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Genève, Switzerland

Effective civil society activism in the high politics realm of international peace and security has not received sustained scholarly attention, and, at least until recently, was considered a 'hard case,' compared to other issue areas. This article reviews recent civil society efforts and assesses, in a preliminary fashion, some of the preconditions and constraints on transnational civil society activism in a range of security issues, from antipersonnel landmines to antinuclear campaigns. It concludes that high levels of policy uncertainty, the possibility of issue reframing, significant resources, and strategic partnerships are all key ingredients for effective civil society engagement. Conversely, vague or diffuse goals, the absence of state engagement, and policy stovepipes, all stand as obstacles to transnational activism. © 2014 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

White N.,Graduate Institute
Journal of Political Ecology | Year: 2014

Since 2011, elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade have been labelled a "serious threat to peace and security". Rigorous military training and weapons have been provided to rangers, national armies have been deployed in protected areas, and shoot-to-kill policies have been (re-)adopted. Within the framework of political ecology, the article critically approaches this "war" for Africa's elephants. Adopting the tools of discourse analysis, it explores how such violence has been legitimized by the "transnational conservation community" and, in turn, how this has been contested by other actors. It argues that the "war" has been legitimized by drawing on two broader threat discourses - the ivory-crime-terror linkage and the 'China-Africa' threat. Through the discursive creation of a boundary object, poaching has 'become' a human concern that appeals to actors typically outside the conservation community. In the final Section, the case of the Lord's Resistance Army's poaching activities in Garamba National Park is explored, to show how the knowledge upon which judgements are made and decisions are taken is ahistorical, depoliticized and based on a series of untenable assumptions.

White N.,Graduate Institute
Peace and Conflict Studies | Year: 2014

The past year has seen attention directed, both in policy discourse and the media, towards the implication of Central African non-state armed groups in poaching and ivory trafficking. Engaging with both mainstream political economy analyses and work on the "geographies of resource wars," this paper turns to the case of ivory as a "conflict resource," through the case study of the Lord's Resistance Army. It begins by outlining the contextual specificities and conditions of access, before assessing the compatibility of the resource's biophysical, spatial and material characteristics with the needs of regional armed groups and the LRA in particular. Though the direction of causality is difficult to untangle, the paper finds that poaching and the trade in ivory by armed groups in Central Africa appears to incur low opportunity costs for relatively high potential gains. Moreover, that ivory qualifies as a "conflict resource" under Le Billon's (2008) definition in the extent to which it is likely to be implicated in the duration of conflict in the region, both financing and benefitting from a context of insecurity. Future research would benefit from more accessible and robust data; interesting avenues would include an evaluation of the effects of the increasing militarization of poaching strategies - including shoot-to-kill policies - and the potential of igniting grievance-based conflict.

Vinuales J.E.,Graduate Institute
Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law | Year: 2013

Sustainable development is turning brownish. Too many disparate initiatives are being conducted under its banner. The concept of 'sustainable development' no longer provides an adequate umbrella for the main challenge currently faced by global environmental governance - namely implementation. Its very strengths are turning into fatal weaknesses. Vague enough to bring all States and other stakeholders to the negotiating table, the concept of 'sustainable development' was very successful in managing the political collision between 'development' and 'environment' throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. It was a formidable tool to find balance as well as for normative development. But it is inadequate to navigate the implementation phase. This article introduces an alternative model, based on four strategic priorities (participation, differentiation, decarbonization, and innovation and technology diffusion). It maps different levels at which these priorities could be pursued in order to make global environmental governance more effective. The article is not against the concept of 'sustainable development' as a worthy 'fight'. It is about the need to use another 'weapon' to spearhead efforts to meet the challenge of implementation. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Liu H.-W.,Visiting Researcher | Liu H.-W.,Graduate Institute | Liu H.-W.,National Chengchi University
Journal of International Economic Law | Year: 2014

Voluminous studies have documented the rise of international standards and their ramifications for the World Trade Organization (WTO), though most of these studies have focused on environment, food safety, public health, and financial regulations issues. An equally important, yet less explored, area is the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. This article seeks to contribute to the literature by examining the concept of an international standard in the ICT industry and its implications for the WTO. Drawing upon empirical data, this article makes four claims. First, today, the WTO policymakers are facing a 'balkanized' standard-setting paradigm in the ICT sector. Global standard-setting in the ICT industry is no longer the sole domain of the 'Big Three': the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Numerous industry consortia, mostly based in the USA, have emerged on the scene and in some way compete with the Big Three. Second, this paradigm shift engenders intense legal and political interest among major trading partners in the WTO, namely the USA and the EU. Applying the current WTO jurisprudence to this new paradigm, this article suggests that certain consortia may qualify as 'international standardizing bodies' for the purpose of the WTO. To the extent that standards developed by these consortia are recognized by the WTO, firms operating outside the US-based standardizing environment would bear higher costs in global trade. Additionally, this article argues that, while the Big Three seeks to respond to evolving market demands, their structural changes undercut the legitimacy as an international standardizing body. Fourth, intellectual property in the ICT standard-setting context is an eminent threat to the WTO. Ambiguities in licensing rules of the standardizing bodies - be they the Big Three or the industry consortia - may provide loopholes for emerging economies moving up the global value chain to use selectively an international standard. © 2014 © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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