RAND Europe is studying violence and riots at international sports events

Anti-social behaviour at football matches is a well-known problem everywhere. The police, football associations and governments have used many interventions and strategies aimed at anticipating and responding to such problematic behaviour. Regarding two international sports events in Qatar: the 2019 World Athletics Championship and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the University of Qatar commissioned a report from RAND Europe about violence and disturbances at international sports events.

The objective of the study was to understand the nature and factors associated with antisocial and violent behaviour at football matches and examine the effectiveness of existing approaches to anticipate and respond to such behaviour.

Football supportersThe influence of alcohol, sports rivalries, spatial factors, socio-political factors, psychological factors, situational factors and reactions to the game are factors that lead to violent and antisocial behaviour. However, these factors usually interact and there is never only one factor involved.

Police approaches aimed at establishing dialogue and positive lines of communication with fans seem to be promising. Some studies found that policing methods that tried to maintain a rapport of mutual respect between fans and the police were effective. Nevertheless, the tests presented in the case study of violence at the EUFA European Championship in 2016 suggest that police forces also need a series of tactics, require sufficient resources and need to be prepared to increase the response to the situation if so requires.

The Crowd Behaviour Model (CBM) can capture complex cultural, individual and environmental differences in the way people move in an area to be able to predict how crowds behave. CBM is more effective when it is collaborative and interactive among experts that define a model, the customer and the pertinent parts, such as stadium security officials.

A case study of the role of volunteers at major sports events found that volunteers play an important role in maintaining public security by supporting the spectator’s positive behaviour during important sports events.

Although there is no one factor alone that causes crowd disturbances in the world of football, evidence suggests that some interventions may be effective to anticipate and respond to violent and antisocial behaviour. This means that host nations should be able to take practical measures to minimise the possibility of disturbances during a tournament. Investigations suggest that disruptive behaviour increases with out-of-proportion or inconsistent security and surveillance tactics, queues and delays when at the entrance to stadiums, hinder the movement of fans.

There is a range of promising practices that event organisers can consider. Regarding surveillance tactics, experience shows that low-intensity policing is associated with more peaceful crowds. These approaches are based on the creation of relations with fans and the sharing of intelligence and cooperation between police agencies from different countries, both before and during the event.


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In January Europol and Eurojust elaborated their first report on encryption in the area of IT security, First report of the observatory function on encryption. Within the framework of the measures presented by the European Commission at the report, both agencies established a joint observatory to analyse the difficulties, the opportunities and the future of encryption in the world of criminal investigation.

The report provides a brief introduction of the concepts, products and services[1]that have a generic use for encryption. Immediately, drawing from the experiences of members of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), it involves challenges for the security services and judicial systems when investigating and persecuting penal offences.

Accordingly, in first place a deficient specific legal framework is stressed that does not help security agencies and judicial authorities to address and combat encryption. Despite the difficult balance between the right to privacy and the rights of the victims, the report stresses the need for regulations that facilitate, along with others, the legal obligation to provide the key or the encrypted information on the part of companies and/or services[2]and some specific provisions for the use of tools to attack encryption.[3]

Apart from the legal aspects, what stands out is the need to reinforce aspects of operational coordination, technical and technological resources and human resources. According to the observatory, from an operational viewpoint a better coordination of the different security forces and European agencies like Europol and Eurojust is needed. At the same time, it is crucial to invest in computational power in order to carry out attacks aimed at finding the access codes to encrypted information. Nevertheless, and as a complement to technology, training and the presence of forensic experts in the field are essential.[4]

Faced by the afore-mentioned problem of balancing rights to privacy and the need to fight against crime, European Digital Rights (EDRi) indicates that finding the key or discovering it by exploiting vulnerabilities is a good way to respond to the problem. It is in this direction that, according to the report, efforts should be made to meet the challenge of encryption.

Finally, the report refers to new future challenges. The observatory will emphasize three of these, quantum computing, artificial intelligence and the arrival of 5G. For the time being, none of these technologies has meant a radical change in encryption but major advances and some risks are expected, like the Quantum Key Distribution in the case of quantum computing or the International Mobile Subscriber Identity-IMSI[5]in the case of 5G.

