Policy Perspectives

Fresh insights from UBC experts on the policy issues that are shaping our world.

Malaysia’s Electoral Process: The Methods and Costs of Perpetuating UMNO Rule

Professor Kai Ostwald evaluates Malasya's electoral process. His analysis assesses the extensively manipulated electoral process, juxtaposed against its successful developmental record and relative social stability.

On the Sidelines of a Nuclear Crisis

MPPGA Professor & Graduate Director Brian Job
Canada-Asia Agenda: Rocketman vs. Dotard? Read former MPPGA Graduate Director and Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada senior fellow Brian Job's research on the sidelines of the nuclear crisis.

Pyongyang's leaders consider US troops threatening. Due to economic, strategic, and ideological reasons, Pyongyang views its survival contingent on attaining a second-strike nuclear capacity – i.e., the ability to attack if provoked and to respond if attacked against targets in and across the Pacific. The proverbial nuclear clock, as measured against North Korean provocative testing, is approaching midnight. How to avoid missteps and establish a stable deterrent equilibrium among the key players, given the looming reality of a North Korean nuclear state, presents an enormous challenge.

"Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India" paperback edition

Dr. Sara Shneiderman's book, "Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India" has now released its paperback edition after its original hardback release in 2015. This version will also include an update about the Thangmi communities after the 2015 earthquakes.

Rituals of Ethnicity is a transnational study of the relationships between mobility, ethnicity, and ritual action. Through an ethnography of the Thangmi, a marginalized community who migrate between Himalayan border zones of Nepal, India, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Shneiderman offers a new explanation for the persistence of enduring ethnic identities today despite the increasing realities of mobile, hybrid lives. She shows that ethnicization may be understood as a process of ritualization, which brings people together around the shared sacred object of identity.

Analysis of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

 Yves_best - small
MPPGA professor Yves Tiberghien looks at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held on October 18-24 2017.
Overall, the fact that Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party managed to unfold a massive and positive action plan leading up to 2049 and to reorganize the leadership team without a glitch is quite remarkable. Today, there is no other major country that has the ability to project a long-term vision and deliberate long-term strategy, mid-term action plans and short-term policies in such a coordinated way as China. Whether achievable or not, the projection of strategy stood out against the current period of uncertainty, fragmentation, and volatility in both the international system and the domestic politics in all systematically-important countries (except Canada). [...] Politically, what stands out, of course, is the clean sweep of elite appointments that broadly consolidate Xi Jinping’s authority.

Also noticeable is the lack of promotion of any member from the generation of leaders born in the 1960s to the Standing Committee, and thus the non-commitment of the Party on the future leadership in five years. No successor has appeared, as was the case respectively 10 years ago and 20 years ago. This does maximize Xi Jinping’s short-term authority. But it does not prevent the CCP from later holding an interim Party Congress to promote someone into the Standing Committee, say, in three years. It also does not mean yet that Xi has won the case with the Party to stay in power in five years. While we cannot predict what will happen, it is plausible to assume that a compromise will be reached. In 2022, Xi may be able to retain some positions (such as Chairman of the Military Commission, the position which controls the military) but may well have to relinquish some other titles, thus starting a process of power transition, during which Xi will be very influential but not omnipotent.
Most delicate is the fact that the enormously ambitious reform agenda presented at the 19th Party Congress increasingly relies on the competence, stamina, and judgement of one man: Xi Jinping.

Volume: Southeast Asia in an Evolving Global Landscape: Prospects for an Integrated Region and Implications for Canada.

An edited volume with contributions from MPPGA Professors Kai Ostwald, Paul Evans, and others emerged from a conference on held by Global Affairs Canada entitled Southeast Asia in an Evolving Global Landscape: Prospects for an Integrated Region and Implications for Canada in Ottawa on May 30, 2017. This high-profile event brought together a total of 200 participants, including ambassadors and diplomats from ASEAN member states, leading Canadian and international scholars on Southeast Asia, and representatives from Global Affairs and the broader government community. From these stimulating exchanges emerged a set of innovative, yet realistic recommendations on how Canada could better assert its added-value in this strategic region. An edited volume from the conference will be launched during the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies’ Conference on October 26-28, 2017. The volume brings together contributions from the panelists, giving them the opportunity to render and further develop their assessments and recommendations. In the process, they lend important support to Canada’s endeavour to develop a sound and effective foreign policy towards Southeast Asia, one that builds on its previous, well-remembered contributions to regional peace and prosperity, but goes beyond earlier engagements. In the process, the volume also identifies what its partners could gain from Canada “being back” in the regional sphere. As Canada and ASEAN celebrate 40 years of dialogue partnership, which coincides with the golden jubilee of the grouping itself, there is growing momentum to bring the relationship to the next level.

