from its abysmal global public diplomacy in the clash with Pakistan in February 2019. With these caveats in mind, what happened; why; and what does it mean going forward?