Space: The New Frontier for Policy and Strategy

On the 21st of December 2015, SpaceX conducted a successful test of its Falcon 9 Rocket. The partially reusable rocket marked an extraordinary achievement as it demonstrated that the cost of space travel could be significantly reduced. 

Reusable rocketry has been a recurrent theme in space travel since the ‘space race’. The US-led Space Shuttle project and the Soviet Buran spacecraft sought to overcome the cost barrier associated with space travel by developing rugged crafts that may be used multiple times. Both projects failed to economise space travel, and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union left the US unchallenged in space. However, the above-mentioned developments have thrust space travel back into the strategic spotlight. SpaceX is not the only company to be making advances in this area. Boutique companies, such as the New Zealand-based Rocketlab, have found a business selling low-cost launches for satellites to private entities. The “ride-sharing” model allows various prices depending on the weight and value of one’s payload.

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The Impact of Covid-19 on Women and Girls’ Sexual and Reproductive Health

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, concerns are rising about the effect of the virus on women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health, and their access to contraceptive care. Past humanitarian crises have shown that when there is a disruption in the supply and access to routine health care services, it is women and girls’ who are disproportionately affected, simply by virtue of their sex.  

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Tobacco Ban in Bhutan

Bhutan is a remote Himalayan nation, landlocked and bordered by two of the world’s most populous countries – China in the North and India to the South, West, and East. In 2004, Bhutan became, and still remains, the only country in the world to implement a nationwide ban in the sale of tobacco (both cigarettes and in smokeless form). Lack of organized lobbying by businesses and the absence of tobacco production industries made the passing of this legislation relatively easy. Along with bans on the sale of cigarettes, smoking in public spaces and the advertisement of tobacco products the ban included that tobacco products for self-consumption (only in limited quantity) declared at customs while entering the country would be subject to a 100% duty. 

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A Pandemic in itself? The Mental Health Crisis of Covid-19

The Covid-19 crisis, which has rapidly spread across the globe, has now exceeded 50 million confirmed cases in 190 countries and more than 1.2 million deaths. This pandemic has not been selective in who it targets, but rather, has had an unprecedented effect on the lives of almost every single human being.  

As the UK exits its second national lockdown, complaints have repeatedly been raised about the harmful consequences of a singular focus on the virus, with people questioning why the all-important side effects of a lockdown have not received the same attention. Though the protection of the physical health of individuals remains a priority of most governments, there are accompanying side-effects of a lockdown which can also be disastrous and need to be acknowledged. One such side effect is the impact that the pandemic has had on the mental deterioration of young adults. Based on these findings, I will consider some policy and practice recommendations which can help governments, schools and universities to better address the mental challenges facing young people today. 

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The Big Swap: Energy and Water Bartering

The 1960’s Indus Water Treaty was the first intervention of a global organization – the World Bank – that focused not only on keeping peace at the border between Pakistan and India but also pursued regional development(United Nations, 1962, p.140; Akhter, 2015, p.68). The World Bank’s proposal – the dam and its subsidiaries built along the basin – left some wariness on the outcome’s success. It split the use of water along the border and limited the type of economic activity of the neighbouring countries sharing the basin (Akhter, 2015, p.65). Nowadays, the Punjab and the North-Western regions are rich in energy – provided by the dam’s hydroelectric power – but is still an arid area where regular water consumption comes in considerably from groundwater pumped through solar panels. Strangely enough, the North-Eastern regions of India face the opposite case with the Ganga River Basin overflowing.

Fig 1. The Indus Rivers and associated infrastructure in 2012 (Source: Akhter, 2015, p.69; Mustafa 2013)

The valley of Ica, located on the desert coast of Peru, south of Lima, has been a significant agricultural and energy producer due to its year-round sunny weather and strong desert winds. The soil nutrients and weather conditions provide crop flexibility that can adjust according to the available water supply (Swedwatch, 2018). Recently however, as a result of climate change, it has been inevitable for farmers – both big and small – to suffer a significant reduction in the water supply of the region’s main rivers. Its neighbour in the Andes, Huancavelica, an impoverished mountainous region with little access and benefits from national development, enjoys enough water flow from the River Pampas (Gestion, 2019). This river runs across the Ica region and into the Pacific Ocean without benefitting the valleys since it does not connect to any main irrigating river where most agricultural activity concentrates. After years of dispute escalated to national authorities, the central government approved a project for constructing a dam and detour of the River Pampas (Gestion, 2019).

