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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

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

Crashing Nuclear Submarines Through IAEA Safeguards

Policy Brief  No.122 - January, 2022

This Policy Brief focuses on important relevant issues and questions pertaining to the AUKUS plan to equip the Royal Australian Navy with nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). The AUKUS states apparently have initiated non-transparent and secret discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency on how best to take advantage of a “grey area” or “loophole” in IAEA comprehensive safeguards to exclude weapon-grade highly-enriched uranium from Agency safeguards. China and the Russian Federation have launched diplomatic fusillades across the bow of the IAEA’s Board of Governors criticising the AUKUS plan for providing nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. However the Agency responds, now is the time to further strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system, not to weaken it and not drive a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines through it.

Climate Change and Conflict

Finding a Regional Process to Address the Primary Security Threats to the South Pacific due to Climate Change

Policy Brief  No.121 - January, 2022

This brief explores the nexus between climate change and security in the South Pacific and explores some key climate change-related trigger points that are driving security concerns in the Pacific. The combined effects of these trigger points are likely to drive displacement and forced migration away from Pacific Island countries. Regional security is further heightened by tensions between the US and China and their interests in protecting or exploiting fisheries resources in the region. Current regional organisations do not appear well placed to create an effective dialogue to resolve these climate change-related tensions, due to inherent biases. This Policy Brief explores the option of new collaborative arrangements between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Pacific Small Island Development States (PSIDS) as a means of creating a higher political authority to consider the threats posed by climate change and the opportunities to address these threats.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Achieving The Possible Against the Odds: “A Middle East Nuclear and WMD Free Zone”

Policy Brief  No.120 - November, 2021

Given the infighting and discord among states of the region of the Middle East over many issues, it seems that the air has gone out of their balloon to achieve a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone; they seem content merely to make supportive noises but not to advance the process. The 2021 UN Middle East Conference in November 2021 and the NPT review conference in January 2022 provide further opportunities for the NPT states of the region of the Middle East, and other states, as well as international organisations in attendance, to discuss the various aspects of a potential future treaty that could garner the support of all states of the region, and commission the required technical inputs.

Climate Change and Conflict

Vanishing Homelands: Climate Security, Displacement and Human Rights: A Pacific Focus

Policy Brief  No.119 - November, 2021

Climate change is having profound impacts on the displacement of communities and the stability of peace and security. As climate displacement continues to rise at an unprecedented rate, it is compounded by many variables which can be described collectively as ‘nexus dynamics’. This Policy Brief examines the protection of climate-displaced people, highlighting the limitations and effectiveness of existing refugee frameworks. It recognises a shift in the factors driving human displacement, such as climate change, which are not limited to ‘the fear of persecution’, as has traditionally defined ‘refugees’. This Brief advocates for the implementation of a human rights-based framework to protect and preserve the life and dignity of those embarking on a relocation process, whether forced or voluntary. It discusses how displacement is impacting the Pacific Region which is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is experiencing vanishing homelands due to rising sea levels. The conclusion offers a range of policy recommendations designed to assist Pacific states in the protection and support of climate-displaced persons and in the maintenance of peace and security.

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

China, Cambodia and the Myanmar Crisis

Policy Brief  No.118 - November, 2021

In preparation for the Seoul Peace Initiative Conference (SPIC) on 8/9 November, this paper discusses several dilemmas faced by China in relation to the ongoing political, economic, social and health crisis in Myanmar. It concludes that China has a chance to work constructively with ASEAN under Cambodia’s chairmanship in 2022 to obtain Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, the reconstitution of the national assembly elected in 2020, and the formation of an interim coalition government until new free and fair elections can be held.