Seeking Sustainability Leadership
published in: The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 60, December 2016
Authors: Jem Bendell (University of Geneva / Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria)Richard Little (Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria)
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 renewed the international community's commitment to seeking progress by integrating interests on environment and development. They were launched with a call for more action to secure advances in poverty alleviation, amongst other social goals.
The SDGs coincide with more call for “leadership” to enable progress. Across the UN system and international organisations more generally, it is widely admitted that more leadership is necessary. At a time when concepts and practices of leadership are being discussed more widely in the international community, this article can contribute to the professional development and organisatonal culture within IOs.
Sustainable livelihoods in the global land rush? Archetypes of livelihood vulnerability and sustainability potentials
Publication forthcoming in: Global Environmental Change
Authors: Christoph Oberlack,a,b , Laura Tejadaa, Peter Messerlia,b, Stephan Rista,b, Markus Gigera
aUniversity of Bern, Centre for Development and EnvironmentbUniversity of Bern, Institute of Geography
Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) have become a cornerstone of current transformations of agro–food–energy systems at a global scale. LSLAs involve the transfers of rights to use, control, or own land from smallholder households or communities to corporate actors (e.g. commercial firms, public investment funds) through sale, lease, or concession of large areas, typically larger than 200 hectares.
Proponents conceive such large-scale investments in land as a prime development opportunity for resource-rich, but capital-poor countries, arguing that LSLAs would involve the transfer of capital and technology, creation of employment, new business opportunities as well as technological and socio-economic spillovers for local economies in their target regions. By contrast, critics of this global land rush point to significant adverse impacts including displacement of land users, the appropriation of water and food by corporate investors, and exacerbation of social conflicts.
Correspondingly, international organisations have been working actively to establish international guidelines and principles that support actors in governing the global land rush. This paper aims to contribute to such understanding by analyzing recurrent patterns of factors and processes through which LSLA generate impacts on the livelihoods of land users in their target regions. The results point to set of key factors and processes explaining the varying outcome of the global land rush.
The New Gold Standard? Empirically Situating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Investment Treaty Universe
Published in: The Journal of World Investment and Trade, Volume 17 (2016), pages 333-373
Wolfgang Alschner, The Graduate Institute, Geneva and World Trade Institute, Bern Dimitriy Skougarevskiy, European University, St. Petersburg and the Graduate Institute, Geneva
The article features a novel approach in transposing techniques from computer science to the analysis of law. The submitted contribution was the first to empirically situate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in the universe of international investment agreements two months after the first publication of its text.
It stands for an innovate way to digest and analyze legal materials. International treaty networks become increasingly complex and treaties grow in length posing new challenges for international organizations. Text-as-data analysis of law helps to render legal information manageable by applying big data solutions to big data problems. To enhance the accessibility of the research results for the benefit of the international community, the authors also developed a web service accompanying the paper: http://mappinginvestmenttreaties.com/specials/tpp/
The jury, composed of members of the International Geneva Committee, attributed the 2015 International Geneva Award to the following peer reviewed articles in the field of international studies. These articles were selected out of eighteen submissions received. Each paper will be awarded with a prize amounting to CHF 5'000.
Crisis-Proof Services: Why Trade in Services did not Suffer During the 2008-2009 Collapse
Published in: Journal of International Economics, 2016, Vol. 98, pp. 138-149
Author: Andrea Ariu, Institute of Economics and Econometrics, University of Geneva
During the 2008-2009 crisis, trade in goods fell by almost 30%. In contrast, trade in business, telecommunication and financial services continued growing at their pre-crisis rates and only services related to transport declined.
Using trade data at the firm-product-destination level for Belgium, this paper shows that export of services is more resilient during economic crises. In particular, negative income shocks in partner countries affect exports of goods but not exports of services. This difference is economically sizable: if goods exports had had the same elasticity to GDP growth as services exports, their fall during the 2008-2009 collapse would have been only half what was observed.
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Conflicts of Interest in International Organizations: Evidence from two United Nations Humanitarian Agencies
Published in: Public Administration (PADM), 2015, Vol. 93, Issue 4
Valentina Mele, Bocconi University
Simon Anderfuhren-Biget, University of Geneva
Frédéric Varone, University of Geneva
The independence of International Civil Servants (ICSs) from their country of origin is often presumed but rarely accounted for empirically. This paper investigates whether ICSs face conflicts between national and international interests and which conditions are more conducive to the manifestation of this conflict in International Organizations.