Study by Prof. Paul Evans finds that Canadians want deeper economic connections with China

 MPPGA Professor Paul Evans
UBC professors Paul Evans and Xiaojun Li designed a survey that asked 1,519 Canadians about their views on trade and investment issues, policy priorities, human rights in China, and factors that shape views of China, among other topics.  Despite concerns about China’s human rights record, military modernization and the impact on domestic Canadian values, Canadians are keen to see the federal government support expanded economic connections and increased partnerships with the Asian economic powerhouse. About 70% of Canadians support a free trade agreement with China. In this Q&A, Professor Evans discusses the significance of the survey’s findings and how it can help better inform government policy.

Op-ed by MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen on whether Facebook is a threat to democracy

 Taylor Owen OpEd
The Globe and Mail published an op-ed by Taylor Owen, a UBC Policy School professor of digital media and global affairs, about the role of technology in democracies.
"The unfolding drama surrounding Silicon Valley and the 2016 U.S. presidential election has brought much needed attention to the role that technology plays in democracies. On Thursday, Facebook announced the Canadian Election Integrity Initiative, the very premise of which invites the question: Does Facebook threaten the integrity of Canadian democracy? [...] Bloomberg reported that in the final weeks of the U.S. election, Facebook and Google employees collaborated with extreme activist groups to help them microtarget divisive ads to swing-state voters. [...] We are heading into new and immensely challenging public policy terrain, but what is certain is that the easy and politically expedient relationship between Silicon Valley and government must come to an end” he wrote.

MPPGA professor Rashid Sumaila wins Volvo Environment Prize

Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Professor with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, has won the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize for his innovative work in fisheries economics and sustainable governance of ocean resources. His research covers all aspects of the future health of the oceans: overfishing, oil spills, plastics pollution, ocean acidification, and climate change.

Professor Julian Dierkes co-wrote an op-ed for The Diplomat, "A New Cabinet for Mongolia"

 Julian Dierkes
The revolt against Enkhbold has been led by U Khurelsukh who now serves as prime minister. His political origins in the MPP’s youth organization and personal popularity suggested that he might be able to gather reformist forces that are demanding a generational change in the party [...] Despite his vocal call for reform, Khurelsukh seems to be more concerned with the upcoming party’s congress, which will elect a new party leadership and plenum members. If he had resisted pressure from Enkhbold’s faction in the formation of his cabinet, he would face much stronger opposition at the party congress in November. They could even demand his resignation.
His research focuses on the political development and mining policy in Mongolia.

Professor Philippe Le Billon investigates white collar crime in post-war natural resource sectors

Post-war situations can present an opportune context for white-collar crime in resource sectors – including corruption, tax evasion, land dispossession, and illegal resource exploitation. This paper investigates various forms of white-collar crime and associated human rights abuses, and points at biased processes of ‘criminalization’. Whereas white-collar crime is frequently legitimated under the guise of reconstruction and economic growth strategies, the victims of corruption and resource grabs often become ‘criminalised’. Such selective forms of criminalisation reflect a securitisation of resource sectors characterised by repressive forms of resource enclosures and increased socio-economic inequalities; putting resource-related white-collar crime at the core of negative peace economies.

M.V. Ramana contributed to the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report

Ramana (cropped)
The report is produced by an international group of energy analysts who study the nuclear industry in multiple countries, and offers an overview of nuclear power around the world, including information on operation, production and construction, as well as plans by countries to build new nuclear plants. The report also includes an update on the status of the multiple impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

IAR faculty member Dr. Sara Shneiderman receives SSHRC award to study Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction

IAR faculty member Sara Shneiderman has been awarded a three-year Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to assemble an international network of scholars, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations that are currently engaged with Nepal's reconstruction after its devastating 2015 earthquakes.

Professor Yves Tiberghien’s on the dangerous road ahead for North Korea

Co-Director Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Opinion: " In the past three months alone, Mr. Kim has tested the new Hwasong-12 advanced intermediate range missile (IRBM) several times, flying the last one right over Japanese territory [...] The energy and frustration unleashed in Washington is now such that Mr. Trump cannot accept such provocation without a counterpunch and remain credible as the leader of 'America the Great.'"

