Online Publications

8 03 2006


    The 2006 Index of Economic Freedom, www.heritage.org/research/features/index/. Produced by the Heritage Foundation, the publication measures 161 countries against a list of 50 independent variables divided into 10 broad factors of economic freedom. Low scores are more desirable. The higher the score on a factor, the greater the level of government interference in the economy and the less economic freedom a country enjoy. The index is available for download in either English or French, www.heritage.org/research/features/index/downloads.cfm.

    Abuse Without End: Burmese Refugee Women and Children at Risk of Trafficking, http://tinyurl.com/eqb8d. This report considers the position of female Burmese refugees living in Thailand. The document provides a detailed background to the situation in Thai refugee camps and the treatment of refugees, migrant workers as well as a discussion on the prevalence of trafficking in women and the sex industry in Thailand.

    The African Digital Commons, a Participant’s Guide, 2005, www.commons-sense.org/pages/encyclopedia.htm. “A conceptual map of the people, projects and processes that contribute to the development of shared, networked knowledge across the African continent.”

    Are donor countries giving more or less aid?, www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2006/wp0601.pdf. A working paper that looks at how the volume of foreign aid has increased during the last four decades, albeit with interruptions in certain years.

    eNonprofit Benchmark Study, http://tinyurl.com/z82wc. “The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study is the first of its kind look at the effectiveness of major American nonprofit organizations using the Internet to raise money and influence public policy. The study is a tool that nonprofits can use to measure and compare their online performance to other organizations’ online programs.” Note that though the focus on the study is on American-based NPOs, the points raised in this study apply to any organization that chooses to utilize their web-presence for fundraising. Worth a read.

    The Filtering Matrix: Integrated mechanisms of information control and the demarcation of borders in cyberspace, www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_1/villeneuve/index.html. “Increasingly, states are adopting practices aimed at regulating and controlling the Internet as it passes through their borders. Seeking to assert information sovereignty over their cyberterritory, governments are implementing Internet content filtering technology at the national level. The implementation of national filtering is most often conducted in secrecy and lacks openness, transparency, and accountability. Policymakers are seemingly unaware of significant unintended consequences, such as the blocking of content that was never intended to be blocked. Once a national filtering system is in place, governments may be tempted to use it as a tool of political censorship or as a technological “quick fix” to problems that stem from larger social and political issues. As nontransparent filtering practices meld into forms of censorship the effect on democratic practices and the open character of the Internet are discernible. States are increasingly using Internet filtering to control the environment of political speech in fundamental opposition to civil liberties, freedom of speech, and free expression. The consequences of political filtering directly impact democratic practices and can be considered a violation of human rights.”

    Four Years of Transition in Serbia, http://tinyurl.com/g6j8n. A report by the Serbian Center for Liberal Democratic Studies (CLDS) that captures lessons learned from the last four years of reform in the country.

    Getting Into the Kitchen: Media Strategies for Research, www.panos.org.uk/files/relay_into_the_kitchen.pdf. This paper by the Panos Institute explores the roles the media play and looks at the linkages between policy, research and media. It considers some of the dilemmas faced, and the options and approaches available when a research programme, institute or researcher is constructing a media strategy. It lays out some of the main steps in developing a strategy.

    Grassroots efforts to prevent and resolve violence, http://tinyurl.com/eyhye. Focusing on six country studies, the authors argue the power and potential for peace and conflict prevention when governments, regional organizations international financial institutions, and the UN support grassroots peace building efforts. The report provides detailed accounts of specific grassroots efforts and emphasizes the importance of projects that involve children and the community. Each project is introduced and its main successes and areas for improvement are then outlined.

    In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency, www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3953&l=1. An International Crisis Group Report. “The U.S. and its allies seem to know little about the enemies they are fighting in Iraq, despite volumes of information on insurgent web sites, chat rooms, magazines and videos, which are a large part of their communication with each other and their constituents. Analysis of this undervalued communication suggests armed insurgency groups are less divided between nationalists and foreign jihadis than commonly reported, and are increasingly coordinated, confident and information-savvy. The better the U.S. understands their message and why it resonates, the better it will understand how to win hearts and minds. Coalition forces should take what the opposition says seriously, rather than dismiss it as propaganda, and adjust political strategy accordingly. An anti-insurgency approach based squarely on reducing the insurgents’ perceived legitimacy rather than, as at present, on military destruction and dislocation is likelier to succeed.”