The research includes a survey with 1400 respondents working in two United Nations humanitarian organizations, followed by semi-structured interviews to a purposive sample of respondents. The findings show that such conflicts matter for ICSs, hierarchical grade has stronger explanatory power than the other factors, and the higher the level in the International Organization, the less frequently ICSs face conflict. The qualitative analysis explains this result by pointing to the effects of socialization among ICSs but also by shedding light on a related effect: dilution of national identity, as well as on the implications of locally recruiting lower-level staff.
Scaling the Local: Canada’s Rideau Canal and Shifting World Heritage Norms
Publication forthcoming in: Journal of World History 26, n°3
Aurélie Gfeller, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Jaci Eisenberg, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Challenges to the predominantly European conception of heritage enshrined in the 1972 World Heritage Convention arose in the early 1990s, both from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and its member states. In 1992, the Friends of the Rideau, a Canadian non-governmental organisation in charge of the eponymous canal’s heritage, launched a campaign to inscribe their site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Canadian government, spurred to action by the Friends’ initiative, took the lead in orchestrating the diplomatic ballet necessary to validate canals as a form of World Heritage―one that challenged the predominantly European aesthetic understanding of heritage. The Friends’ and Canada’s interactions in favor of inscribing the Rideau demonstrate how global norms can be appropriated by local communities, and how the process can in turn influence the very same global norms. This work is pertinent for practitioners in international organisations because it explores the interplay between global norms created and espoused by international organisations and the local communities to which these norms apply. This case study shows an exchange from the global level to the local level, and back up to the global level, rather than simply a uni-directional flow from global to local. Furthermore, this case provides empirical evidence for the legitimizing function of expertise in international organisations.
The members of the International Geneva Committee, acting as the jury, attributed the 2014 International Geneva Award to the following peered reviewed articles in the field of international studies. These articles were selected out of eighteen submissions received. In their assessment, the jury highlighted the original approach, aspects of interdisciplinarity and, above all, direct policy relevance to International Organisations.
Boomerangs to Partnerships ? Explaining State Participation in Transnational Partnerships for Sustainability
Published in: Comparative Political Studies, March 2014, vol. 47, no 3, pages 481-515
Author: Liliana B. Andonova
This article examines under what conditions states engage in transnational public–private partnerships for the environment. While there is hardly a disagreement in the literature on the rise of transnational actors and new modes of collaborative governance, their interaction with and impact on state institutions remain debated and insufficiently illuminated by empirical research.
Some scholars of globalization interpret transnational partnerships as evidence of state insufficiency and retreat, others emphasize the continued primacy of state power in manipulating old and new institutional arenas, still other scholars anticipate the “rearticulation” of the state to partake in new governance. This study is one of the first to examine theoretically and empirically, using a sample of some 230 partnerships, how domestic capacity, the constituencies of transnational actors, as well as international donors and institutions shape the variable rearticulation of the state to partake in partnerships. A comparative case study of Brazil and Russia provides further detail on the political dynamics that enable or constrain state-society collaborations for the environment.
Strategic Mass Killings
Publication forthcoming in the Journal of Political Economy
Joan Esteban, Institut dí Analisis Economica, CSIC and Barcelona GSE Massimo Morelli, Columbia University and NBER Dominic Rohner, University of Lausanne
Civil wars are often paved with atrocities and massive killings of civilian non-combatant population, forcing large-scale displacements of entire ethnic groups. Libya, Syria, Iraq, or Ukraine, are pertinent contemporary examples. Irrational hatred is often invoked as primary explanation of such an inhuman behavior.
The article “Stragic Mass Killings” (forthcoming in Journal of Political Economy) examines the possibility that, even if individual perpetrators surely are guided by blind hatred, the instigators might be guided instead by rational calculation. In a civil war the winner has to live side by side with the defeated group, and hence reducing the population size of the opponent allows the victorious group a larger share of the surplus in the future. This research shows that the incentives for mass killings vary with economic and institutional conditions, being especially sensitive to dependence on natural resource rents and low levels of labor productivity.
What can the international community do to prevent abuse by the victorious group? Will the pressure for a fair treatment of the loser or a cap on the tolerable atrocities be beneficial? The article examines the policy implications and characterizes the conditions under which such policies may end up triggering rather than avoiding the mass killings of civilians.