Professor Tsering Shakya provides insight on the current China-India border dispute in the region of Doklam, and its links to the past

Professor Tsering Shakya, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In a recent article published by the South China Morning Post, Professor Tsering Shakya delves into the unresolved China-India border dispute in the region of Doklam. The article, “Doklam Then and Now: From British to Chinese Interests, Follow the Money”, details the long history of stalemates in the Himalayas; reflecting on the regions experience with three-way territorial struggles, fears of foreign hegemony, and dreams of a commercial invasion involving the center of world manufacturing.

Designed Leadership - Interview with Moura Quayle on Roundhouse Radio

UBC Policy School Director Moura Quayle, author of the new book Designed Leadership, speaks with Kirk LaPointe on Roundhouse Radio regarding the need for leaders to adopt design in order to succeed.

Professor Kyung-Ae Park wins an Alumni UBC 2017 Achievement Award

Professor Kyung Ae Park, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Congratulations to Professor Kyung-Ae Park for winning the Faculty Community Service Award, recognizing her for her efforts in initiating the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program (KPP). The KPP is designed to facilitate academic exchanges with North Korea for human capacity building through knowledge sharing. It was established with the belief that the right to education and access to knowledge is a universal human right. The KPP is the first and only North American program to educate North Korean university professors for long-term periods in the fields of economics, finance, trade, and business. The program also seeks to facilitate knowledge sharing with North Korea through conferences and study tours abroad. These opportunities bring together North Korean and international scholars to participate in meaningful and constructive exchanges of ideas and views. Since its inception in 2011, the KPP has hosted 40 North Korean scholars at UBC through its Visiting Professor Program (VPP).

Insights on BC joining legal fights against Trans Mountain Pipeline

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
The BC government has joined the fight against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, and is seeking intervenor status in court challenges filed by First Nations and cities. Professor George Hoberg joins CTV News to discuss how the additional support of the BC Government, in both federal and BC court cases, can be effective. He provides insight on how these efforts could effectively postpone the pipeline project, and how it might affect the provinces relationship with both the federal and Alberta provincial governments.

Politician Family Networks and Electoral Outcomes: Evidence from the Philippines

A recently published paper in the American Economic Association by MPPGA Professor Cesi Cruz, in collaboration with Julien Labonne and Pablo Querubin, analyzes the importance of politician social networks and it's impact on the electoral outcome. Using large-scale data on family networks from over 20 million individuals in 15,000 villages in the Philippines, they show that candidates for public office are disproportionately drawn from more central families, and that the family network centrality contributes to higher vote shares during the elections. Their analysis provides evidence to support their theory of political intermediation, and that these familial networks exercise an effect independent of wealth, historical elite status, or previous electoral success.”

Canada 150: week-long focus on Canada-Asia

Featured on CBC|ICI Radio (in French), Professor Yves Tiberghien takes the lead on Canada's 150 theme week: Canada-Asia. Revolving around British Columbians working in booming industries, the week-long series explores whether they believe the next 150 years will be led by Western Canada.

Cesi Cruz Wins Award from the American Political Science Association

MPPGA Professor Cesi Cruz has won the Best Conference Paper Award from the American Political Science Association – Political Networks section for her paper, “Village Social Network Structures and Electoral Competition,” written with two co-authors. This award is given annually to the best paper on political networks presented by a faculty person delivered at a political science conference in the previous year.

The jury wrote: “We found your paper to be an excellent use of network theory, data and analysis to shed light on an important substantive problem in political science. Additionally, it was well written and interesting to read.”

Old Plans, Ongoing Handouts, New Spin: Deciphering the Nuclear Construction Announcement

Last month, the union cabinet of India announced their approval for the construction of 10 additional 700 megawatt (MW) pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Authors, M. V. Ramana and Suvrat Raju delve into the complexities and challenges such a decision presents in their article published by Economic and Political Weekly.

Kai Ostwald wins Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association

Assistant Professor Kai Ostwald, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBCCongratulations to MPPGA Assistant Professor, Kai Ostwald, for his recent work explaining party durability in Singapore. Co-authored by Dr. Steven Oliver, their paper titled “Explaining Elections in Singapore: Party Credibility and Valence Politics” was awarded the Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association – Southeast Asia Politics.

Nuclear power: Expensive, hazardous and inequitable

Published in The Hindu, authors Suvrat Raju and M.V. Ramana question the Indian government’s recent approval of ten new nuclear reactors. This op-ed piece brings economic, environmental, and social concerns to the forefront, challenging “India’s commitment to sustainable development” and the viability of nuclear power as a whole.

