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Policy Briefs

The WTO and the Spaghetti Bowl of Free Trade Agreements: Four Proposals for Moving Forward

September 23, 2016
Policy Brief No. 87
As many major trading nations sign trade agreements among themselves, creating a “spaghetti bowl” of trade arrangements that bypass the World Trade Organization (WTO), the organization is becoming less relevant for international trade negotiations. The WTO needs to make its transparency mechanisms more robust and link them to national transparency on the ground, and WTO member states need to consider taking action more formally and systematically to control and monitor the spaghetti bowl.

Leveraging University-Generated Intellectual Property to Benefit Canadian Industry

September 12, 2016
Policy Brief No. 84
Canada continues to perform comparatively well in terms of public research and development spending at universities, and produces scientific research that is well respected around the world. It is not as effective as other countries, however, in ensuring that university-generated research and its associated IP can be successfully commercialized. An overarching issue that undermines the impact of universities on Canada’s innovation performance is the lack of a clear, agreed-upon articulation of the role that universities should play, beyond training in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, in our innovation economy.

Energy in the G20 Finance Track: G20 Energy Transformation during the German Presidency

September 9, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 86
Climate change and the now largely market-driven transformation of the energy sector create financial stress in the fossil fuel and nuclear industries as well as in countries that export fossil commodities or will have obsolete nuclear plants on their territory. The risks are systemic and may lead to contagion or knock-on effects that could destabilize the global financial system. In consequence, energy should no longer be left primarily to the Group of Twenty “Sherpa track,” but should be included prominently in the “finance track” as a matter for finance ministers and central bank governors.

For the Agenda of the German G20 Presidency: A Global Sovereign Debt Restructuring Regime

September 9, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 85
The Group of Twenty (G20) has expanded the global financial safety net, but failed to align access criteria and sovereign debt restructuring requirements across its various players and layers. International crisis lending is now fragmented and lacks a consistent and credible regime for sovereign debt restructuring. The German G20 presidency is uniquely positioned to address these issues.

Vulnerability and Debt in Small States

July 28, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 83
Small states, supported by development partners, need to take several steps to address both long-standing and more recent vulnerabilities: developing the blue economy and diversifying production and exports by expanding and accessing regional value chains; building climate-resilient infrastructure; increasing access to innovative sources of financing for development; and — for a growing number of small states — addressing increasingly unsustainable levels of indebtedness. Otherwise, many small states are likely to fall further behind.

Domestic Politics and Sustainability Reporting

July 27, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 82
Jason Thistlethwaite and Melissa Menzies
This policy brief assesses national variations in the sustainability and climate change risk disclosure as a means of informing the development of an international standard by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Tapping the Potential of the Silent Majority: The Role of Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs in Building Resilient, Low-carbon Communities

July 26, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 81
Although government is tasked with responding to climate change and other sustainability problems, it is often the private sector that has the innovative approaches and technical skills needed to design effective responses. This policy brief proposes that Canada seek to engage small business in finding collaborative and creative solutions to achieve reductions and develop a more transformative approach to sustainability.

The G20's "Development" Agenda: Fundamental, Not a Sidebar

June 7, 2016
Policy Brief No. 80
This policy brief outlines concrete proposals for addressing three critical issues – climate change, the Internet and sovereign debt — where the G20 could address gaps in governance among selected international institutions.

The Impact of Green Banking Guidelines on the Sustainability Performance of Banks: The Chinese Case

June 3, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 79
The negative environmental impact of many economic activities has been problematic for Chinese economic growth. In 2007, the People’s Bank of China established an internationally recognized program on green finance — the Green Credit Policy, which introduced guidelines and regulations for integrating environmental issues into financial decision making, in particular in commercial lending decisions that focus on banks and other lenders directly. The results of the analysis presented in the policy brief suggest that the environmental and social performance of Chinese banks improved significantly between 2009 and 2013 because the Green Credit Guidelines require banks to become active with regard to integrating environmental risks into their credit risk assessment procedures.

Financing the Blue Economy in Small States

May 16, 2016
CIGI Policy Brief No. 78
The blue economy approach offers small developing states — countries with populations of 1.5 million or less — the opportunity to diversify from a narrow production base; invest in and develop growth and employment opportunities in a wide range of both existing and new sectors and industries; and shift away from predominantly land-based industries toward those that integrate and sustainably develop a broader range of land-based, coastal and ocean-based sectors.
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