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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

National Security System Recheck: Comparison of the response of Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to COVID-19

Policy Brief  No.81 - June, 2020

This policy brief is based on a security perspective and aims to evaluate the following aspects of COVID-19 responses: 1) institutional and legal preparation; 2) recognition of an ongoing crisis; 3) response networks including the use of information communication technologies (ICTs); 4) transparency and credibility; and 5) learning from past and ongoing experiences. The empirical study focuses on three countries, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, because they have relatively mild infection rates compared with those of some European countries and the United States. This article concludes that high-level awareness is necessary to manage a non-traditional security threat and that a response system endorsed by leadership to act based on a legal framework is essential. Mature civil society is essential for resilience, and ICT tools as part of smart city programmes are necessary to improve the efficiency of the response system.

Climate Change and Conflict

Quantitative Climate-Conflict Research: Limitations and Prospects of Alternative Approaches

Policy Brief  No.80 - June, 2020

Decision makers and practitioners have expressed a strong interest in the security implications of climate change since the mid-2000s. In response to this, researchers have produced an impressive literature on climate change and violent conflict. This literature and the resulting discourse are strongly shaped by quantitative research, that is, by statistical studies of a large number of cases. This policy brief identifies eight limitations of quantitative climate-conflict research, outlines the resulting knowledge gaps, and suggests ways to address them.

Climate Change and Conflict

Colonial Relocation and Implications for Future Climate Change Induced Migration and Displacement

Policy Brief  No.79 - June, 2020

While migration as an adaptation strategy appears to be a possible solution for Pacific communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change, without proper planning and preparation, and the involvement and consent of people, it could also potentially lead to forced displacement. This paper reflects on the relocation of the Gilbertese from the Southern Gilbert Islands to Phoenix Islands, and eventually to the Solomon Islands in the 1960s. The planning of the relocation, especially from the Phoenix Islands to the Solomon Islands, and the experiences of the people, provide important lessons that can be used to inform future climate change induced migration and displacement in the Pacific Islands.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

The Role of Social Media in Fomenting Violence: Myanmar

Policy Brief  No.78 - June, 2020

While social media opened up Myanmar’s information and communication ecosystem in an unprecedented way, it also came with its share of challenges. Low levels of digital and media literacy, amidst a context of political transition, dominated by rising inter-communal tensions and the formalisation of a Buddhist nationalist movement, made for a dangerous cocktail. Facebook dominated the Myanmar internet ecosystem. This case study looks at the role of Facebook in fomenting violence in Myanmar, exploring how the social media platform was weaponised and reviewing Facebook’s response to the situation. It concludes with learnings and recommendations for how risks may be better mitigated.

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.