Report: Nuclear Power and Small Modular Reactors in Indonesia

M. V. Ramana with the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC and his collaborators from the Indonesian Institute for Energy Economics, the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security have published a report titled “Nuclear Power and Small Modular Reactors in Indonesia: Potential and Challenges”, which surveys and synthesizes the historical and contemporary factors affecting nuclear power in Indonesia. The report specifically explores the class of designs called small modular reactors (SMRs) that some have promoted as particularly appropriate for developing countries.

UBC Establishes School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Moura Quayle has been appointed Director pro tem of the newly established School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC. The Policy School seeks to be an essential centre for innovation in global affairs and public policy. The UBC Policy School will catalyze a network of accomplished scholars from across both campuses who will collaborate with students, community, government, business leaders, and civil society through research, teaching, and practice. The goal of the Policy School is to contribute to solving problems of local importance and global consequence at the nexus of governance and scholarship.

As a unit within the Faculty of Arts, the Policy School will evolve with a campus-wide mandate and build upon UBC’s strengths in the study of economic and development policy, Asia, global affairs, and sustainability, with many opportunities for growth.

Vision20 Report 2017 Release

Vision20 is an annual global summit addressing the G20 role in global governance and sustainable development goals. Vision20 has released a report, "Empower, Include, and Inspire: G20 Public Leadership to Advance Responsibility, Resilience and Sustainability for a Fair Global Economy,” that features views from a V20 Workshop on “Opportunities and Risks of Globalization.” The report includes insights from Professor Yves Tiberghien, Director of the Institute of Asian Research and Coordinator for V20.

Five Takeaways from the French Election: Between Anger and Transformative Hope

The French Presidential election, especially its first Round on April 23, has shaped up as one of those truly seminal world events that will resonate for decades. Professor Yves Tiberghien sees five major takeaways from this dramatic election.

Westinghouse bankruptcy: What does it mean for US nuclear power?

Recently featured in the Christian Science Monitor, MPPGA Professor M. V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, explores the uncertain fate faced by nuclear players as they tackle the struggles of competing economically in the electricity marketplace.

The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism

Featured in Columbia Journalism Review's Tow Center Report, MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen and Emily Bell, Director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia J School, analyze how journalism is being transformed by big tech companies as a result of the switch from analog to digital, the rise of the social web, and the dominance of mobile.

Dutch pragmatism: A positive outlook in the Netherlands’ elections

Featured on CBC's On The Coast, MPPGA Professor Dr. Yves Tiberghien gives insight on the state of elections in the Netherlands, touching upon the pragmatism of the Dutch voters while also looking ahead at the expectations of France's upcoming elections.

Many shades of gray: The context-dependent performance of organic agriculture

Many people choose organic thinking it’s better for humans and the planet, but a new UBC study by Liu postdoctoral fellow Verena Seufert and MPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty published today in Science Advances finds that might not always be the case.

View the study in Science Advances.
Read the UBC Media Release.

How does climate change shape our behaviour?

Featured on the latest episode of Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM, UBC MPPGA Professor Dr. Jiaying Zhao addresses what shapes our behaviour around climate change through the perspectives of ecopsychology.

The Fate of US-Canada Relations

Can Trump and Trudeau find a shared future? What will be the fate of NAFTA? MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien and John McArthur, Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development program with Brookings, weigh in on the recent Trudeau - Trump Summit on China Global TV.

Congratulations to Dr. Rashid Sumaila, 2016 Killam Research Prize Recipient

Earlier this month, MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila was awarded the University of British Columbia’s 2016 Killam Faculty Research Prize in the Applied Science, Sciences Senior Category. Winners were selected by UBC’s Faculty Research Award Committee, which spans arts and humanities, applied science, science, and medicine.

China Nuclear Push Stalled by Next-Generation Reactors

MPPGA Professor M. V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Affairs at the Liu Institute for Global Issues shares his insights on the nuclear aims of China’s policy makers.

The tumultuous revival of Keystone XL

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Featured in the most recent episode of CBC's Early Edition, MPPGA Professor George Hoberg discusses the straining relationship between the environment and economy, as Trump's decision to revive the Keystone XL pipeline brings uncertainty to both the Canadian and American populous.

Symbolic Canada-China free-trade talks to begin

Professor Paul Evans, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
With the descent of the TPP and rocky US-China relations, Canada and China's emerging relationship is prompted with the beginning of exploratory talks on the potential of a free-trade agreement. Featured in a recent Globe and Mail article, MPPGA Professor Dr. Paul Evans explains the significance of this development.

