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Migration [What Think Tanks are thinking]

14-12-2018

On 10 December 2018, at a conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, more than 160 United Nations members adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This is the first multilateral framework providing a global response to migration, and comes at a time of mounting public concern about the issue, in particular in the EU and US. Even though the agreement is non-binding and serves more as a set of best practices for the international community to improve global cooperation ...

On 10 December 2018, at a conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, more than 160 United Nations members adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This is the first multilateral framework providing a global response to migration, and comes at a time of mounting public concern about the issue, in particular in the EU and US. Even though the agreement is non-binding and serves more as a set of best practices for the international community to improve global cooperation on migration, nearly 30 countries, including the US and a number of EU Member States, have decided to oppose it. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on migration by major international think tanks. Earlier papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in October 2018.

EU Humanitarian aid: Lessons identified and the way forward

29-01-2018

The new uncertain geopolitical context has had a far-reaching impact, including on European Union (EU) humanitarian aid. The EU has faced a rising number of terrorist attacks across Europe that has created an atmosphere of fear, while the United Kingdom (UK)'s decision to withdraw from the EU has challenged the European project as we know it. The EU institutions and its Member States, as well as international institutions have been challenged in their response to refugees seeking asylum, and to the ...

The new uncertain geopolitical context has had a far-reaching impact, including on European Union (EU) humanitarian aid. The EU has faced a rising number of terrorist attacks across Europe that has created an atmosphere of fear, while the United Kingdom (UK)'s decision to withdraw from the EU has challenged the European project as we know it. The EU institutions and its Member States, as well as international institutions have been challenged in their response to refugees seeking asylum, and to the humanitarian crises in the Mediterranean. Equally, the election of President Trump has ushered in a new era of United States (US) unilateralism, creating a gap on the global agenda. This briefing aims to provide an assessment of recent developments in the area of EU humanitarian aid and outline elements that would be pertinent to consider in policy-making when reflecting on how to move forward on the post-2020 architecture of the EU external financing instruments, which affect EU humanitarian aid, and the needs surrounding the new EU budget.

International Migrants Day – 18 December

15-12-2017

Each year, 18 December is observed as International Migrants Day. Nominated by the United Nations General Assembly on 4 December 2000 in response to increasing migration in the world, the day aims to draw attention to the human rights of migrants, and highlight their contribution to our societies.

Each year, 18 December is observed as International Migrants Day. Nominated by the United Nations General Assembly on 4 December 2000 in response to increasing migration in the world, the day aims to draw attention to the human rights of migrants, and highlight their contribution to our societies.

The EU and faith-based organisations in development and humanitarian aid

08-11-2017

All over the world, faith-based organisations (FBOs) are active in the fields of development and humanitarian aid. Their faith-based character can stem from various dimensions (link to a religious organisation, funding, mission statement or main beneficiaries), but collectively they are important actors on the ground. Nonetheless, there is no fixed definition of an FBO, and in practice there are many different forms of FBO active in providing aid and development assistance. Indeed faith-based organisations ...

All over the world, faith-based organisations (FBOs) are active in the fields of development and humanitarian aid. Their faith-based character can stem from various dimensions (link to a religious organisation, funding, mission statement or main beneficiaries), but collectively they are important actors on the ground. Nonetheless, there is no fixed definition of an FBO, and in practice there are many different forms of FBO active in providing aid and development assistance. Indeed faith-based organisations are among the biggest NGOs active in the development and aid fields. In the past 20 years, national and international funders have developed an interest in better understanding and cooperating with FBOs. The World Bank, and a number of EU Member States have developed programmes and expertise in this field. Part of the reason for the growing interest in the work of FBOs is the recognition that religious affiliation often plays a major role in the beneficiary societies, and that working with religious leaders in those communities is often the most effective way of reaching local people. The European Union itself also cooperates with FBOs in development and humanitarian aid, through various programmes with civil society and on human rights. Nevertheless, the EU does not keep precise statistics, because the faith-based character of the beneficiary is not among the criteria for selecting them as partners.

US development policy: New priorities under President Trump

11-07-2017

The new administration of US President Donald Trump has put forward an 'America First' vision in the field of development policy. In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump requests the US Congress to scale back and refocus US political commitments and financial contributions in the areas of economic and development assistance, humanitarian aid and global health. Limited US foreign assistance funding will be prioritised on the regions, programmes and international organisations that most directly ...

The new administration of US President Donald Trump has put forward an 'America First' vision in the field of development policy. In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump requests the US Congress to scale back and refocus US political commitments and financial contributions in the areas of economic and development assistance, humanitarian aid and global health. Limited US foreign assistance funding will be prioritised on the regions, programmes and international organisations that most directly advance US national security and economic interests. The US reasoning is that other countries, other donors and the private sector will fill the resulting development policy gaps, through paying 'their fair share'. In line with his scepticism of multilateral agreements and international organisations, President Trump announced on 1 June 2017 that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. While the withdrawal will potentially take years, the USA will immediately cease contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which was not just established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, but also to help vulnerable societies adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Possible impacts of Brexit on EU development and humanitarian policies

05-04-2017

Brexit could have a major impact on EU development and humanitarian policies. However, although Brexit is highly likely to happen, there are still uncertainties about the UK’s new foreign policy approach and its repercussions on aid. The UK may act under three different scenarios (nationalist, realist, cosmopolitan) with different consequences for EU aid. The UK’s leaving would challenge the EU’s role as the world’s leading donor: EU aid may decrease by up to 3 % and it could lose between 10 % and ...

