Eliminating piracy in the Horn of Africa
MICHIEL HIJMANS, former commander of NATO’s anti-piracy ‘Operation Ocean Shield’ tracks the shift in piracy over the past two years and states that piracy had shifted significantly beyond the coast of Somalia and the inter-monsoon periods due to the deployment of ‘captured‘ mother-ships that carried more pirates and weaponry alongwith hostages, faster and for longer periods of time, aided by sophisticated navigation and communication systems onboard and supported by a piracy stock market.
In an article for Chatham House publication ‘The World Today’, “Threats of the sea“, he states that although the establishment of the Internationally recommended transit corridor (IRTC) through the Gulf of Aden, increased naval and aerial patrolling, ‚safe rooms‘ on board merchant ships, private security personnel and anti-pirate actions by local communities had helped in the fight against piracy, there were other dimensions such as economic and legal that needed to be tackled to eliminate the piracy problem which was now a 7-12 billion dollar problem with about 650 hostages at any given point in time.
He calls for an establishment of an international tribunal for piracy cases to develop a legal framework to prosecute pirates and ensure justice, capacity development in countries such as Seychelles and investment in Puntland to develop a strategic maritime hub to enable the development of alternatives to piracy for the local populace.
Geoengineering for climate change
DANIEL BODANSKY of the Arizona State University states that geoengineering, a concept encompassing a variety of approaches to counteract the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, covering Solar radiation management (limiting sunlight reaching the earth, through such diverse techniques such as cloud whitening, stratospheric aerosol injection or space-based mirrors) and Carbon dioxide removal (through enhanced weathering of rocks, mechanical trees, ocean fertilization) could increasingly become more salient if efforts to negotiate a new international agreement take too long to succeed. He states that unless the Kyoto Protocol could either be dramatically increased in scope or replaced by a new, more comprehensive agreement, global emissions will continue to rise and based on the current emissions trajectories, CO2 emissions could triple or quadruple by end of the century rather than double as has been currently estimated, potentially resulting in far more disastrous, non-linear effects of climate change.
In his discussion paper for the Harvard project on climate agreements, “Governing Climate Engineering: Scenarios for Analysis“, he states that this has resulted in increasing interest in geoengineering solutions to address climate change and explores the various options currently available as well as costs and benefits of each approach. He highlights the lack of an international governance framework covering geoengineering activities including tasks such as developing norms to guide scientific research, allocating jurisdiction among states to regulate individuals, elaborating rules that constrain state behavior, and establishing procedures to limit conflict among states and predicts that governance of geoengineering was more likely to develop through the extension of existing treaty regimes to cover various types of geoengineering than through the development of a single comprehensive regime.
Chinese Marine SEZs: Push to a greater blue economy
LIU SHUGUANG of the Ocean University of China reviews Beijing’s marine economic strategy in the wake of spate of approvals for marine economic development zones in Shandong, Zhejiang and Guangdong this year and explores their potential impact on neighboring countries, especially the littoral states of the regional seas.
In an RSIS commentary, “China’s Marine Economy: Opportunities for International Co-operation?”, he states that Beijing’s marine economy initiatives were an important part of its strategic reorientation to reduce export dependence and China’s stimulus package for its manufacturing sector and increasing inter-provincial competition accelerated the development of these marine zones centred around the Shandong peninsula to leverage China-Korea free trade agreement, Zhoushan archipelago in Zhejiang province and Guangdong to leverage the China-ASEAN free trade agreement.
He calls for a revamp of China’s traditional model characterised by extensive utilization of resources and spaces, FDI for land reclamation and irrational competition among provinces in favor of a shift to a blue economy based on management and conservation of marine resources and greater international co-operation for effective marine economic strategies.
A solution to Naga insurgency
NAMRATA GOSWAMI of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) states that the Naga ethnic conflict could be in the final stages of resolution with a proposal floated by the Union government for a non-territorial Naga council involving a pan-Naga supra state body that would enjoy legal authority over cultural, development and social rights of the Nagas across several states in the Northeast while law and order would remain within the respective states where the Nagas lived.
In an IDSA commentary, “A non-territorial resolution to the Naga ethnic conflict”, she states that this solution would amount to a special federal relationship recognizing the distinct identity of the Nagas and a guarantee of non-interference in their lifestyle.
She concludes that the present ‘supra-state’ proposition of non-territorial unification was a meaningful way to overcome the anxieties of other ethnic communities over the maximalist demand for Nagalim or unification of all Naga-inhabited areas in the NorthEast and calls upon New Delhi to work in consultation with the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur to resolve problem areas identified on the path towards non-territorial Naga council while the NSCN (IM) could work towards peaceful resolution of the insurgency.
World Energy Outlook 2011-35
The International Energy Agency assesses the threats and opportunities facing the global energy system based on an analysis of energy and climate trends and state that there is a wide difference between the current government policy commitments and the international goal of limiting the long-term increase in the global mean temperature to 2oC above pre-industrial levels highlighting the critical role of governments to define the objectives and implement the policies necessary to shape our energy future.
In its annual “World Energy Outlook 2011”, it affirms a shift in dynamics of energy markets away from the OECD countries, a 25 year investment of 38 trillion dollars in energy infrastructure with the share of fossil fuels in primary energy consumption declining slightly from 81% in 2010 to 75% in 2035.
It predicts an increasing role for natural gas both from conventional as well as unconventional sources, and a 15% share for non-hydro renewables by 2035. In one of the scenarios, India is projected to be the second largest coal consumer after China and the largest coal importer from the 2020s and coal could be boosted by widespread deployment of more efficient coal-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies while Russia’s large energy resources would underpin its continuing role as a cornerstone of the global energy economy over the coming decades.
G-20 annual progress card on the International Monetary System reforms
EDWIN TRUMAN, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics tracks the progress made by the G-20 over the past year on reform of the international monetary system over five key areas: i) surveillance of the global economy and financial system, ii) the international lender-of-last-resort mechanisms (global financial safety nets), iii) he management of global capital flows, iv) reserve assets and reserve currencies, and v) IMS governance.
In his policy brief for the PIIE Quarterly, “G-20 Reforms of the International Monetary System: An Evolution”, he states that little progress had been made on most of the topics except for commitments by a few countries to allow their automatic stabilizers to operate in the current slowdown and marginal steps forward on the issues of the lender-of-last-resort issues, and codification of the progress made on the management of capital flows. He concludes that although the G-20 summit at Cannes resulted in some useful mutual education, there wasn’t much more in terms of concrete accomplishments.