International and Supranational Law in Translation: From Multilingual Lawmaking to Adjudication
Published in: The Translator, Vol. 20, Iss. 3, 2014, pages 313-331
Author: Fernando Prieto Ramos, Centre for Legal and Institutional Translation Studies, University of Geneva
This paper analyses the defining features of legal translation in the development of international and supranational law, taking a comparative approach between different organisations, particularly the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the European Union and their respective adjudicative bodies.
The scope and communicative conditions of legal translation in such settings are first described, including processes of lawmaking, law application and adjudication. In the legal contextualisation of translational action, emphasis is placed on the interconnection between different sources of law, the hybridity of legal texts and discourses, and the interplay between international and national levels of rulemaking and enforcement. The challenges encountered by the translator in the search for maximum accuracy are then reviewed with a focus on terminological problems, quality assurance and ambiguity. Finally, the examination of linguistic concordance in adjudication procedures further highlights the special contribution of legal translators to the functioning of each international or supranational legal order, and recommendations are made to better acknowledge and benefit from this contribution.
The Jury, composed of members of the International Geneva Committee, selected following peer reviewed articles, deemed particularly relevant for International Organisations. Each paper will be awarded with a prize amounting to CHF 5'000. The launch of the next edition of the International Geneva Award will take place at the end of 2014.
How Can African Agriculture Adapt to Climate Change? A Counterfactual Analysis from Ethiopia
Published in: Land Economics - November 2013, No 83, pages 761-784.
Authors: Salvatore Di Falco (Professor of Environmental Economics, University of Geneva) and Marcella Veronesi (University of Verona - Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich).
Effective adaptation of agriculture to climate change is crucial to achieve food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. This part of Africa is characterised by millions of small-scale subsistence farmers who farm land and produce food in extremely challenging conditions.
The production environment is characterised by a joint combination of low land productivity and harsh weather conditions. Climate change is projected to further reduce food security. It is therefore vital to identify climate change adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study analyses the impact of different adaptation strategies on crop revenues in the Nile Basin in Ethiopia. It answers the following questions: What are the factors affecting the adoption of strategies in isolation or in combination? What are the best strategies that can be implemented to deal with climate change in the field and what are the economic implications of different strategies? The authors come to the conclusions that changing crop varieties has a positive and significant impact on net revenues when coupled with water conservation strategies or soil conservation strategies, but not when implemented in isolation.
Evaluating Nationwide Health Interventions: Malawi's Insecticide Treated Net Distribution Program
published in: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A, Volume 177, Issue 2, pages 523 – 552 – February 2014
Authors: Eva Deuchert (Center for Disability and Integration, University of St. Gallen), and Conny Wunsch (Department of Economics, VU University Amsterdam).
With 216 million malaria cases worldwide in 2010, 174 million of which in Africa, malaria is a major health problem. Fighting malaria is thus a key priority for many countries. Various countries have implemented ITN distribution schemes to fight the disease.
Malawi was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch a nationwide ITN distribution scheme in 2002 which served as a role model for many other countries.
The authors evaluate in their study Malawi's main malaria prevention campaign, a nationwide insecticide-treated-net (ITN) distribution scheme, in terms of its effect on infant mortality. Eva Deuchert and Conny Wunsch use novel, alternative methodology in their research. Their findings conclude that Malawi's ITN distribution campaign reduced all-cause mortality by about 1 percentage point, which corresponds to about 40% of the total reduction in infant mortality from 8.2% to 5.4% over the study period.
Published in: Review of International Political Economy,
Volume 21, Issue 3, pages 611-639, 2014
Author: Chris Humphrey, Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), University of Zürich.
This paper explores the political factors that determine the price of loans offered by borrowing countries by multilateral development banks (MDBs). The reasons why MDBs set their prices at a given level and why those prices might vary from one MDB to another has received scant attention in academia, even though inexpensive loan costs are the primary reason countries borrow from MDBs.
The paper explores these issues in three MDBs, each with a different composition of shareholding countries - the World Bank (controlled by wealthy non-borrowing countries), the Inter-American Development Bank (more evenly balanced between non-borrowing and borrowing countries) and the Andean Development Corporation (controlled by borrowing countries). Evidence indicates that MDB shareholder composition has a major impact on loan prices, in sometimes unexpected ways. While the backing of wealthy countries allows the World Bank and IADB to raise resources on capital markets more cheaply than the Andean Development Corporation, the interests of those same non-borrowing countries in using MDB net income make loan costs significantly higher at those MDBs - especially the World Bank - than they would be otherwise. These results provide support to an institutionalist approach in focusing on the importance of shareholding and voting rules to better understand MDB activities.