Davos Forum: all talk, little action

Professor Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
With the surfacing discontent of globalization comes the rising power of populist movements seen around the globe today. But are the Davos elites willing to adjust their philosophies and make changes? MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien provides insight in the latest Christian Science Monitor article.

What is this thing called organic? How organic farming is codified in regulations

Professor Navin Ramankutty, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Published in Food Policy (vol. 68), a new paper led by UBC Postdoctoral Fellow Verena Seufert and co-authored by MPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty and Tabea Mayerhofer examines why organic regulations need to better incorporate environmental best practices.

Pipeline politics: the battle of Kinder Morgan

Professor George Hoberg, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In a recent Vancouver Sun article, MPPGA Professor George Hoberg provided insight on BC's Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, noting on the ultimate uncertainty of the project when considering the involvement of First Nations and opposing parties.

Dr. Rashid Sumaila wins Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Science

Professor Rashid Sumaila, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila has won the prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Award in recognition of his work on sustainable fisheries around the world. Dr. Sumaila is the recipient in the 2017 “Excellence in Science” category, which is given to an individual who “has advanced the cause of understanding ocean processes, marine ecology and conservation biology.”

Upgraded relationships: Canada posts new Ambassador to China

Professor Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
In the CBC's Early Edition , MPPGA Professor Yves Tiberghien discusses the potential of China and Canada's relationship and it's impact on the US, following the new posting of Hon. John McCallum as Ambassador to China. Interview begins at 51:35.

The power and polarization of the rural vote

Assistant Professor Kai Ostwald, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Featured in The Atlantic, MPPGA Assistant Professor Kai Ostwald provides a comparison of America's rural voting power to that of Malaysia's in 2013, where urban voters were unable to unseat the ruling party despite garnering the popular vote.

Loyalty and uncertainty in a post-Ghorka earthquake Nepal

Professor Sara Shneiderman, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Having studied the region of Dolakha for years, Dr. Sara Shneiderman was featured in Catch News after speaking at Tribhuvan University's second annual conference of the Central Department of Anthropology regarding the potential of disaster management for the gain of political power and legitimacy in Nepal.

A year of challenges: Dr. Tiberghien on the EU's state of affairs

Professor Yves Tiberghien, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Speaking to Roundhouse Radio's Business in Vancouver, Dr. Yves Tiberghien surveys the new year's political climate in the European Union as it tackles the question of Brexit, the unresolved Eurocrisis, immigration, CETA, and the French elections. Dr. Tiberghien's interview begins at 23:30.

MPPGA and UBC Journalism professor Taylor Owen named a top 100 Foreign Policy influencer by OpenCanada

Assistant Professor Taylor Owen, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
As global interest in Canada continues, and new voices from academia and politics emerge on social media, this year OpenCanada shines a light on Canadian foreign policy Twitterati, including UBC’s own Taylor Owen.

Dr. Rashid Sumaila named a Hokkaido University Ambassador

Professor Rashid Sumaila, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Dr. Rashid Sumaila has been appointed as a Hokkaido University Ambassador. He will hold this appointment from 2016-2019. Dr. Sumaila has an international reputation in the economics, environmental and fisheries fields. A prolific scholar, he is at the forefront of producing knowledge and data about the status and trends in global fisheries, and has made a number of fundamental contributions to understanding the economics of global fisheries. The Hokkaido University Ambassador program was created so that the university could connect and partner with eminent scholars and researchers from across the globe, as well as to raise the university’s profile. This appointment underscores the global reach of his research.

Redrawing Canada's political map through energy policies

Featured in Business in Vancouver, MPPGA Professor George Hoberg provides an insight into the government's redrawing of Canada's political map through the power of energy policies, as seen with the recent federal approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

Post-2006 Nepal: Surveying the state’s transformation after the end of decade-long civil conflict

Featured in Cambridge University's Journal of Modern Asian Studies, MPPGA Professor Sara Shneiderman contributes to a review of literature surveying the ongoing transformation of Nepal since 2006, following the end of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces.

Trump's climate stance

Listen to this CBC interview with George Hoberg, Professor, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy at UBC's Liu Institute for Global Issues on what Donald Trump's climate policies could mean.

What Hong Kong's 'watershed' political moment means for Vancouver

Yves Tiberghien, MPPGA Professor and Director of UBC’s Institute of Asian Research comments on the recent display of uneasy political undercurrents that have dominated Hong Kong for the past few years.