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United Nations Emergency Force I (UNEF I): The Stepping Stone of United Nations Peacekeeping

The effectiveness of United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) has been debated over the course of its 70-year history. Peacekeepers have shown that they are resilient among crises and adaptable in the 21st century’s ever-changing landscape. This article explores the historical context of United Nations Peacekeeping, from its foundation to the contemporary era, specifically examining their mission’s establishments and breakthroughs and their respective influence in shaping the course of peacekeeping for the years to come. 

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The European Union and the future of post-Covid multilateralism

The novel coronavirus pandemic has already sparked much speculation on how the international order as we know it will undergo profound changes, with suggestions that it will forever be divided between what happened BC (before coronavirus) and AC (after coronavirus). If some lament, others cheer and others are not yet willing to accept the end of the liberal international order, yet few would neglect that a return to the past is unlikely. The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing dynamics from protectionism and nationalism to great power politics and ideological competition. While this definitely means that the health crisis has highlighted the deep flaws of our current multilateral system, it has simultaneously exposed the world’s tremendous need for an international system of collective problem solving, of which, this article argues, the EU should be at the forefront. 

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The unrelenting onslaught on the Rohingya: A COVID19 Reality

The onslaught of the COVID19 pandemic has brought upon us a troubling year. The potency of the virus has seen the health systems around the world fall under immense pressure. Additionally, the imposition of various restrictions on social and economic activities in order to contain the spread of the virus, have consequently exacerbated the misery of vulnerable groups worldwide. The bereft refugees are inherently a part of these groups and stand defenseless in what one might affirm as the greatest health emergency in over a century. The Rohingya are, as labelled by the international community, the most persecuted minority on earth and these victims of neglect stand on the crossroads of survival as the pandemic aggravates their plight. 

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New Faces on Old Tensions: Understanding the Decline of EU-Russian Relations

Following the fall of the Soviet Union’s European empire in 1989, there was some hope within security circles that the end to near-constant confrontation and conflict in Europe had finally been achieved. In 1991, three quarters of a century had passed since the outbreak of the First World War; very few in government could remember a time when the threat of continent-wide conflict was lower than in that year.

The newly-formed European Union (EU) saw the potential to establish a new security situation on the continent; as late as 1999, the EU declared it its aim to see “a stable, democratic, and prosperous Russia…governed by the rule of law and underpinning a prosperous market economy”. Fifteen years later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill incorporating Crimea into the Russian Federation, directly violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the process. So what happened? How, in less than two decades, did we get from the end of history to the new Cold War?

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Can mining corporations promote socio-economic development in Peru?

For centuries, mining has been an important economic activity for the generation of wealth in Peru. Since the mid-2000s, the commodity boom – which involved the rise of metal prices at a global level – has enhanced the relevance of mining activities within the national economy, representing about 15% of the annual GDP. This has translated to an average 5.5% economic growth rate during these last two decades. Rather than facing the resource trap – whereby countries that depend on an abundance of natural resources may experience economic contraction due to international market price volatility – Peru took advantage of the favourable economic conditions. It partly used that wealth to foster sustainable development and improve living standards around mining areas. However, the socioeconomic benefits, such as “reducing poverty in half and improving income distribution” have been limited mainly because of the government’s systemic mismanagement of resources. The continuous growth of the informal economy and the rise of illicit economic activity, such as the illegal extraction and export of gold, the below-standards working conditions, and the impairing of water quality in rivers near mining areas, has demonstrated the government apparatus’ inability to adapt and respond with effective measures to ensure wealth redistribution and sustainability. 

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