Notebook

What next for Moldova?

Maia Sandu’s victory in the second round of Moldova’s presidential elections has been widely celebrated in Western media as a “defeat for another ‘Trumpian’ populist”, a “blow to the Kremlin”, a triumph for women, and an endorsement of democracy, of a pro-EU foreign... read more

Subnational governance is key to peace

Up to 2/3 of the world’s extreme poor could live in fragile, conflict and violence (FCV) settings by 2030. Yet a specific section of those situations, –subnational conflicts–are rarely a direct function of poverty alone. Rather, they are frequently linked to grievances and perceived injustice associated with access to power and resources, and to feelings of ethnic, social and / or geographic exclusion and marginalization. We see these dynamics playing out in Mali and Yemen today in similar ways to what we saw in Bosnia and Herzegovina more than two decades ago.

read more

Decentralization Reloaded in Ukraine?

History is often said to repeat itself or at least to rhyme. Decentralization in Ukraine has been on and off the agenda of successive governments since the country’s independence in 1991. Much like previous attempts to decentralize power, President Zelenskiy’s draft decentralization law has become embroiled in long-established power struggles and had to be withdrawn.

read more

Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Eastern Ukraine

How can international human rights protection mechanisms be employed in the gray zone of armed conflict in weak states? This question is particularly relevant for the war in eastern Ukraine where for five years residents have been without state aegis for their most basic human rights.

read more

Ukraine presidential election: young comedian leads polls, but country’s dangerous divisions are no joke

Ukraine’s presidential election campaign is a tragic indictment of the country’s current political state. Most candidates have adopted populist strategies, voters appear highly irrational in their preferences, trust in the political system and its leading representatives is extremely low, and the country remains deeply divided and perpetually stuck in a systemic social, political, and economic crisis partly of its own making.

read more

The merits and risks of reshaping internal power balances along subnational governance levels

Since the end of World War II, we have experienced a shift in conflict dynamics, from inter-state to intra-state conflicts. In 2016 alone, the world witnessed 47 intra-state conflicts. Today, wars are fought within state borders between a multiplicity of actors over the distribution of political power and national wealth both at and between the center and subnational governance levels. Marginalized groups are vying for greater autonomy at the local level, while those in control of the state—be they majorities or dominant minority groups—seek to consolidate political power at the center. Such intra-state conflicts with subnational dimensions are among the most protracted and violent conflicts.

read more