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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Venezuela’s 21st Century Authoritarianism in the Digital Sphere

Policy Brief  No.62 - November, 2019

This policy brief summarises extensive information on digital rights violations and politically motivated information disorders affecting Venezuelans, principally social media users. The brief focuses on the conflict dynamic between an authoritarian government and those fighting for re-democratisation. Venezuelan government policies and actions amid the process of eroding democracy are revisited. The most pressing issues affecting internet freedom and digital rights are scrutinised. Emphasis is placed on the discussion of the dynamics of the coordinated spread of online propaganda and government-sponsored disinformation. Issues surrounding the deployment of digital ID, biometrics data, and risks of massive surveillance are also identified. The brief concludes with policy recommendations for social media companies, journalists, civil society organisations, and policy shapers involved in democratic transition efforts.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

The Use of Social Media in Colombian Democratic Spaces: A Double-Edged Sword

Policy Brief  No.61 - November, 2019

The era of social media brings opportunities and challenges to a broad range of stakeholders in Colombia, to harness the power of technological innovation and to foster a more open and transparent democracy in the midst of conflict. This policy brief examines the positive and negative influence of social media in three cases: (i) the 2016 plebiscite about the endorsement of a peace agreement with the FARC-EP guerrilla; (ii) the presidential elections of 2018; and (iii) the threats and crimes against social leaders since the peace agreement was signed. Based on the cases analysed, the document draws recommendations for different actors at the local, national and international levels, to both minimise the harm and maximise the good of using social media in Colombian democratic spaces.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media Literacy, Ethnicity and Peacebuilding in Kenya

Policy Brief  No.60 - November, 2019

Kenya has experienced a cycle of political violence following a series of controversial elections that have centred on ethnic competition, leading to human rights abuses, deaths, destruction of property and a downward economic spiral. At the core of election violence is the positive and negative role of social media as used by both citizens and politicians. Political competition driven through ethnic belonging, ethno-political extremism and hate speech on social media platforms has taken centre stage. This paper concludes that while social media is being exploited in a way that contributes to violence, social media is also contributing to peacebuilding. The paper calls for a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to education and sensitisation programmes on the positive use of social media for democratic consolidation.

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

Conventional Arms Control on the Korean Peninsula: The Current State and Prospects

Policy Brief  No.59 - November, 2019

The September 19 Military Agreement adopted by the two Koreas in 2018 is a modest but remarkable success in arms control history. Nevertheless, heated debates are taking place, both inside South Korea and abroad, over the legitimacy and rationality of the agreement. This policy brief analyses the true meaning of the September 19 Military Agreement between the two Koreas, to identify its problems and policy implications in order to draw up supplementary measures to implement it successfully. Furthermore, the paper draws some implications for the relationship between progress on North Korea's denuclearisation issue and further conventional arms control on the Korean Peninsula.

Climate Change and Conflict

The Climate-Conflict-Food Security Nexus: Pacific Marine Ecosystems

Policy Brief  No.58 - November, 2019

Growing scientific evidence indicates that global impacts and flow on effects of climate change are threatening ecosystems and food security. Developing countries, especially coastal communities across the Pacific, are at risk of climate-related food insecurity. This is particularly the case in the context of unprecedented threats posed to the health of marine ecosystems and their capacity to provide protein, income and spiritual connections for Pacific communities. This policy brief advocates for adaptive co-management approaches that integrate traditional and Western knowledge, law, governance, science and technology in a bid to protect nature. Framed by national and global legal and governance systems, it highlights the importance of approaches which empower local communities. The policy brief concludes with five recommendations which focus on the importance of working with local communities, as the ‘front line’ guardians of nature.