The Academic Council of International Geneva, acting as a Jury, carefully evaluated the submitted articles according to criteria such as originality of research, strong methodology, interdisciplinary aspects and above all, immediate policy relevance for International Organisations. Three articles – among twenty submission, unanimously convinced the Jury.
Given the tight competition among the submitted articles, the Jury decided to attribute a special mention to the article “Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Private Banking: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Joining the Wolfsberg Initiative Against Money Laundering” submitted by Martino Maggetti (University of Zürich).
The International Geneva Award 2012 is attributed to the authors of the following three articles:
The Peaceful Conspiracy: Bond Markets and International Relations During the Pax Britannica
published in: International Organization 66, Spring 2012, pp. 211-41
Authors: Marc Flandreau (Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva) and Juan Flores (Institute Paul Bairoch of Economic History, and Department of Economic Sciences, University of Geneva)
"This article provides foundations to Polanyi’s famed argument that monopoly power in the global capital market served as an instrument of peace during the Pax Britannica (1815–1914).
Our perspective is novel - we focus on the role of intermediaries and certification. We show that when information and enforcement are imperfect, there is scope for the endogenous emergence of “prestigious” intermediaries who enjoy a monopoly position and as a result, control government actions.
They can implement conditional lending: they subject the distribution of credit to the adoption of peaceful policies. Prestigious intermediaries act that way because of their concern with maintaining an unblemished track record when wars increased risks of default.
Our analysis, which brings together insights from different disciplines, provides a significant extension to, and departure from, recent research on how countries accumulate reputational capital."
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View related press article published in the magazine "Alternatives Economiques" (No 313 - May 2012).
Factors Determining the Adoption and Impact of a Postharvest Storage Technology
published in: Food Security, Volume 4, Number 2 (2012), pp 279-293
Authors: Raushan Bokusheva and Robert Finger (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH, Zürich), Martin Fischler (HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Bern, Switzerland), Robert Berlin (Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Basel, Switzerland), Yuri Marin, Francisco Pérez, Francisco Paiz (Institute of Applied Research and Local Development (Nitplan), Managua, Nicaragua
"This paper evaluates the determinants and impact of adopting the metal silo—a postharvest storage technology for staple grains—which was disseminated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) from 1983 to 2003 in four Central American countries.
The aim of the SDC program was to diminish smallholder farmers’ postharvest losses by facilitating the manufacture and dissemination of metal silos and thereby to improve regional food security. Our empirical analysis is based on a unique data set obtained from a survey of 1,600 households from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
We employed a double-hurdle model to identify factors that contributed to the adoption of metal silos and used Tobit and standard regression models to assess the impact of adopting the silos on food security and well-being of households.
Our results show that both the household demand for metal silos and the impact of their adoption varied across the four countries, demonstrating the relevance of regional policies for their adoption, as well as their impact. Furthermore, our results indicate that, in addition to achieving household self-sufficiency in maize, the main determinants of adoption were household socio-economic characteristics such as age, land ownership, completion of a training course and quality of basic infrastructure.
Finally, when considering a group of economic and social indicators of household well-being, we found that, compared to the silo non-adopters, the adopter households experienced a significant improvement in their food security and well-being between 2005 and 2009."
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Climate Change and International Water Conflict in Central Asia
published in: Journal of Peace Research, January 2012 (49)1, 227 - 239
Authors:Thomas Bernauer (ETH Zürich, Center for Comparative and International Studies, and Institute for Environmental Decisions) and Tobias Siegfried (hydrosolutions GmbH, Zürich)
"We engage in a critical assessment of the neo-malthusian claim that climatic changes can be an important source of international tensions, in the extreme even militarized interstate disputes. The most likely scenario is conflict over water allocation in international catchments shared by poorer, less democratic, and politically less stable countries, governed by weak international water management institutions, and exposed to severe climatic changes.
The Syr Darya in Central Asia, which is part of the Aral Sea basin, corresponds quite well to all these characteristics. If the neo-malthusian specter of conflict over water is empirically relevant, we should see signs of this in the Syr Darya.
The riparian countries of the Aral Sea basin have experienced international disputes over water allocation ever since the USSR collapsed and, with it, existing water management institutions and funding. The worst such dispute concerns the Syr Darya, one of the two largest rivers in Central Asia.
