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Weaponized storytelling a la francaise: Demystifying France's narratives around its arms export policies

April 6, 2022

Through the five conflict case studies, the report explores other arguments that make up this storytelling a la francaise. Two of its pillars are the idea that French export control processes are already "strict, transparent and responsible" enough as they are, and the proposition that weapons sales are an intrinsically essential support to the country's strategic autonomy and foreign policy interests. This latter priority include the crucial need to be a reliable long-term supplier and to sustain strategic partnerships often associated with such arms trade.

Owning the Conversation: Assessing Responses to Russian and Chinese Information Operations Around COVID-19

March 31, 2022

The crisis around COVID-19 and the resulting "infodemic" has been exploited by authoritarian regimes to spread propaganda and disinformation among populations around the world. The Russian Federation and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have used the pandemic to engage in information warfare, spread divisive content, advance conspiracy theories, and promote public health propaganda that undermines US and European efforts to fight the pandemic.In 2021, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) published two reports, Information Bedlam: Russian and Chinese Information Operations During COVID-19 and Jabbed in the Back: Mapping Russian and Chinese Information Operations During COVID-19, comparing how the Kremlin and CCP have deployed information operations around the COVID-19 pandemic, virus origins, and efficacy of the vaccines to influence targeted populations globally, using the infodemic as a diplomatic and geopolitical weapon. The CCP mainly spread COVID-19 narratives to shape perceptions about the origins of the coronavirus and often push narratives to shun responsibility. Meanwhile, the Kremlin recycled existing narratives, pushing and amplifying them via validators and unsuspecting people in order to sow internal divisions and further exploit polarized views in the West about the efficacy of vaccines, treatments, origins of new variants, and impact to the population. While the world has learned about new COVID-19 variants, such as Omicron, China and Russia have evolved their tactics to spread COVID-19 disinformation and propaganda and further sow doubt and confuse the population about the pandemic.As Russia and China's tactics evolve, this policy brief examines whether Western institutions, including governments, digital platforms, and nongovernmental organizations, have been able to counter information warfare around this unprecedented crisis. This paper examines a broad range of initiatives and responses to counter COVID-19 disinformation coming from Russia and China, and to strengthen societal resilience more broadly. Because addressing this challenge requires a whole-of-society approach, this report highlights government, technology, and civil society interventions, both in Europe and in the US, identifying what works and where there are existing gaps.Of note, the interventions and related assessments presented here are based on currently available data. It is important to highlight that governments regularly pass new regulations and measures, and digital platforms continue to evolve their policy, product, and enforcement actions in response to COVID-19 disinformation.

Untapped Opportunities for Climate Action: An Assessment of Food Systems in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

March 22, 2022

A summary report providing a synthesis of the 14 country assessments with recommendations and priority actions.

Confronting the Climate Crisis with Food Systems Transformation: Stories of Action from 14 countries

March 22, 2022

Integrating food systems transformation into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the national climate actions at the heart of the Paris Agreement, is critical to delivering on interconnected ecological, biodiversity, health, economic, social, and cultural goals. Taking a food systems approach builds climate resilience and results in a diversity of context-specific solutions for food production, distribution, consumption, and waste. Yet, food systems are rarely prioritized in climate policy. This catalogue of global Case Studies complements a suite of publications that are designed to centre food systems transformation in future climate debate and policy.

Business as Usual: How major weapons exporters arm the world’s conflicts

March 3, 2022

This research provides the first global analysis of how conflict in, or involving, a recipient state, impacts exporters' willingness supply arms. It analyses the top eleven global arms suppliers over the ten-year period 2009-2018 Listed in order by the volume of major conventional weapons transfers, these global sales leaders are: the United States, Russia, Germany, France, China, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. These countries assert widely varying formal policies regarding arms exports, but the empirical record is, for the most part, remarkably similar.

Bridging Language and Work: Solutions to Invest in Immigrant and Refugee Talent

February 8, 2022

Finding, retaining, and developing talent is a top priority for business leaders today. Refugees represent an incredible pool of talent that can fill worker shortages and enhance diversity. Yet, many employers overlook refugee candidates due to perceptions that workers cannot succeed in a role if they have limited proficiency in the local language. Bridging Language and Work: Solutions to Invest in Immigrant and Refugee Talent outlines how companies can implement solutions to overcome language barriers to help local language learners – including refugees – get into jobs faster as they work towards proficiency. The guide provides key information for employers, including:A framework for companies on the ways in which they can invest in local language learners beyond expanding access to language trainingSpecific solutions that can be implemented across the talent management cycle to help local language learners succeedThe business benefits of hiring refugees and other local language learnersA list of resources that companies can tap into to support local language learnersThis guide is a collaboration between the Tent Partnership for Refugees and JFF (Jobs for the Future), a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the U.S. workforce and education systems. This guide was developed as part of JFF's Corporate Action Platform, which helps uncover and share talent solutions that enable companies to address both business and social needs.

