Fresh water is fundamental to human health, social development, peace, and economic growth everywhere in the world. Yet in a great many places, and for a great many people, clean freshwater is scarce. Current trends on both the supply and demand sides strongly suggest that clean freshwater availability will become more challenging in more places in the future. As a result, water will become even more important than it currently is in contributing to the degradation of social, political, and economic systems in troubled countries around the world. Nowhere are these dynamics more evident or more important than in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where population growth and water scarcity threaten acute impacts in the years to come. An unreliable water supply can act as an important catalyst for instability, especially when present alongside other sources of discontent and unrest (such as ethnic, religious, political, or economic stressors).
On January 13, 2017, the Atlantic Council launched a major study on downstream oil theft at its inaugural Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Downstream Oil Theft: Implications and Next Steps draws on the launch event to examine the implications of the study's findings and to suggest tangible next steps in both further investigating this global scourge and beginning to confront it effectively.
"At a time when Russia is deliberately challenging US allies and interests around the world, it is more important than ever for the United States to renew its global leadership role and unite our allies behind a comprehensive strategy to defend our values and interests…The strategy laid out by the Atlantic Council presents a clear-eyed and comprehensive approach to relations with Russia that highlights the potential for cooperation on areas of mutual interest, while acknowledging the severity of the Russian threat and the need for sustained, US-led engagement to defend shared values and interests." - Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
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The European Union (EU), a vital partner for the United States, is facing numerous challenges, including massive migration flows, the UK’s vote to leave the EU (Brexit), and rising support for anti-EU and populist parties in upcoming elections in several European countries. In Charting the Future Now: European Economic Growth and its Importance to American Prosperity, the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative proposes pragmatic steps to restore European economic growth, safeguard the European project, and reinvigorate the transatlantic alliance.
As the new administration considers ways to ensure US national security and economic growth, a newly engaged Latin America presents a wealth of opportunity on myriad fronts: urbanization, human capital, open markets, energy reform, technology, and the fight against corruption. Diverse sectors of the United States are already on board: businesses investing in the region; NGOs working on the ground; and local and state governments with trade partners across the border.
This spring, the Swedish government is expected to bring back its military draft after seven years. In this, Sweden will join its neighbor Norway, which never abolished its military draft but did make it gender-neutral last year. A third European country, Lithuania, has also reinstated the draft after abolishing it a decade ago. “The Return of the Draft” by Elisabeth Braw, a nonresident senior fellow in the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, takes a deeper look at how the draft is returning in a modernized fashion. The author outlines the key policy issues related to recruiting the best conscripts and how to maximize their benefit to the armed forces.
Germany’s historical experience explains how the energy transition (Energiewende) came about, and largely explains the resilience of the policies to abandon nuclear power and to scale-up renewables in the face of the challenges they have posed to Germany’s consumers, utilities, and international competitiveness. Whereas the success of the Energiewende to date has come from the way it takes a unifying approach to energy, environment, and labor policies, its success will require expanding the scope from a German to an EU-wide scale.
Aleppo has been described as the Srebrenica, and the Rwanda, of our time. After more than four years of stalemate, and months of siege and battle, December 2016 saw the last of the population of the besieged eastern half of the city evacuated on the now-infamous green buses. The evacuation was the result of a crescendo of brutality. Years of indiscriminate bombings killed thousands, and destroyed much of the east of the city. They gave way to months of brutal siege, and finally, to weeks of bombardment and fighting. The final assault resembled the razing of a city and its last inhabitants.
There has been a global push toward finding a way to reduce the impact of climate change. In an attempt to help achieve this goal, countries have made changes to move toward low-carbon economies. Comparing transitions toward a low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom (UK), United States, Germany, and Denmark show the divergence of approaches alongside surprising similarities in public opinion. While focusing specifically on the de-carbonization of electricity as the primary component of the transition, the authors and ELEEP alumni analyze how public and political support for energy transitions have been influenced by price, public opinion, and historical context.
A region in flux, the Mediterranean of today–and tomorrow–faces an array of complex challenges. Demographic shifts, evolving political and security contexts, economic uncertainty, and climate change have created massive migration flows and regional instability, straining resources in southern Europe. These and other drivers of change have highlighted the increased importance of developing a transatlantic security strategy for the region.