Based on hydrological data and other information we find that the only existing international water management institution in the Syr Darya has failed.
Based on a coupled climate, land-ice and rainfall- runoff model for the Syr Darya, we then examine whether, in the absence of an effective international water allocation mechanism, climate change is likely to make existing international tensions over water allocation worse.
We find that climate change-induced shifts in river runoff, to which the Uzbek part of the Syr Darya catchment is particularly vulnerable, and which could contribute to a deterioration of already strained Kyrgyz–Uzbek relations, are likely to set in only in the medium to long-term.
This leaves some time for the riparian countries to set up an effective international framework for water allocation and prevention of climate-induced geohazards. By implication, our findings suggest that a climate change-induced militarized interstate dispute over water resources in Central Asia is unlikely."
The Winners of the 2011 Edition of the International Geneva Award
The award Jury, composed of members of the Academic Council of International Geneva, selected the following three articles that convinced by their originality, the strong methodology and direct relevance for International Organizations.
Democracy promotion through functional cooperation? The case of the European Neighbourhood Policy
Forthcoming in: Democratization, Volume 18, Issue 4, Pages 1026 to 1054, August 2011
Dr. Tina Freyburg, Centre for Comparative and International Studies, ETH ZurichProf. Sandra Lavenex, Institute for Political Sciences, University of LucerneProf. Frank Schimmelfennig, Centre for Comparative and International Studies, ETH ZurichDr. Tatiana Skripka, KFG "The Transformative Power of Europe", Free University of Berlin, andDr. Anne Wetzel, Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University, Belgium
The article highlights the conditions under which functional cooperation in specific policy areas can advance principles of democratic governance in non-democratic countries and thus contribute to the internationally recognised objective of democratisation. While focusing on the EU, the study is of broader relevance, in particular for International Organisations (IOs) that are specialized in certain policy fields.International democracy promotion has become a widely recognised objective and IOs have a role to play in its realisation. While the contribution to democracy promotion is evident for the activities of some organizations (e.g. in the UNDP’s electoral assistance programmes and UN Democracy Fund’s initiatives to strengthen parliaments), it is less obvious for sectorally specialized IOs. However, the article shows that internationally codified sector specific governance rules often contain elements of democratic governance, i.e. provisions on transparency, accountability, and public participation.
The article suggests that two factors which turned out to be conducive to the successful adoption of elements of democratic governance by a non-democratic country are particularly relevant for IOs: the strong codification of rules of democratic governance in international documents and a high institutionalization of cooperation between the IO and the partner state.
International law and armed non-state actors in Afghanistan
Published in: International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 93, Number 881, March 2011
Dr. Annyssa Bellal,Gilles Giacca andDr. Stuart Casey-Maslen
Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
This paper addresses the international legal implications of the armed conflict taking place in Afghanistan focusing on armed non-state actors. The article examines the applicability of international humanitarian law and human rights law to armed non-state actors and addresses important controversies on that topic. In clarifying some of those issues from a legal point of view the article contains conclusions relevant for military and political decisions makers. It also provides a list of policy recommendations to those international organisations involved in the field on how to enhance respect for international law by armed non-state actors. For this section, the authors built up on one of their key research projects led at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Pathology of Path-Dependency?
The ILO and the Challenge of "New Governance"
forthcoming in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Prof. Lucio Baccaro, Sociology Department, University of GenevaDr. Valentina Mele, Dept. of Institutional Analysis and Public Management, Bocconi University, Milan
The "challenge of new governance" – which is examined in this paper through an in-depth case study of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – is a common feature of most International Organizations (IOs) seeking to adapt to global socio-economic changes. "New governance" as defined in this paper includes a shift from standards expressed as detailed legal norms to "soft law", the active involvement of civil society organizations and NGOs in the decision-making process as well as the introduction of quantitative indicators tracking the level of compliance with the standards set by the IO.While most literature considers the transition to a new governance mode a smooth evolutionary process made functionally inevitable by shifts in the external environment, the authors show in this paper that nothing is automatic in this process. The transition can be highly demanding, both from a political and an organizational point of view.
The in-depth investigation of the ILO case contributes to the analytical toolkit of policy-makers and managers of IOs by emphasizing the role of leadership and the internal governance structure in promoting the change process; identifying which mechanisms of resistance can stall or delay the change process; discussing the crucial role of members states and other stakeholders in supporting the change process initiated by the organizational leadership.
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