Overall, the report presents a dilemma. Although encryption is necessary, in terms of security, for public administrations and private companies, it is also taken advantage of for illegal organised crime activities. The underlying question, therefore, is to provide public services with a legal framework and an operative capacity to progress in this technological environment. Will we be able to, when the report itself stresses that it is private companies that are taking the initiative?


https://www.europol.europa.eu/à Europol

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/Pages/home.aspx –> Eurojust

https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-documents/first-report-of-observatory-function-encryptionà Report on the Europol website.

Footnote 1.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/about-europol/european-cybercrime-centre-ec3 European Cybercrime Centre. EC3

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/5067/international-mobile-subscriber-identity-imsi – IMSI

[1]For example, in the field of navigators, the use of The Onion Router(Tor), a free programme that, apart from borrowing several IP address, creates random nodes and connections with their respective layers of deciphering, which makes it difficult to trace the original IP. Or the Virtual Private Networks, that protect the connection between the terminal and the server. In voice communications, we have, for example, Signal encryption services as well as the less well-known Silent Circle.

[2]This specific legislation is not generalised, as it could amount to a violation of the right not to incriminate oneself in a crime. Nevertheless, wherever this obligation for service providers exists, on many occasions these very suppliers cannot satisfy demand because they have no access to the end-to-end encryption –E2EE).

[3]The report stresses that, although it is enough with current legislation, concreteness about deciphering tools used, although not necessarily more descriptive in technical terms, could provide more juridical security.

[4]There are deciphering tools that, with current computational competence, make decryption possible in a reasonable amount of time. It is for this reason that experts can provide aspects of the personal context and environment of the object of the investigation to speed up the investigation by focusing resources in one direction.

[5]With 5G, a sole identifier can be temporarily substituted by a dynamic identifier, which generates new manipulation techniques for identifying and hiding.


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Drug trafficking: the principal worry for Catalans according the CEO

ÒmnibusOn 13th February, the Centre of Opinion Studies (CEO) published the Omnibus of the Generalitat of Catalonia 2018, with the aim of obtaining opinion poll information about the current situation and its impact on policies being carried out in Catalonia. The report, divided into two blocks, addresses a range of scenarios, territorial, economic and work-related and moving on to health, culture and education, and also touches on the field of security and justice. As far as this block is concerned, it stresses, regarding the same report from the previous year, the change of focus: while in 2017 the emphasis was on the analysis of the judicial field, in 2018 security has been a priority, and it has particularly focused on gender violence taking place in leisure-related contexts.

On a scale of 0 to 10 (0 not at all safe and 10 very safe),those interviewed assessed the level of security in Catalonia with an average of 6.48, although most, 23.3%, gave a mark of 8, which means that means that the country is quite a safe place.

Drug trafficking is the phenomenon that is considered to be the main problem threatening cohabitation and public safety. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning “no problem” and 10 meaning “a very important problem”, drug trafficking was given a 7.82 on average, ahead of such phenomena as, for example, theft and violence which would appear to have a more direct impact on citizens. Furthermore, most of those interviewed, 30.2%, qualified the threat as a “very important problem”, while only 1.1% qualified it as “no problem”.

This problem therefore encompasses other phenomena that are also considered to be a threat to cohabitation and public safety, like gender violence, awarded an average of 7.62, anti-social behaviour (litter, noise, etc.), awarded 7.42. Below 7 we find, in descending order, public insecurity, including theft and assault (6.92), racism and xenophobia (6.82) and mistreating the elderly (6.77). Terrorism, with an average of 6.25, is considered to be the least relevant problem.

As mentioned earlier, gender violence is one the main concerns, both for the general public and the institutions. In this edition, the Omnibus focuses on assaults and violence of a sexual nature in nightlife venues, according to the Catalonia Gender Violence Survey (EVCM) published by the Department of the Interior of the Generalitat of Catalonia in July, which is where most sexist assaults happen, followed by the public space and public transport.

On a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 meaning “never” and 5 “very often”, 5.2% of citizens believe that rape and attempted rape “very often” take place in nightlife venues, while most, 27%, believe that they “sometimes” happen. The percentage corresponding to “very often” increases progressively as the type of assault becomes less serious. Therefore, almost 30% of the population think that (aggressive) comments of a sexual nature “very often” take place in nightlife venues, 17.8%, hassling attitudes of a sexual nature, 9.8%, fondling without violence and 4.9%, fondling with violence. Hence, in general, citizens believe that in nightlife venues the different forms of sexual violence take place “sometimes” or “often. Finally, the CEO results in the field of gender violence show that 12% of women in Catalonia are “very afraid”, on a scale of 0 to 10, of walking alone in the street due to a fear of being assaulted sexually.