Canada, China at dawn of golden decade

Paul Evans
MPPGA Professor Paul Evans explored with Global Times the status of bilateral relations between Canada and China: Are the two countries having a new golden decade? What can be expected from the bilateral relationship? To learn more, follow the link to the article.

$11.4-billion PNW LNG project in B.C. approved by federal government

The Liu Institute's George Hoberg, Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, UBC
The federal government approved the $11.4-billion LNG project in B.C. on September 27th. The Liu Institute's George Hoberg, professor of environmental and natural resource policy, spoke to The Province, saying that the approval is “a major step backward for the Trudeau government’s commitment to meet its Paris climate target." To learn more, follow the link to the article.

China’s New Quantum Satellite: The Start of an Arms Race?

Assistant Professor Taylor Owen, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC
Co-authored by MPPGA Assistant Professor Taylor Owen and recent International Relations graduate Robert Gorwa, a new article in Foreign Affairs explores the exciting and terrifying possibilities that the new generation of quantum science brings. Could China’s new quantum satellite mean the start of an Arms Race? Follow the link to learn more about the conflicts related to emerging quantum technology and Project Q: an ambitious research project, symposium series, and documentary that explore these issue.

High seas fisheries management could recoup losses due to climate change

Professor Rashid Sumaila, Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs professional program, UBC

Research by Rashid Sumaila, MPPGA Professor and Director of OceanCanada with UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, explores how the high seas can help us mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems if they are closed to fishing.

Indonesia's Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, Successes, and Unintended Consequences


MPPGA Professor Kai Ostwald published an article, "Indonesia's Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, Successes, and Unintended Consequences", co-authored with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak, in the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies. Since 2001, Indonesia has undergone a rapid and extensive programme of decentralization of governance and resources from the centre to local level. Learn more in this publication.

CCTV-4 Documentary: Foreigners in China

MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien was featured in a documentary on CCTV-4 on his work in China and his coordination of the Vision 20 summit in Hangzhou. The documentary tells the story of how Tiberghien became so involved in Asian politics and diplomacy by focusing on his personal life as well as his career.

Tough Decisions Ahead on Canada’s GHG Emissions Strategy

According to Professor George Hoberg, a meaningful climate plan needs to have, at minimum, a measurable target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over a specified time period. Hoberg further argues that there is a need for enforceable policies that can reasonably be expected to achieve that climate target.

Communication needed before THAAD deployment

MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien was quoted in the Chinese Radio International article discussing a suggested line of communication between China and the US that is connected to the deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea. Tiberghien suggests that this can be done on a non-political level.

B.C.’s foreign-buyer tax could help China fight corruption: ex-envoy

Paul Evans
Professor Paul Evans was quoted in this Globe and Mail article discussing BC's new foreign-buyer tax and its effect on relations between Canada and China. Professor Evans believes the new levy will have no impact on relations between Ottawa and Beijing since it is structured in a way that does not single out Chinese nationals.

Why Would a Pirate Ship Want Insurance?

MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila, Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC Fisheries Centre, argues that reducing poachers’ access to insurance might be one way to combat illegal fishing. Furthermore, he estimates that losing their insurance would cause perhaps 40 percent of the ships that regularly fish illegally to stop doing so.

Time for the hard work on meaningful climate policy

According to Professor George Hoberg, Canada has so far relied on uncoordinated provincial climate initiatives, such as a carbon tax in BC, a ban on coal in Ontario, and regulatory instruments in Alberta, to meet its global commitments. Now, Hoberg argues, there is a need for new, bold policies to close the gap and meet Canada's 2030 target.

Embrace The Comparative Impact Advantage Of A Focus On Mining

MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes discusses the current Canadian international assistance review. Dierkes argues that expertise about the mining sector exists in many different parts of Canadian society, which is why it is logical to turn to assistance focused on mining in recognition of the contribution that such expertise can make in this sector.

Yves Tiberghien on England's vote for Brexit

MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien was featured on the CBC Early Edition at the 2:09:31 mark about the UK's EU referendum. Professor Tiberghien discussed the referendum results that led to the UK leaving the EU. He also talks about the legal, political, and even environmental changes that will possibly take place in the following years.

Mongolia, Hit Hard by the Commodities Slump, Wearily Faces Elections

MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes discusses Mongolia's upcoming parliamentary elections and the possible staggering defeat for the ruling Democratic Party, which had led successive governments over the past four years. Rather than offering a compelling vision for Mongolia's future, the DP's strategy, as argued by Dierkes, has focused on reconfiguring the entire election system, which creates more problems in the process.

