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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports
Policy Brief No.22 - October, 2018 • By Lisa Schirch
The Toda Peace Institute and the Alliance for Peacebuilding are hosting a series of policy briefs discussing social media impacts on social and political goods. Over the next several months, top experts and thought leaders will provide insight into social media’s threats and opportunities. This first briefing provides a conceptual summary, and a set of policy recommendations to address the significant threats to social and political goods. The Full Report provides a more in-depth literature review and explanation of key themes.
Policy Brief No.21 - October, 2018 • By Nikolai Sokov and William Potter
The fabric of US-Russian nuclear arms reductions is unravelling. Among the indications of the tenuous nature of the current bilateral arms control regime are: Diminished prospects for extension of New START, which is set to expire in 2021. Increased probability that the 1987 INF Treaty will collapse under the weight of mutual accusations of noncompliance. Pursuit by both the United States and Russia of nuclear force modernisation. Uncertain prospects for continuation of bilateral consultations on strategic stability. Unusually vitriolic exchanges between the two former nonproliferation partners at the 2018 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting. At the same time, there have been occasional signs that arms control progress is not impossible. At a time when re-starting formal arms control negotiations is likely to meet major resistance, especially in the United States, it is worthwhile to recall less formal options for pursuing nuclear arms reductions. These include measures that can be undertaken by the Executive without Congressional/Parliamentary approval. The most relevant example of that approach is the 1991/1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs), which resulted in deep reduction of tactical (non-strategic) nuclear weapons.
Policy Brief No.20 - September, 2018 • By Bob Lloyd
This review investigates the climate change problem at a global level, specifically temperature limits and how much carbon we can burn globally to avoid reaching a point at which global temperature increase cannot be stopped by further human action due to ecological feed-back effects (such as polar ice melting and permafrost areas releasing methane). The Pacific Region is discussed in the global context, particularly the Pacific involvement in setting temperature limits and the specific vulnerabilities of the island nations. A review is given of the Pacific Island Countries Second National Communications (SNCs) and the Initial Nationally Determined Contribution or INDCs submitted to the Paris Agreement. It is concluded that the position of the Pacific nations is becoming more fragile every year with serious problems ahead.
Policy Brief No.19 - September, 2018 • By Matt McDonald
Climate change is increasingly recognised as a security issue. It has been discussed at the UN Security Council, it features in national security strategy documents of more than half of the world’s states, and a wide range of think tank and academic publications point to the intersection between climate change and security. This does not mean, however, that there is consensus about the climate - security relationship or the desirability of linking the two. Some theorists working in the broad tradition of critical security stud-ies were important voices in pointing to the security implications of climate change, while others (perhaps paradoxically) urged caution in linking climate and security. In this sense it’s fair to say there’s no single ‘critical security studies’ perspective on the climate - security nexus, just as there is no single ‘critical security studies’ perspective in general. Critical security studies can be defined (broadly) as scholarship concerned with developing a critique of traditional approaches to security; examining the politics of security; and exploring the ethical as-sumptions and implications of particular security discourses and practices (see Browning and McDonald 2013). This brief provides an introduction to what Critical Security Studies has to offer in understanding and guiding practice on the climate change - security nexus. It suggests that analysis consistent with the critical security studies tradition can be (and has been) brought to bear on the climate change - security nexus by examining the scope of security threats; exploring the contested meanings of ‘climate securi-ty’; and engaging key questions and dilemmas associated with linking the two, in theory and practice. It also provides a brief illustration of the utility of a critical security studies perspective when approach-ing the relationship between climate change and armed conflict, and concludes with policy recommen-dations.
Policy Brief No.18 - August, 2018 • By Halvard Buhaug
It is clear that climatic events can have immediate impacts on human security (health, livelihood, food security), but does climate change also constitute a direct threat to peace, security and societal stability? This report discusses three aspects of relevance to the larger debate on the nexus between climate change, violent conflict and security: (i) the evident concentration of armed conflict in environmentally fragile regions; (ii) the scientific evidence base for a causal relationship between adverse climatic changes and armed conflict; and (iii) the role of climate-related security threats in a comparative perspective.