To conclude, the results of the survey point out that the emergency telephone 112 is assessed positively by those who have used it for some reason, mainly because of a medical emergency (40.3%) or of a road accident (17.2%). 53.6% of users consider the attention received to be “very good”, while only 3.2% consider it to be “very bad”.

You can see the complete results of the 2018 Omnibus of the Generalitat of Catalonia by clicking on the following link:



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People trafficking increases in contexts of armed conflict and when sexual exploitation is the main objective

Global report on trafficking in persons 2018Last December the 2018 global report on people trafficking 2018 was published, elaborated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report analyses the dynamics of people trafficking and its evolution over recent years, and emphasises the relationship between people trafficking and armed conflicts. It is in the context of armed conflicts where this practice is accentuated especially by armed groups that partake in the conflict with the aim of financing armed activity, but also by organised crime groups and individuals.

The study is divided into two blocks: in the first, a general vision is offered of what people trafficking actually is, the main practices, the flows, the profile of the victims and the global dynamics; and in the second, there is detailed information in accordance with regions. The report can be summarised with the following main conclusions:

The ability to detect and inform of the number of victims has increased in most countries, as has the number of convictions. This change is particularly due to the fact that over recent years trafficking-related legislation has been modified, efforts have increased to detect this type of crime, as has cooperation with other countries, and more resources have been assigned to the protection of victims and the most vulnerable groups. While in 2009, only 26 countries had an institution responsible for collecting information regarding people trafficking cases, in 2018 this number increased to 65. An accurate collection of data is vital when designing an appropriate strategy to combat this type of crime.

On the other hand, there are still territories where traffickers enjoy a high level of impunity. Especially in Asia and Africa there are countries where the mechanisms for collecting data are not correctly implanted and where the number of cases of people trafficking presented is relatively low. However, in other regions with better information gathering mechanisms they do detect cases of trafficking of people from other regions, which indicates that numbers are not real.

Regarding the geographic scope of people trafficking, the yearly report stresses that in less developed countries most cases of people trafficking that are detected are of a national nature: the victims are citizens of the same country. In countries in Western Europe and the Middle East, on the other hand, the victims come from distant regions, while the percentage of national victims from the same country is of little significance.

Adult women are the main victims of people trafficking. 49% of all victims are women, followed by 23% girls, a number that is on the rise. Men are victims in 21% of cases and boys in 7%. This trend, however, is not uniform as it varies in accordance with the region. In America and in the Caribbean, girls are the main victims, while in central Asia, the percentage of underage victims is very low and men and women, with a similar percentage, are the victims.

The variation of gender and age is particularly related to the objective of the trafficking. At a global level, sexual exploitation continues to be the main aim of people trafficking, followed by forced labour. Other forms of exploitation detected in some regions, although to a lesser extent, are: forced marriage in some countries in south east Asia, illegal adoption in central and South America, extracting organs in North Africa and in central and eastern Europe and child trafficking to be exploited for the purpose of begging or the production of pornography.

Finally, as stressed previously, the study stresses the incidence of armed conflict in people trafficking. The lack of resources to combat crime, the fragility of the state of law and people’s despair at not having access to basic resources provides the optimum context for traffickers to carry out their activities. In conflict zones, in many cases armed groups engage in people trafficking for economic reasons, to finance their activities. People trafficking not only increases in the areas where the conflict is taking place, but also in neighbouring countries, especially in refugee camps.

People trafficking is one of the most thriving criminal activities on an International scale, and is one of the most profitable. It is for this reason that combating this type of trafficking is an important challenge to global security. Despite the progress made in recent years, there remains a lot of work to do, particularly in certain areas of Africa and Asia.

To consult the whole report look at the following link: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2018/GLOTiP_2018_BOOK_web_embargoed.pdf


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The United States: a person dies every three minutes due to violence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the US Department of Health and Human Services every year 214,000 people die because of injuries caused by acts of violence, 1 person every 3 minutes. However, every year millions of people survive acts of violence but still have to address mental, physical and economic problems. In 2013 there were 30.8 million injuries, in 2015 there were approximately 30.4 million, and because of these 2.8 people were hospitalised and 27.6 million were treated in emergency rooms. In 2016 32 million people were injured. It must be borne in mind that such injuries generate fairly high economic costs in the USA, amounting to 671 billion dollars in 2013.