Canada’s China strategy is in desperate need of repair

In this Globe and Mail piece, MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien discusses the Canadian debate on China that has been focused on the battle between necessary trade and fundamental human and environmental rights. Tiberghien argues that Canada cannot only talk to like-minded advanced democracies, but also has to actively engage with other key global players, such as China.

Ships flagged for illegal fishing still able to get insurance: UBC study

MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila, Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC Fisheries Centre, discusses illegal fishing as a major problem that siphons an estimated $10 to 20 billion annually from the global economy, and causes millions of tonnes of fish to disappear from the oceans. Insurance can be financially beneficial for fishing vessels because it eliminates the risk of large financial loss should an accident occur. So how could illegal vessels be prevented from obtaining insurance?

You can find the answer as well as more information about the study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Trudeau in lose-lose position on pipelines: UBC prof

According to Professor George Hoberg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has put himself in a position where he can’t avoid a “massive” setback to his political standing in at least one of three provinces: B.C., Alberta and Quebec. “He’s boxed himself in politically and now he can’t avoid expending massive political capital by offending one or more important political allies,” Hoberg said in an interview.

Read more in Professor Hoberg’s paper, Pipelines and the Politics of Structure: A Case Study of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Land-use regime shifts: an analytical framework and agenda for future land-use research

MPPGA Professor Navin Ramankutty and co-author Oliver Coomes present an analytical framework for understanding land-use regime shifts in this recent publication. The authors survey historical events of land change and perform in-depth case studies of soy and shrimp development in Latin America to demonstrate the role of preconditions, triggers, and self-reinforcing processes in driving these shifts.

China's 13th Five-Year Plan

MPPGA Co-Director, Professor Yves Tiberghien was interviewed by the Center for Strategic & International Studies on China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. Despite the explosive growth of the private sector in China’s economy over the last several decades, and a diminution of the role of planning in the management of an increasingly diverse economic landscape, the Chinese Communist Party’s five-year plans remain the most authoritative strategic vision on the direction of the country’s economic and social policies.

Virtual Reality documentary wins Peabody Award

Taylor Owen
Professor Taylor Owen worked alongside James Milward to create a Virtual Reality documentary, Ebola Outbreak: A Virtual Journey. This month, the documentary won a Peabody Award prize honoring excellence and innovation in digital storytelling. Named the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award, this initiative embodies shared core interests of the Peabody Awards and Facebook in recognizing stories that matter, educate, and inspire social change.

“Ebola Outbreak” is an immersive 360 experience filmed on the ground in West Africa, tracing the outbreak’s path through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Explore for yourself in this virtual reality journey how the massive epidemic began and uncover the hidden story of what happened before the world started paying attention. With access to key global decision-makers and health responders, and riveting firsthand accounts of victims, Outbreak exposes tragic missteps in the response to the epidemic.

Guarded Confidence in Mongolian Democracy

MPPGA Professor Julian Dierkes analyzes political turmoil in Mongolia’s upcoming election caused by a high court decision to reject the use of party lists to determine the 28-seat portion of parliament to be elected by proportional representation. Professor Dierkes also discusses the possible impact of various electoral challenges on the outcome of the parliamentary election.

Fish Subsidies Must Come to an End to Save Ocean Stocks

MPPGA Professor Rashid Sumaila, Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC Fisheries Centre, discusses fishing, its worldwide importance as a critical source of food and jobs, and how fish stocks are currently collapsing after more than half a century of decline. Sumaila attempts to answer the question of whether or not it is still wise to use taxpayer money to fund fisheries subsidies, given that many governments support their local industries with subsidies.

Measuring and tracking the flow of climate change adaptation aid to the developing world

Milind Headshot
MPPGA Professor Milind Kandlikar, UBC Professor Simon Donner, and graduate student Sophie Webber discuss climate change adaptation and the problems associated with its financing. By arguing that there is no clear definition of what separates adaptation aid from standard development aid, the authors use a historical database of overseas development projects to test the effect of different accounting assumptions.

Nepal’s rule-of-law politics demand global attention

Sara Shneiderman
MPPGA’s Sara Shneiderman, Assistant Professor in Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research at UBC says Nepal's rule-of-law politics demand global attention. A year after the country’s devastating earthquakes, a series of arrests is raising important questions about freedom of expression and rule of law under the country’s 2015 constitution.