Taking the Pulse of the European Foundation Sector : Moving from Proving Impact to Improving Impact

January 1, 2022

This report contains key insights, survey data and case studies from the first year of the European and Spanish Communities of Practice on Impact Measurement and Management (IMM), coordinated by the Esade Center for Social Impact with the support of BBK. These groups of foundation professionals from 15 countries have come together to increase the level of transparency, knowledge-sharing and exchange within the European foundation sector on this topic. Building on the transcribed discussions and surveys of approximately 40 European foundations, the authors have developed several learnings they hope will help the whole European foundation sector, as well as any other organizations that want to measure and manage their impact. In this perspective, the report also includes tables outlining what the different 'levels' of practice might be, so that the reader can understand what the impact management learning journey looks like at different stages (beginner, on the journey, and advanced).In addition to the present report, the following page provides links to the recording of the launch of the report as well as presentation slides: https://www.esade.edu/en/faculty-and-research/research/knowledge-units/center-social-impact/research/community-practice 

Global Public Opinion in an Era of Democratic Anxiety

December 7, 2021

As democratic nations have wrestled with economic, social and geopolitical upheaval in recent years, the future of liberal democracy has come into question. In countries across the globe, democratic norms and civil liberties have deteriorated, while populists have enjoyed surprising success at the ballot box. Newly democratic nations have struggled, while more-established, once self-assured democracies have stumbled, exposing long-simmering weaknesses in their social fabrics and institutional designs.These trends have been well-documented by organizations such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, International IDEA and the Varieties of Democracy project (V-Dem), which measure and track the quality of democracy around the world. Public opinion researchers have also focused on these issues by examining how citizens think about democracy and its alternatives. At Pew Research Center, we've applied a comparative, cross-national lens to explore global trends in attitudes toward political representation and individual rights.

Policies for Cooperative Ownership in the Digital Economy

December 6, 2021

The past decade gave rise to the so-called 'gig economy'—a cluster of service sector jobs contingent workers fulfill through digital platforms. Firms like Uber, TaskRabbit, and GrubHub established themselves as two-way intermediaries between workers and customers with the promise of revolutionizing work itself. While the gig economy has provided some convenience and savings to customers and flexibility to workers, the rise of the gig economy has also been disastrous. Using legal loopholes, well-funded lobbying efforts, and publicity campaigns, platform companies have eroded labor protections, worsened environmental conditions, and undermined public services. In contrast to the early, high-minded dreams of a 'sharing economy,' the gig economy is in effect defined by precarity and exploitation.On the one hand, these problems have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. Gig workers were on the frontline of the emergency, delivering groceries, cleaning supplies, and preparing food. They were, however, also the workers who were most exposed to the economic dislocation of the pandemic.On the other hand, effective government response has caused a tightening labor market that leaves some platforms without a sufficient supply of cheap labor. The promise of tech companies was that they would become hegemonic service providers, and thus their losses would be justified with long-term profits. Many of these already unprofitable firms face a real danger of failure just as their aggressive expansion has weakened public infrastructure, leaving vital gaps in essential services.Our report provides a path forward at this critical juncture: the active promotion of platform cooperatives. Platform cooperatives are democratically-governed organizations owned by workers, customers, and other stakeholders. These entities match workers and customers and return a greater share of income to workers, increase worker protections, and build communities. Though still early in their development, platform cooperatives build on the proven business models of cooperatives to establish alternatives to the gig economy and its supporting digital infrastructure.Platform cooperatives are critical to creating a fairer economy and building back better from the pandemic. However, they require active government intervention to be able to compete with well-funded and established private platforms.This report suggests that governments on every level, from national to municipal, can take measures to empower platform cooperatives.

Forgotten by Funders

December 1, 2021

This report highlights the underfunding of work with and for imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women and girls,  alongside a worrying increase in the global female prison population. The report draws from the survey responses of 34 organisations, most of which are based in the Global South and have women with lived experience of the justice system involved with or leading their work. Calling to donors that fund human rights, women's rights and/or access to justice, the report concludes that this heavily gendered area of human rights tends to fall through the cracks of donor strategies, including recent Gender Equality Forum pledges. 

When Costs Are a Barrier to Getting Health Care: Reports from Older Adults in the United States and Other High-Income Countries: Findings from the 2021 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults

October 1, 2021

Issue: Unlike older adults in other high-income countries, those in the United States face significant financial barriers to getting health care, despite Medicare's universal coverage. These barriers may affect use of health services as well as health outcomes.Goal: To compare the out-of-pocket spending and care-seeking experiences of older Americans with those of older adults in 10 other high-income countries.Methods: Analysis of findings from the Commonwealth Fund's 2021 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults.Key Findings: One-fifth of older Americans spent more than $2,000 out of pocket on health care in the past year. Only a small share of older adults in most of the other surveyed countries had such high out-of-pocket health costs. Similarly, a higher share of older Americans reported forgoing health care because of costs. Rates of skipping dental care because of costs were similar for older adults in nations that do not offer coverage of such services, including the U.S.Conclusions: Older Americans pay more for health care and are more likely to not get care for cost-related reasons than people in other high-income countries. Affordability remains a concern and should continue to be a focus of research and policy.

Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly - Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Other High-Income Countries

August 4, 2021

Issue: No two countries are alike when it comes to organizing and delivering health care for their people, creating an opportunity to learn about alternative approaches.Goal: To compare the performance of health care systems of 11 high-income countries.Methods: Analysis of 71 performance measures across five domains — access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes — drawn from Commonwealth Fund international surveys conducted in each country and administrative data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization.Key Findings: The top-performing countries overall are Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care. The U.S. ranks last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes, but second on measures of care process.Conclusion: Four features distinguish top performing countries from the United States: 1) they provide for universal coverage and remove cost barriers; 2) they invest in primary care systems to ensure that high-value services are equitably available in all communities to all people; 3) they reduce administrative burdens that divert time, efforts, and spending from health improvement efforts; and 4) they invest in social services, especially for children and working-age adults.