If we break down the total number of injuries, we can see, according to 2016 data that the classification is the following: unintended injuries and violence. Primarily:

  • Over 33,700 people died in traffic accidents.
  • Over 14,800 people died due to prescribed opioids.
  • 2,791,000 elderly people are treated in emergency rooms because of falls every year.
  • 325,000 children are treated in emergency rooms because of sports-related concussion.

On the other hand, violence-related figures are the following:

  • 1 out of every 7 children has suffered abuse or neglect.
  • Every minute there are 20 people are victims of violence inflicted by their partners.
  • 1 out of every 2 women will suffer sexual violence during their lifetime.
  • 1 out of every 5 men will suffer sexual violence during their lifetime.

What can be done to improve these figures? According to the CDC, they have been working on injury and violence prevention for 20 years. This centre is considered to be the USA’s number one prevention authority. The four competences to be stressed are:

  1. Identify and monitor problems by using latest generation data.
  2. Do research and understand what type of work is necessary for prevention purposes.
  3. Support state-level prevention programmes.
  4. Work together with healthcare personnel, healthcare suppliers, legislators and the public to implement prevention solutions.

Moreover, the centre publishes a series of improvements to be able to facilitate the prevention of injuries and violence in different areas:

  • In traffic accidents there should be a bigger campaign related to the use of seatbelts, child seats and elevators.
  • Use more information when prescribing medication.
  • To avoid sports-related injuries affecting children, it would be necessary to promote a safety-oriented culture where young people can inform about their malaise, symptoms and provide resources for coaches and parents.
  • Ensure that children have safe and stable environments and relationships.
  • To avoid falls that affect the elderly a prevention routine should be applied by healthcare authorities; monitoring patients, treatment and counselling.
  • Finally, in order to reduce sexual violence more respectful relationships must be promoted, reinforcing the figure of the woman and girl and creating safer environments for all.

Links of interest:


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One out of every four children is at risk of becoming a disaster victim

WorldRiskReport 2018Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft along with the International Institute of Peace Law and Armed Conflicts (IFHV) has published the international report regarding such a risk.

This year the organisations are focusing on the protection of children, quite a vulnerable group, and their rights. According to this report, 1 in 4 children in the world lives in a country affected by disasters. For this reason, among others, the report makes an appeal to improve and protect the rights of infants, particularly those who are at risk.

Children are a group that is often affected by crises and disasters. To protect and reduce the impact that these have, on them and on their families, it is necessary to establish some preparation and cooperation measures that correctly adapt to the situation they are going through. One way of guaranteeing them is that States fulfil their duty and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations in 1989.

The report stresses how important education is when there is a crisis. After an emergency situation, educational institutions must promote a protection area in which the child can continue to develop. School must be a tool to protect the child from rape, exploitation and sickness. If there is no protection, in the long term there will be a negative impact on society: a lack of opportunities, poverty… Moreover, school represents an area for raising awareness to “understand” the disaster and administer it emotionally; an example would be the loss of a family member. In this case, educational programmes are introduced, the main objective of which is reintegrate the children in the state educational system as rapidly as possible, via detection and healing the trauma caused by the disaster.

Another important point is to involve children in projects and training related to preparations for disaster to know what the best prospect for the situation is and how to develop a suitable and effective strategy, as is the case of Bangladesh, where the impact of the government is not particularly effective. The northern area of the country suffers a lot of floods, a phenomenon that destroys homes and crops. To address this problem, three NGOs united to apply a project to prepare for disasters. This involved training school teachers and children and developing a school emergency plan. At the same time schools received material such as umbrellas, rainwear, torches… For the moment these strategies and training programmes are useful, but better coordination with the government is necessary.

Some of the recommendations to promote the role of children in the management of disasters and crises, according to Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, are:

  • Address and prioritise the needs of children when there is a crisis.
  • Integrate children in preparation and intervention projects to address the risks caused by disasters. Listen to their perception of risks, their needs, ideas and solutions.
  • Nursery schools and schools are key actors in supporting children and families when there are disasters. Economic support and specialists in the educational environment are required.
  • Special measures to rescue children quickly from the danger area. The importance of child protection centres is stressed.
  • International support for the immediate evacuation of children.

