The prospect of military action against the Assad regime by western powers has become increasingly real. Soon it may be all but inevitable. But what kind of action, for what purpose, in the service of what larger strategy? All this remains obscure. Continue reading
EU High Representative and EC Vice-President Catherine Ashton steps down from leading the European External Action Service in late 2014. She has presented her review of the organisation and how to make it more efficient. But despite her best efforts the basic case for the EEAS remains unclear to many. Winning that case depends not on efficiency alone but on whether the EEAS meets an important need. Continue reading
When the European External Action Service was formally set up in July 2010, it was agreed that the High Representative Catherine Ashton should present a review of it this summer. As Brussels descended into summer slumber, that is what she did. Continue reading
For the past two and half years, International Alert has been conducting field research in four South Asian countries on vulnerability to the effects of climate change, possibilities for adaptation, obstacles and how to overcome them. What shines out of these studies is the need for policies that integrate responses to climate and conflict challenges into developing a broadly based quality of resilience – in local communities and on the national stage. Continue reading
International Alert convenes an expert roundtable, Building resilience – building peace, in Kathmandu on Monday 8 July. It’s the culmination of two and half years of research on the impact of climate change on local communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. I can’t be there so we recorded four minutes to camera as my contribution to the day’s events.
My brief comments emphasise the importance of thinking about the impact of climate change on four critical system - supply of water, food security, energy availability and supply natural resources supply. Responding to the challenge of climate change is about building resilience in those systems on which people everywhere depend.
For a developing country facing high poverty levels, a growing population with high expectations despite a poor revenue base and weak institutions, but with an abundance of natural resources, exploiting them looks like the path to glory. Experience from a range of countries shows that, to put it mildly, it’s not so straightforward. The World Economic Forum has published a report on the topic – Natural Riches?. Continue reading
In the course of little more than a week, the idea that diplomacy could achieve anything to prevent the war in Syria escalating yet further fell off the international agenda as arms supplies became the dominant theme and returned to head it following the G8 summit at Enniskillen’s Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland. Here’s my quick take on what seems to be going on. Continue reading