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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

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?

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.