Links of interest:




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The role of organised crime in contemporary conflicts

Since the beginning of the first decade of the 20th century, the links between armed conflicts and organised crime have been more evident. This is present in all stages of contemporary armed conflicts, and serves to increase levels of violence and makes it difficult to resolve such conflicts. Several types of criminal businesses are a source of extremely important finance for the armed groups participating in conflicts, especially non-state groups. The main criminal businesses that contribute to financing armed groups are the different activities related to exploiting natural resources, drug trafficking, trafficking cultural assets and people, among others.

Organized crime and its role in contemporary conflictIn September 2018, the platform with its headquarters in Geneva Global Initiative against Transnational Crime published a study in which it analysed this relationship between organised crimeand current conflicts. In this report, it was indicated how pacifying missions in general and deployments promoted by the United Nations Security Council have not only been unable to bear in mind the role played by the trafficking of assets and illegal services in armed conflicts, but also in some cases have unintentionally contributed to the proliferation of illegal business, by cooperating with criminal groups,to achieve peaceand by accepting their participation and influence in the new governments and emerging institutional structures of the conflict, and therefore also increasing demand for illegal products and activities.

The document stresses the importance of focusing on dynamics and interests that underlie criminal businesses when designing pacifying strategies, and also the importance of reinserting combatants in civil society to prevent these from continuing to be involved in criminal activities and, therefore, to ensure stability. For now, there are two United Nations missions in operation that focus on organised crime dynamics and their role in the armed conflict in question: The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated StabilisationMission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO).Both missions have reaffirmed the idea that the links between conflicts in these two countries and the whole region in general with organised crime are evident.

Although there is a very clear need, consensus to integrate activities to combat crime in pacifying actions on the part of the United Nations have been limited, mainly due to the lack of coordination between the pacifying forces and UN criminal justice authorities. The need to gain approval of UN actions from the governments of countries where the conflict is taking place makes it even more difficult to implement and coordinate effectively. In many cases, these actions are aimed at impeding access to natural resources that could be illegally exploited by violent groups, ignoring the fact that in some cases the most important political actors are the ones that have control of product trafficking and illegal services.

The study indicates an increase in the number of resolutions of the UN Security Council concerning organised crime. Between 2012 and 2017, over 60% of the resolutions were related to organised crime, a considerable figure if compared with resolutions that were linked to terrorism issues, about half. Hence, although terrorism is regarded as one the main threats to global security, if not the main one, the impact of organised crime is bigger. One quantative example is that in 2015 there were 328 terrorist-related deaths, whereas deaths related to criminal activities amounted to 256,500.

The document also determines that some conflicts are associated with a specific criminal activity, as may be the case with Somalia and piracy or Libya and people and migrant trafficking, although by far most conflicts are found to have dynamics involving a range of criminal activities, as is the case of Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan, the conflicts of Sahel, Mali, DR Congo, etc.What is clear is that organised crime (arms trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, financial crime, people trafficking and trafficking wildlife) have become a very important component in all current conflicts, and much of the resulting violence caused by such illegal activities is related to confrontation to control the main resources and the most important routes for trafficking.

The dynamics underlying these activities are different in each context, but as a general framework, the lack of effective institutions leads to a lack of development and gives continuity to illegal business as a key economic activity. These activities, moreover, are becoming increasingly diverse.

The first steps that the report proposes to reduce the possibility that peace operations contribute to the emergence of criminal activities are:

  • An increase in the provision of resources for entities that are responsible for analysing criminal markets and their links with armed conflicts.
  • Analysis of the economic, political and social situation of the actors that control natural resources and routes for trafficking and their economic motivation.
  • Analysis of the dynamic of these markets.
  • Obtaining control of key strategic points like sources of natural resources of DR Congo, the gold mines of the Central African Republic, and the ports on the coast of Libya.
  • Establishing a UN mechanism comparable with the Global Strategy of the United Nations against terrorism to address organised crime.

You can consult the whole reporton the following link: https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/TGIATOC-UNSC-Policy-Note-1962-web.pdf


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Rate of perception of corruption

At the beginning of the year, Transparency International published the annual report of the rate of perception of corruption according to the country based on the opinions of citizens and a number of specialists, collectives and international organisations. Each country is assessed on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is the maximum perception of corruption and 100 the minimum. The 2017 report was not really a source of surprises: levels of perception of corruption were similar to previous years, with few improvements. Two thirds of the 180 countries analysed were below 50 and the global average was lower, amounting to 43 points.