Brexit could have a major impact on EU development and humanitarian policies. However, although Brexit is highly likely to happen, there are still uncertainties about the UK’s new foreign policy approach and its repercussions on aid. The UK may act under three different scenarios (nationalist, realist, cosmopolitan) with different consequences for EU aid. The UK’s leaving would challenge the EU’s role as the world’s leading donor: EU aid may decrease by up to 3 % and it could lose between 10 % and 13 % of its world aid share. Its presence, through ODA, in neighbouring countries throughout Eastern Europe and North Africa could be particularly affected, with a cut of between 1 % and 4 %, depending on different scenarios. The EU could react to Brexit by adopting two distinct approaches to foreign policy and development cooperation: either limiting its role to that of a regional power or growing to become a global leader. In the first approach, Brexit would have a very mild effect and would lead to very few policy challenges. However, in the second, the EU would need to compensate for the loss of Britain’s contribution to EU aid, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

Išorės autorius

Iliana OLIVIÉ, senior analyst, and Aitor PÉREZ, senior research fellow, Elcano Royal Institute, Spain

Syrian crisis: Impact on Iraq

03-04-2017

The Syrian crisis, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into full-scale civil war, has had a huge impact on neighbouring Iraq. From its stronghold in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL/Da'esh), which originated in Iraq, was able to over-run a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, sowing death and destruction in its path and leading to the internal displacement of over 3 million Iraqis today. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Iraqis ...

The Syrian crisis, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into full-scale civil war, has had a huge impact on neighbouring Iraq. From its stronghold in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL/Da'esh), which originated in Iraq, was able to over-run a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, sowing death and destruction in its path and leading to the internal displacement of over 3 million Iraqis today. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Iraqis ─ almost a third of the population ─ may need humanitarian assistance this year to deal with the effects of continuous conflict and economic stagnation. Moreover, a quarter of a million Syrians have sought refuge in Iraq from the war raging in their country. Most have settled in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), increasing the population of this autonomous region by nearly 30 % over the past few years. The ─ mostly Kurdish ─ Syrian refugees were well received by the government of the Kurdish Region, which gave Syrians the right to work in the region and to enrol in public schools and universities. Nevertheless, the large influx of refugees has placed strains on the local economy and host communities, and on public services. Prices and unemployment have increased while wages have tumbled. Economic growth in the KRI has slowed, while the poverty rate has more than doubled. The international community has stepped in to assist Iraq in its fight against ISIL/Da'esh and to help the country deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by the unprecedented displacement of Iraqis, and Syrian refugees. As a result of concerted military efforts, ISIL/Da'esh now occupies less than 10 % of Iraqi territory. At the same time, funds and substantial amounts of humanitarian aid have been poured into the country, to support the displaced and facilitate their return to areas over which the Iraqi State has re-established control. The EU is a leading partner in the effort to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis on its Iraqi neighbours.

Mapping the future of Syria: State of play and options

23-03-2017

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire ...

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey in December 2016, including a monitoring mechanism for violations, opened the way for a new UN Security Council Resolution 2336 which was adopted unanimously on 31 December 2016. The resolution provided an impulse for re-booting the political process during the talks in Astana at the beginning of 2017. At the same time, the discussion about the future of Syria revolves around questions linked to the future of the Assad regime, territorial integrity of Syria, political accountability, the creation of safe zones, and the reconstruction work that will follow a potential peace agreement. In March 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented a joint communication providing elements of an EU strategy for Syria. For its part, the European Parliament has focused on addressing the implications of the refugee crisis, strengthening EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria and aid to vulnerable communities, and improving the EU response to the terrorist threat posed by ISIL/Da'esh.

Regional efforts to fight Boko Haram

13-02-2017

The cross-border dimension of the Boko Haram insurgency – one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups – has compelled the countries in the Lake Chad basin to coordinate their fight against it. Launched in 2014, the Multinational Joint Task Force has weakened the group, without fully defeating it. The acute humanitarian situation calls for an approach that goes beyond military intervention. This 'at a glance' note updates a previous edition from March 2015.

The cross-border dimension of the Boko Haram insurgency – one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups – has compelled the countries in the Lake Chad basin to coordinate their fight against it. Launched in 2014, the Multinational Joint Task Force has weakened the group, without fully defeating it. The acute humanitarian situation calls for an approach that goes beyond military intervention. This 'at a glance' note updates a previous edition from March 2015.

EU-Philippines relations: Beyond trade and aid?

17-01-2017

Recent controversial statements by new Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte are threatening to derail progress towards closer partnership between his country and the EU. Nevertheless, practical cooperation between the two sides, which began with European Community development aid 50 years ago, continues essentially unchanged. The EU and its Member States are still among the leading donors of aid to the Philippines, and EU-Philippines trade and investment is substantial. However, economic ties still ...

Recent controversial statements by new Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte are threatening to derail progress towards closer partnership between his country and the EU. Nevertheless, practical cooperation between the two sides, which began with European Community development aid 50 years ago, continues essentially unchanged. The EU and its Member States are still among the leading donors of aid to the Philippines, and EU-Philippines trade and investment is substantial. However, economic ties still offer considerable untapped potential. A free trade agreement is currently under negotiation. The two sides have already concluded a partnership and cooperation agreement, now awaiting ratification. Once in force, this will help to strengthen not only economic ties, but also cooperation in the many areas where the EU and the Philippines have shared interests, such as migration, fisheries and maritime labour. Particularly under Duterte's predecessor, the pro-Western Benigno Aquino (2010 2016), EU-Philippines relations were based not only on shared interests but also values. The Philippines is a democracy and, due to its history, one of the most westernised countries in Asia. Shared values have helped to make the country one of the EU's closest allies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While Duterte's anti-EU statements have not ended such cooperation, they have created uncertainty over future developments. The EU has adopted a wait-and-see approach; less cordial relations are likely to result.

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