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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Nuclear Arms Control and the Global Order: A View from New Delhi

Policy Brief  No.53 - October, 2019

Since the possession of nuclear weapons, India is more awake to the realistic utility of nuclear arms control as an arms race management instrument or a risk reduction instrument. Ongoing developments in nuclear arms control should matter for India, even if these are taking place in the US-Russia bilateral domain. Whether the future trajectory of NAC will result in positive consequences or adverse ones for New Delhi will depend on many factors, including how these are handled. This policy brief highlights four main issues that will have implications at the global and regional levels, for India in particular and offers five ideas for future NAC possibilities.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

World Order and Arms Control

Policy Brief  No.52 - October, 2019

There is a sense that world order is at a point of transition but we do not know what we are transitioning to. How can we ensure that these processes do not threaten international peace and security? How can we direct the processes of change and transformation to our advantage while avoiding the dangers that they create? What adjustments do we have to make to ensure that the basis exists for cooperative security in the emerging world order? This policy brief considers cooperative security in the rules-based world order and what the future might hold as rules-based order declines. It proposes that a productive approach is to explore a vision of a shared future and concludes with five recommendations.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media in Zimbabwe: A Toxic Tool or a Future Bridge to Peace?

Policy Brief  No.51 - October, 2019

The rise of social media in Zimbabwe has brought with it a greater variety of platforms which offer people a means to express themselves. However, the democratisation of information and the increase in digital spaces have also come with greater state restriction and polarisation among Zimbabweans. This policy brief discusses the state’s attempts to act as the proctor of social media in order to explore the relations between users of online platforms in terms of political leanings and gender. To this end, it will also discuss how online targeting can exacerbate already existing political divisions between people and how the state uses legal instruments to surveil and regulate online activity as a way of maintaining its iron grip on the people. The policy brief concludes with recommendations aimed at stopping hateful, harmful or false narratives being spread at the click of a button.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media Dynamics in Boko Haram’s Terrorist Insurgence

Policy Brief  No.50 - October, 2019

This policy brief analyses the use of social media by different groups affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence, including the group itself. The rate, speed, spread and belief which information from social media commands has changed theatres of war and amplified terrorist threats. The Nigerian youth who are the forerunners of social media use in the country have further employed Hashtag (#) Activism for varied causes regarding Boko Haram. This study examines the use of social media in ‘orchestrated data circulation’ by both the insurgents and the Nigerian government, and the populace’s growing awareness of the power they wield by simply having internet data and a phone. This brief concludes with recommendations regarding ways that tech companies and Civil Society Organisations could re-influence the social media dynamics in Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change and Urbanisation in Pacific Island Countries

Policy Brief  No.49 - September, 2019

Rates of urbanisation vary considerably among the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, some of which have among the highest population densities in the world despite these countries being relatively small. Growth in the number of urban residents has led to the emergence of informal settlements on sites which are often on marginal land that is highly exposed to the effects of extreme events. It is likely that climate change will cause greater numbers of people to migrate to urban areas as their home locations become increasingly less habitable. Many will find themselves again living in exposed locations. Additionally, having little land tenure security, high levels of unemployment or underemployment, crowding, lack of infrastructure, crime and lack of access to land for food are likely to render many of these migrants vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As climate change continues to unfold, urban areas in the Pacific Islands region may find themselves particularly at risk. Urban planning which takes the likelihood of climate change into account is critically important.