Over the past several months, the rapid changes in Myanmar have underlined the remarkable political skill of the government that came to power after the country’s 2010 elections. With its initial steps toward embracing a domestic reform process, the Myanmarese leadership has obtained approval from the other nine Association of South East Asian Nations members to chair the regional bloc in 2014. The domestic opening has also allowed Myanmar to forge economic and political relationships with other Asian countries such as Japan, India and South Korea. Perhaps most importantly, the dramatic thaw in relations with the U.S. has encouraged greater […]

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Representatives from more than 50 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, have gathered in London for an international conference on Somalia, chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron. In the words of Philip Barton, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Washington, the conference will focus on “the underlying causes of instability and its symptoms, such as famine, piracy and terrorism.” With piracy increasingly threatening international shipping, and the militant Islamist group al-Shabab developing closer ties to al-Qaida, problems that have plagued Somalia for two decades are posing a growing […]

Growing awareness of how development outcomes are dependent on our variable and changing climate is focusing increasing attention on the role of climate information in agricultural development. Much of this attention is driven by the growing acceptance that human activity is altering the Earth’s climate, and that the major greenhouse gas emitters have an obligation to help the most vulnerable to adapt. Independently of the climate change agenda, however, most of the international development banks have recognized that their investments are vulnerable to climate shifts and fluctuations, and now have strategies for screening projects for climate vulnerability and for making […]

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the release last week of 29 Chinese hostages held in Sudan, taking a role in the negotiations and handling the physical transfer of the hostages. In an email interview, David Forsythe, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, discussed the ICRC’s involvement in international conflicts. WPR: What role has the ICRC historically played in humanitarian and conflict situations, as well as hostage situations? David Forsythe: Since 1863 the ICRC has tried to play a leading humanitarian role in armed conflict and other situations of violence like domestic […]