Publications by J. J. Messner

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"To the American People" – Why Foreign Aid and Development Spending is Good for America

Published March 22, 2017 | By J. J. Messner

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, commented in a March 19 interview on Meet the Press, "Could I, as a budget director, look at the coal miner in West Virginia and say, 'I want you please to give some of your money to the federal government so that I can give it to the National Endowment for the Arts?'” This quote boiled down the general opposition not only to funding the arts, but also to funding diplomacy, aid, and development. It assumes, perhaps accurately, that the archetypal “coal miner in West Virginia”, symbolic to this argument, would ask himself “what’s in it for me?” when it comes to the spending of his tax dollars.

Human Rights & Business Roundtable Annual Report 2016

Published March 15, 2017 | By J. J. Messner and Hannah Blyth*

Launched in 1996, the Roundtable was the first forum designed for multinational businesses and mainstream human rights organizations to discuss issues of common concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality. Today, the Roundtable focuses exclusively on the extractive industry, although the lessons learned and case studies of the Roundtable provide value to all sectors. The Roundtable is an invaluable resource for corporations and NGOs to work together to promote sustainable development.

Voluntary Principles in Ghana Update: July-September 2016

Published October 31, 2016 | By J.J. Messner and Hannah Blyth

Using the information shared in the local dialogues, the July 2016 roundtable provided a forum for representatives from the four regions to voice concerns and issues at a national level. It also represent-ed an important opportunity for different communities, government stakeholders and mining, oil and gas companies to connect and share lessons learned and best practices. To provide a more national-level perspective, were stakeholders from the Government of Ghana including the Petroleum Commission, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Ghana Army, Navy and Police, and Ministry of the Interior.

Voluntary Principles in Ghana: National Roundtable July 2016

Published August 31, 2016 | By J.J. Messner and Hannah Blyth

On the 28th July, 2016 the Fund For Peace (FFP) in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peace Building-Ghana (WANEP-Ghana), staged the first national VPs Roundtable in Accra. Staged as part of a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, this roundtable follows a series of local trainings and dialogues in four regions in Ghana over the past 12 months. The national event included representatives from four community areas affected by oil, gas and mining operations, including the Asutifi District in the Brong-Ahafo region, Adansi West District in the Ashanti region, the Talensi District in the Upper East region and six coastal Districts in the Western region.

Voluntary Principles in Ghana Update: April-June 2016

Published July 31, 2016 | By J.J. Messner and Hannah Blyth

FFP and WANEP-Ghana delivered local dialogues to discuss VPs-related issues in mining, and oil/gas affected communities. A total of 73 participants took part across the four regions including the Minerals Commission, the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Navy, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), traditional leadership, companies, local media (Ghana News Agency), the District/Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana National Petroleum Commission, private security providers, and religious bodies.

Fragile States Index 2016: The Book

Published June 27, 2016 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Europe’s Refugee Crisis Underscores Global Interconnectedness

Published June 27, 2016 | By J.J. Messner

As the civil war in Syria enters its sixth year, its effects continue to wreak havoc not only on its own war-ravaged population, but also upon countries farther afield. In the 2016 Fragile States Index, Syria was again one of the most worsened countries year-on-year, catapulting them into the list of the top ten most fragile countries on the planet. To date, thousands of Syrians have made treacherous and uncertain journeys across land and sea to the relative safety of Europe, and it is likely that many more will continue to do so. The countries of Europe – particularly those situated on a trajectory between Turkey and Germany and Scandinavia – have found themselves overwhelmed by the influx, and have responded to these pressures with attempts to close previously open borders. At the same time, ultra-nationalistic, right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties in multiple countries across the continent have taken the opportunity to politically manipulate the crisis and further destabilize domestic politics.

Underlying Concerns Create a Worrying Outlook Beyond Brexit

Published June 24, 2016 | By J. J. Messner

As the dust settles on the historic Brexit vote and its effects, it is easy to focus on the near term, visible side effects. Even in the unlikely event that Britain manages to negotiate an association deal that is as good as being in the European Union, it will now no longer have a voice in that Union. There are also murmurings of a second independence referendum that could see Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to “Remain,” finally leave the United Kingdom and rejoin the European Union, thereby ripping Britain apart. Add to that the ramifications for Northern Ireland, or the renewed Spanish questioning of the sovereignty of Gibraltar. The immediate crash of the Pound and the FTSE forebode financial turmoil to come as trade between the UK and its neighbors is threatened with a significantly less liberal trading regime, which even in a best case scenario will see transfer costs increase. Further, there will be much uncertainty regarding the future ability of millions of British citizens to live and work easily across 27 other countries – or that of millions of Europeans who attend British universities or staff its hospitality, trade, and financial sectors.

Voluntary Principles in Ghana Update: January-March 2016

Published April 30, 2016 | By J.J. Messner and Hannah Blyth

The first local dialogue was held on February 22 in Bolgatanga, Upper East region. The dialogue, led by WANEP-Ghana, was attended by stakeholders including the Ghana Police Service, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Traditional leadership, the Shanxii Mining Company, small scale mining groups, the Talensi and Nabdam District Assemblies, the local media (Ghana News Agency) and the Lands Commission.

Human Rights & Business Roundtable Annual Report 2015

Published February 3, 2016 | By J. J. Messner and Hannah Blyth*

Launched in 1996, the Roundtable was the first forum designed for multinational businesses and mainstream human rights organizations to discuss issues of common concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality. Today, the Roundtable focuses exclusively on the extractive industry, although the lessons learned and case studies of the Roundtable provide value to all sectors. The Roundtable is an invaluable resource for corporations and NGOs to work together to promote sustainable development.

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