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  Weekly readings

Reading Of The Week: The State of Climate Ambition

[ © United Nations Development Programme ]

 Against a backdrop of increasing scientific concern and public awareness about the climate crisis, UNDP set out to review if policymakers were keeping the promises they made in 2019 when the global state of climate ambition was assessed with UNFCCC in the first NDC Global Outlook report, The Heat is On. We were curious. Is the Paris Agreement working? And if yes, then who is doing the work? Which countries are leading the way on ambition – and which ones are falling behind?  

The De-Globalisation of Oil Risks and Implications from the Politicisation of Energy Markets

[ © Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) ]

 The EU’s announced ban on Russian oil imports is a strong political measure that will heavily impact international energy markets, restricting the supply of 4.1 million barrels per day (mbd) of oil and derivates to a market which is a net importer of 10.72 mbd.  

Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains

[ © International Energy Agency ]

 Solar PV is a crucial pillar of clean energy transitions worldwide, underpinning efforts to reach international energy and climate goals. Over the last decade, the amount of solar PV deployed around the world has increased massively while its costs have declined drastically.  

The unrealized potential of cooperative security in the Arab Gulf

[ © NATO Defense College Policy Brief ]

 Over the past three decades, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has undergone a geopolitical transformation, punctuated by a series of critical junctures: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1991, the American and NATO operations in Afghanistan the following decade, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Arab uprisings of 2011. These regional geopolitical shifts – often dictated by domestic drivers – have been accompanied by global geostrategic changes. As a result, the Gulf sub-region, encompassing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran, has emerged as the new center of gravity in the MENA region.  

Iraq must compromise between majoritarianism and consensus government formation

[ © Al Jazeera ]

 Iraq's current institutions offer no enforceable compromise between consensus rule and majority rule. The popularity of Sadr's current farming shows that many Iraqis oppose the consensus system. With no path to compromise, violence between these two groups is difficult to avoid.  

The Specter of Politics as Usual in Kenyas 2022 Election

[ © Carnegie Endowment For International peace ]

 Kenya’s election season is now in its final stretch. On August 9, 2022, voters across the country and members of the diaspora will head to the polls for another general election. Nationally, two front-runners—Deputy President William Ruto and long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga—are facing off in a contentious race to succeed outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is completing his second and final term in office. This election cycle comes at a time of significant economic discontent, with many Kenyans concerned about rising costs of living, public debt, and pervasive corruption. Given that Kenyatta is not up for reelection and that the country’s ruling coalition has splintered, Kenya will see a leadership change no matter what the outcome is.  

The Boko Haram Conflict and Food Insecurity: Does Resilience Capacity Matter?

[ © Center For The Studies of African Economies (CSAE) ]

 As the frequency of natural disasters and civil conflicts spikes globally, rapid response systems, the likes of early warning systems facilitating rapid intervention, assume prominence (Smith & Frankenberger, 2018). While such interventions alleviate crises, they seldom address the underlying vulnerability. Occasionally, the short-term interventions generate serial dependence of individuals and households on aid and handouts (Alinovi et al., 2008; Bene et al., 2016). Some of these concerns motivate the recent calls for the resilience approach to development, whereby building resilience capacity becomes a primary concern of development planning and emergency interventions (Tendall et al., 2015).  

Reading of the Week: Assessing the Job Creation Potential of the Social economy in the MENA Region


 The role of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the process of job creation and formalization of the informal economy has been understudied. This policy study aims to examine the issue of widespread youth employment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the mismatch between labor supply and demand to promote the creation of start-up businesses to formalize these enterprises.  

African Participation in WTO E-Commerce Negotiations: Policy Positions and Development Issues

[ © The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) ]

 In comparison with other regions, such as Asia and Europe, Africa’s participation in the digital economy is relatively limited. However, the growing demand for e-commerce, combined with pandemic-related restrictions, has highlighted the significance of digitalization for the African continent. Perhaps more importantly, the pandemic has brought to light the deep digital divide that exists between developed and developing countries.  

African gas supplies to Europe: between hopes and hard realities

[ © The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies ]

 The consequences of the ongoing war in Ukraine continue to be a key topic of interest and concern for politicians, international organizations, journalists, and researchers. Following the decision of the European Union (EU) to significantly reduce its reliance on Russian gas supplies, as formulated in its REPowerEU plan, EU member states have been seeking non-Russian sources of gas imports in an attempt to secure additional and\or new gas supplies. Africa’s natural gas reserve holders are among the first countries under consideration.  

Resolving the Gas Dispute with Lebanon: First Exhaust Diplomatic Efforts

[ © The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) ]

 The launch of UAVs by Hezbollah toward the Karish gas field was intended to convey a twofold message – to Israel and to the Lebanese – against the backdrop of Israel’s determination to continue production from this field and the renewed diplomatic effort initiated by Lebanon to resolve the maritime border dispute between the countries.  

The Middle East Transition We Need to Talk About

[ © Center for Strategic and International Studies ]

 We have been hearing about transitions in the Middle East for years now. There was the hoped-for democratic transition, which has been a bust. There is an energy transition looming. There is, arguably, a water transition afoot as aquifer depletion, surface-water exhaustion, and climate change all combine to make a mostly arid region profoundly more so. But an equally profound transition may be one few are talking about: a labor transition that may reorder the economics, politics, and society of the entire Middle East, from Casablanca to Tehran.