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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change and Migration Crises in Oceania

Policy Brief  No 29 - November, 2018

“Climate-induced migration” is often perceived as potentially leading to political instability and violence, and thus, as critical. Oceania is considered a prime example for this assumed linear causality, since sea level rise and other effects of anthropogenic climate change are threatening to displace large numbers of people in the region. The policy brief scrutinises this perception by critically engaging with the securitization of climate-induced migration in the Pacific region, with a particular interest in who defines what a crisis is, when and where. Its central claim is that without contextualised knowledge of the relevant power structures which determine a) who defines what can be considered a (migration) crisis, b) how human mobility challenges pre-established ideas of citizenship, belonging and national identity, and c) how climate change figures in these topical fields and political processes, we cannot fully understand the potential effects of climate-induced migration.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Digital Blooms: Social Media and Violence in Sri Lanka

Policy Brief  No 28 - November, 2018

The policy brief outlines key snapshots of Sri Lanka’s social media landscape as it stood at the time of writing, in early August 2018, and offers some recommendations aimed at civil society’s use of social media for conflict transformation. Background Note: Primary research informing this policy brief took place between 2014-2018 as part of work conducted with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Other observations arise from data analysis and further research as part of on-going doctoral studies at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Climate Change and Conflict

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

Policy Brief  No 27 - November, 2018

The Toda Peace Institute and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Otago, New Zealand) organised an international workshop, “Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience” in Auckland, New Zealand, from 28 to 30 September 2018. The workshop brought together international experts on climate change, security policymakers and local peacebuilding practitioners and civil society actors in the Pacific. The workshop was attended by 34 men and women from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries. During a three-day conversation they addressed the local and international challenges and potential conflict linkages posed by climatic uncertainty in Oceania. The key goal of the workshop was to set a framework for research that informs policy, promotes both vertical and horizontal dialogue between researchers, governments and social agencies and people in the region, and produces real-world initiatives to address one of the region’s most pressing issues—climate change.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Civil Society in the Age of Automation: Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Bots

Policy Brief  No 26 - November, 2018

The next wave of disruptive technology has arrived; it is the Age of Automation. The defining technologies for this new era include robots, chatbots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, conversational interfaces, cyborgs, and other smart devices. These technologies are increasingly becoming the interface between organisations and humans. The risks and benefits for civil society organisations boils down to automation versus augmentation. Automation is where robots and algorithms take over and destroy humanity. Augmentation is more optimistic and suggests that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will help civil society organisations amplify their work to better serve stakeholders and solve significant social change problems.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

INF Weapons: Status, Modernisations, and Arms Control Prospects

Policy Brief  No 25 - November, 2018

Over the past 30 years, arms control treaties and unilateral initiatives have resulted in the destruction of more than 50,000 nuclear warheads.1 The vast majority of those warheads were Russian and U.S. weapons. These accomplishments reflected a political will and conviction that nuclear forces had to be constrained and the role of nuclear weapons reduced. Over the past decade, however, both the will and conviction have changed. Instead, Russia and the United States – and by extension also NATO – are now embroiled in a deepening political clash that has rekindled Cold War rhetoric and triggered significant changes in military postures and strategies. Although less of an ideological clash and intensity compared with the old Cold War, the changes contain all the building blocks needed to create a new one.