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Newsletter No.4 - October 2010
Issue No.4 | October 2010 

Climate Change:
Experts Propose Regional Policy Action Plan

  The issue of climate change was recently tackled at a four-day workshop co-hosted at IFI jointly with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and the League of Arab States, where the focus concentrated on four key areas; mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance. The workshop also provided training on how to formulate scientifically-sound policies, offered a review on the current state and practices of national climate change planning, and proposed recommendations to strengthen the abilities of national institutions in the region.
  “Mitigation, adaptation, financing, and technology are now the critical four elements,” said Rami Khouri, director of IFI, during his opening remarks at the workshop. “I would add the fifth element of political will and capacity....We need to address it far more vigorously at the level of both policy analysis and political decision-making than has been the case to date in the Arab world.”
  Present at the workshop were representatives from UNEP, ISESCO, and officials and experts from 12 Arab countries. Initially, discussions focused around climate change manifestations in the West Asia region, defining a national climate change policy framework, assessing the costs and benefits of mitigation actions and technologies, and using impacts and vulnerability assessments to formulate strategies and actions. By the final day, all participants moved towards creating a climate change action plan for the Arab world.

Read Regional Training Worskshop agenda

International Affairs:
Goldstone Commissioners Stress Accountablility

  The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, informally known as the Goldstone Commission, emphasized that no state or non-state actor can violate international law without facing accountability during armed conflict. Follow-up to The Goldstone Report will set a precedence whereby a mechanism will be put into place to penalize and hold parties accountable for violations of international laws and the execution of war crimes.
  These were key themes during a recent panel discussion at AUB hosted by IFI's UN in the Middle East Initiative, by two of the four member mission, Ms Hina Jilani, a prominent human rights attorney in Pakistan, and Colonel Desmond Travers, a retired Irish officer and UN peacekeeper, who discussed the mandate of the Commission, its findings, how it was received around the world, and its ongoing political, legal, military, and social relevance.
  According to Ms Jilani, the report relied primarily on information gathered first-hand. All documents and testimonies were carefully cross-referenced to ensure accuracy, and information that could not be verified was not used. The research showed that, as a result of the Israeli raids on Gaza in early 2009, 1,387 individuals were killed, with a further 5,000 injured; 3,354 homes were destroyed, and a total of 11,112 were damaged.
  In contrast to Ms Jilani’s humanitarian perspective, Colonel Travers focused solely on the military aspect of Operation Cast Lead. His findings revealed that there were four main phases to the operation; bombardment, ground assault, consolidation, and withdrawal. He stated that throughout these phases, an emphasis on the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure was readily identifiable.

Read a summary of The Goldstone Report panel discussion

Reasearch, Advocacy and Public Policy-making:
New Research Challenges Lebanese Tobacco Policy

  53 per cent of Lebanese adults are smokers (all types of tobacco). 60 per cent of Lebanese youth aged between 13 and 15 are smokers. Lebanese women have the highest female smoking rates in the region. Conservative estimates show that the net effect of smoking costs the Lebanese economy $55.4 million per year. These were just some of the findings revealed by Dr Jad Chaaban at the launch of ‘The Economics of Tobacco in Lebanon; an Estimation of the Social Costs of Tobacco’, a research report produced by the AUB Tobacco Control Research Group and sponsored by the Issam Fares Institute. The report aims to analyze the Lebanese tobacco market and assess how this market has affected the Lebanese economy.
  Further statistics revealed in Dr Chaaban’s presentation included the fact that at least 2,700 Lebanese die every year because of smoking, 1,000 new cases are diagnosed with smoking-related cancer every year, and the poorest Lebanese families spend more on tobacco than on education. Recommendations include stricter tobacco control policies and the need for public intervention regarding the consumption of tobacco-related products.

Read more

Research in Focus

“Policy Innovation and Diffusion in the Gulf Countries” : The cases of Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Dubai

  Hiba Khodr and Danyel Reiche of the Political Studies and Public Administration department at AUB have completed a research paper with the aim of examining the process of policy innovation and innovation diffusion in the Arab world, looking at three specific case-studies in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, Education City in Qatar, and Healthcare City in Dubai.

  Working along the lines that the definition of policy innovation translates into a policy that is new to the particular state attempting to adapt it, Khodr and Reiche analyze policy innovation by identifying the internal factors of policy and policy innovation in the region, as well as determining the underlying and overt causes for the diffusion of such policy innovations to neighboring countries.

  This research is one of the first academic works of its kind in attempting to explain innovation and diffusion within a policy context in the Arab world. Throughout, the study analyzes the ability of countries in the Arab region to adapt and implement policy innovations, and focuses on geographic innovation diffusion.

Related article:

Renewable Energy Policies in the Gulf countries: A case study of the carbon-neutral "Masdar City" in
Abu Dhabi

by Daniel Reiche

published in
Energy Policy, Volume 38,
Issue 1, January 2010

Ethics in Public Policy
"Killing People as Side Effect"

A lecture and open discussion with Gerhard Overland, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics Project Leader, University of Oslo.

Listen Audio ||| Watch Video

Ethics in Public Policy
"On Not Believing in Justified Wars without Being a Pacifist"

A lecture and open discussion with Uwe Steinhoff, Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong.

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International Affairs
"Understanding the International Criminal Court (ICC): Mandate, Scope and Relevance for the Arab Region"

A lecture and open discussion with Fadi El Abdallah, Associate Legal Outreach Officer at the International Criminal Court.

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Bill and Sally Hambrecht Peacemakers Lecture Series
"The Public as Peace-Maker: How polling in divided societies can promote negotiated agreements"

A lecture and open discussion with Colin Irwin, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.

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Research Briefing
"Understanding Jihadi Ideology"

A lecture and open discussion with Nelly Lahoud, Assistant Professor of Political Theory at Goucher College, Baltimore, MD and Associate, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Listen Audio

Climate Change / Food Security
"Climate Change, US Agricultural Policy, and Food Security: Lessons and Implications for the Middle East?"

A lecture and open discussion with Eric Schuck, Fullbright Visiting Professor, Department of Agricultural Sciences, AUB.

Listen Audio

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