Taxi apps, regulation, and the market for taxi journeys

Milind Headshot
Liu Professor, Milind Kandlikar, and co-authors Simon Harding and Sumeet Gulati, attempt to provide a starting point for discussion on how smartphone-based taxi apps have changed the market for taxi journeys and the resulting implications for taxi market regulation. Their research provides a brief history of taxi regulation, as well as outlines the underlying economic rationales of its current form in various parts of the world. This research argues that current regulation assumes that taxi markets are subject to three sets of problems that require correction by regulatory intervention. The paper presents multiple potential problems for taxi apps, such as the potential for instability on supply and demand sides, collusion and monopoly. This research extends our understanding of taxi markets and the issues associated with the popularity of newly released apps, such as Uber.

Ending Energy Poverty


Hisham Zerriffi, Assistant Professor and Ivan Head South/North Research Chair, Liu Institute for Global Issues, discussed Ending Energy Poverty on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on April 27, 2016. Much of his research focuses on institutional factors impacting the diffusion of new technology, determinants and patterns of household energy choice and welfare implications of rural energy use. Professor Zerriffi discussed the complexities of household energy choices and their subsequent health impacts. Four million people die prematurely around the globe every year as a result of household air pollution from cooking with fuels such as animal dung and wood. Cleaner fuel options are more costly. He also explored the social and technical strategies to enable energy access. He argues that it is a matter of political will and establishing the political, policy, and regulatory systems that will provide incentives to enable access to energy to those around the globe who urgently need it.

Learn more about TVO’s set of programs that explore global communities without electrical power here.

Earth Day: Convenience, Real-time Feedback Makes Us More Environmentally Aware

Today is Earth Day (April 22nd), an annual reminder to reflect on the impact of our actions and to consider how we can lighten our footprint on our earth. Despite an increasing awareness of how our actions impact our environment, adopting sustainable behaviours is not always easy. Jiaying Zhao, assistant professor at UBC’s Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Psychology, explains that this is because behaviour change requires more than just education; many simple factors (such as convenience) can be the key to helping us become more environmentally friendly.

MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien Speaks on Center for Strategic and International Studies Panel

In April 2016, MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien was part of a day-long event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies with Chinese and American think tank leaders on the Belt and Road initiative. The event was titled “Asian Development, the OBOR Initiative, and U.S.-China Relations.” Click the link above to watch the video. Yves stated in the China Daily: “I see the OBOR as low hanging fruit for US-China cooperation, because there is no conflict of interest. If anything, it’s going to help stabilize Afghanistan and the Middle East.”

Yves was also a presenter at a Brookings-hosted event on the Japan-led G7 and the China-led G20 titled “Japan’s G-7 and China’s G-20 chairmanships: Bridges or stovepipes in leader summitry?” Listen to the podcast here.

Taylor Owen Wins Emerging Leader Policy Award

Taylor Owen
MPPGA Professor Taylor Owen is being awarded the 2016 Emerging Leader Award from Canada’s Public Policy Forum in Toronto today, April 7th, 2016 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the quality of public policy and good governance. In his speech to attendees, he challenged institutions and think tanks to evolve and innovate, or risk irrelevance. His remarks are published in this OpenCanada article.

Taylor is Assistant Professor, Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of OpenCanada.org

Vision 20: International Summit on Global Governance’s New Frontiers

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UBC MPPGA Co-Director Yves Tiberghien (Political Science Professor and IAR Director) organized Vision 20: International Summit on Global Governance’s New Frontiers in Hangzhou, China from March 31 – April 1, 2016. MPPGA student Chad Rickaby and other UBC graduate students alongside UBC Political Science faculty members and a global coalition of policy schools and think tanks participated in the summit that focused on the question of improving global governance and addressing systemic risk. Vision 20 sought to bring COP21 and sustainable development goals (SDGs) into the leadership priorities of the forthcoming G20 summit.

The summit brought together fifty world-class speakers and a dozen universities to seek a bigger picture approach to the G20 and initiate a new network, as well as produce a blue paper and book to influence the G20 in September, 2016.

Reimagining the Policy Professional

Ottawa Policy Studio
To effectively address urgent and complex international and global issues such as climate change, inequality and security threats, the next generation of policy leaders need strategic design, research, and technology-based skills and a global perspective. Learn more about how UBC’s MPPGA program meets these needs through PolicyStudio@UBC, an idea recently launched at the Central Innovation Hub in Ottawa. MPPGA students gathered with faculty, federal government leaders and public servants to design and test solutions in an interdisciplinary setting over the course of several days. PolicyStudio@UBC in Ottawa was a prime example of strategic policy design in action.