    Islands of Education: schooling, civil war, and the Southern Sudanese (1983 – 2004), www.unesco.org/iiep/PDF/pubs/sudan.pdf. “This report analyses and describes the educational reality that Southern Sudanese have faced during 21 years of civil war. It looks specifically at the severity of the educational situation in southern Sudan in Akon Payam in northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Narus in eastern Equatoria. Following a brief overview of the origins and major points of conflict of the civil war, the book presents four dominant themes: coordinating educational action involving the education authorities, international donors, UN agencies and NGOs; school curriculum choices, which have often created confusion, resistance and conflict; location where responsibility for education falls and should fall; and access to education of reasonable quality. The book draws lessons from the civil war period and provides recommendations for future action, both for Sudan and for educational responses in other conflict zones.”

    Kosovo: The Challenge of Transition, www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3955&l=1. An International Crisis Group Report. “To create a stable Kosovo, the international community must dare to impose independence rather than attempt finessing Pristina and Belgrade’s differences with an ambiguous and unstable settlement. While agreement between all parties remains desirable in theory, it is extremely unlikely that any Serbian government will voluntarily acquiesce to the kind of independence, conditional though it is likely to be, which is necessary for a secure, long-term solution. The international community particularly UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari must prepare for the possibility of imposing an independence package. Kosovo’s Albanian majority, however, must first negotiate deals for Serb and other minority rights. The EU and its member states should increase the resources they commit to the Western Balkans. The international community will have to remain in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo to avoid a violent breakdown after independence.”

    Peacekeeping: Cost Comparison of Actual UN and Hypothetical U.S. Operations in Haiti, www.gao.gov/new.items/d06331.pdf. Report to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives.

    Poor People and Democratic Citizenship in Africa, www.afrobarometer.org/papers/AfropaperNo56.pdf. “A democratic political regime has long been regarded as an attribute of high-income, industrialized economies. This paper challenges this assumption by exploring the relationship between poor people and the concept of democratic citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa.”

    Poverty Reduction and Growth: Virtuous and Vicious Circles, http://tinyurl.com/pboby. “Latin American countries need to fight poverty more aggressively if they want to grow more and compete with China and other dynamic Asian economies, says a new World Bank report. According to Poverty Reduction and Growth: Virtuous and Vicious Circles, while growth is key for poverty reduction, poverty itself is hampering the achievement of high and sustained growth rates in Latin America, which remains one of the most unequal regions in the world with close to a fourth of the population living on less than US$2.00 a day.”

    Security Sector Reform in the Congo, www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3946&l=1. An International Crisis Group Report. “Reform of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s security sector must be the top priority for Kinshasa and its international supporters. Rebuilding the national army is far behind schedule, and newly integrated units are often themselves a security hazard. The police are no match for local militias in much of the country. Two particular challenges loom large: the security services must be able to maintain order during national elections in April or May and reduce the staggering mortality rate due to conflict. Far more must be done to create an effective unified army with a single chain of command. Police reform must change a patchwork approach that largely neglects the countryside. All other development and progress from elections to humanitarian assistance to economic activity depend on establishing and maintaining a secure environment.”

    Uzbekistan: In for the Long Haul, www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3952&l=1. An International Crisis Group Report. “With further violent unrest in Uzbekistan a strong possibility for the medium term, the international community must develop new strategies to prepare for potentially massive instability in Central Asia. The government in Tashkent is not at risk of imminent collapse, but Uzbekistan could eventually become the centre of regional volatility, which would have a significant impact on Western interests, including in Afghanistan. Western policies meant to support development of political and economic openness have failed. The new focus should be on two areas: a lifeboat strategy to maintain political activity, civil society and educational opportunities in the expectation of future change to a more reasonable government; and a plan to reduce the impact likely future instability in Uzbekistan would have on its neighbors.”

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