Over the past decade the United States and the international community have funded an unprecedented private security industry in Afghanistan. As a result, this industry has become entangled with the Afghan political economy, as international spending has been implicated in funding informal armed groups and commanders. Considerable uncertainty remains as Afghanistan approaches the 2014 deadline for assuming national security responsibilities.
The future of the development agenda is the subject of intensifying debate, with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) due to expire in 2015. Reaching agreement looks increasingly challenging, with the potential for sharp divisions between key actors on the scope and depth of the post- 2015 agenda. In this context, CIC's Emily O'Brien and Richard Gowan examine a series of international agreements across three other policy areas – environmental policy, financial regulation and human rights – to identify how successful agreements are designed, negotiated and implemented.
Global concern is currently mounting once more about the impacts of a more resource-scarce world, with particular attention focused at present on the risks of a renewed global food price spike following a spate of extreme weather in the US and around the world. These global trends have the potential to cause major problems for a country like Ethiopia, where wheat is by far the country's biggest import by value. Against this backdrop, CIC has published Resources, Risks and Resilience: Scarcity and climate change in Ethiopia, by CIC senior fellow Alex Evans.
The Rio+20 Summit will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and although many gains have been achieved over the past two decades, the climate change agenda continues to move at a glacial pace while at the same time climate risks are increasing. There is an urgent need to reenergize international will for meaningful progress in addressing climate change, achieving sustainable growth and development, and protecting the environment.
UN peacekeeping is increasingly under strain – over-deployed, heavily-mandated and under-resourced. This state of overstretch, coupled with continuing demand for new missions, presents a fundamental strategic challenge for the UN and its members. To adapt to the challenges facing peace operations, the international community must examine options for institutional improvements in UN peacekeeping as well as strategies for responding to emerging global trends.