New Zealand, with a score of 89, topped the classification, after years in second position behind Denmark. On this occasion, however, the Pacific country has taken the lead. The ten top countries are still the usual ones, in this order: Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

On the other hand, if we start at the bottom, the country with the highest perception of corruption is Somalia, with a score below 10, followed by South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and North Korea.

Analysing the results on a regional scale, the difference between the regions with the highest scores (Western Europe) and the lowest (sub-Saharan Africa) is 35 points. The only region that exceeds 50 is Eastern Europe, with an average of 66 points. All the rest are below.


The regional average is 44 points, with big differences between countries. In the same region there are two countries that are in the top 10: New Zealand, first in the classification with a score of 89, and Singapore (84), along with Afghanistan, with only 15 points and is fourth from the bottom, and North Korea (17 points and twelfth).

Sub-Saharan Africa

This is the region with the lowest score (31), with only 5 countries with over 50 points and another five countries in the bottom 10 of the classification: Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Botswana tops the region’s classification with 61 punts, above Spain and Italy.

Middle East and North Africa

With an average score of 38, most of the region’s countries are below 50. A hallmark of the region is strong social control and numerous attacks on the freedom of speech. The country with the lowest perception of corruption was the United Arab Emirates (71), while Libya, Yemen and Syria are among the 10 countries in the world with the highest perception.


The region’s average is 44 points, although this is not a fair portrayal, as in the Asian Pacific there is a big difference between the country with the maximum and minimum perception. Canada, eighth country in the world with less perception of corruption, leads with 82 points, and Venezuela tails behind with a mere 18, making it the eleventh from the bottom of the classification.

Western Europe

Western Europe, with 7 countries in the top 10 with the least perception of corruption in the world, has the best average: 66. Denmark, with 88 points and behind only New Zealand, leads the region. Although all countries better the average and “pass”, Italy and Spain are noteworthy as the two countries with the highest perception in the region, with 50 and 57 points respectively.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

This is the second lowest region (34) only ahead of sub-Saharan Africa and with only one country, Georgia, with 56 points to better the 50. The political structures of this region are still influenced by processes and wars linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the old Yugoslavia. Turkmenistan is at the bottom of the classification with a score of 19.

Spain, with 57 points, is in 42nd position globally, equal to the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Dominica, and penultimate in the regional classification, ahead only of Italy. It is 14 points above the world average but 9 below the Western European average.

Complete document: https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017#regional


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Climate change: the forgotten threat?

patrick-hendry-534166-unsplash2017 was the hottest year in history, marked by heavy rainfall, droughts, strong winds and other extreme meteorological phenomena. Given this situation, some critics and academics warn politicians that progress towards a more sustainable future is being very slow. It is necessary to bear in mind that the devastating consequences of climate change are being suffered all over the world. According to Oxfam, between 2008 and 2016 an average of 21.8 million people were moved to other places to escape from the environmental conditions that had been created. Generally, the most affected people are those who are from countries with low standards of living, who are at five times more risk of being moved than people who live in countries with better standards of living.

While the International community was debating the implementation of the Paris Agreement (2015) at the United Nations, COP23 conference in Bonn, Trump announced United States withdrawal as an actor in the International fight against climate change. The President promised to reduce gas emissions, which amount to 20% of total emissions in the world, but its withdrawal from the agreement has meant a lack of commitment to reduce levels of pollution. The Trump administration has decided that climate change is no longer a threat to be discussed in the National Security Agenda. Luckily, most actors, a total of 197 signatories, who are part of the International community have continued to defend the initiative.

A study shows the positive correlation between climate change and high conflict levels. Climate change affects economic, political and security systems in global terms: it destabilises them and creates constant competition for natural resources. This phenomenon is considered a threat by those states that have a limited capacity to fight it. For example, energy from combustion fossil not only promotes climate change but also has an immediate effect: air contamination is the number 1 cause of death of all existing forms of contamination and was the cause of nearly 6.5 deaths in 2015. Contamination kills 15 times more people than war and all forms of violent conflict combined, according to the annual report of Munich Security Conference. We must not forget that over 20 countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, promised that they would achieve a gradual elimination of coal energy, which is a potent accelerator of climate change, but a sufficiently satisfactory result is yet to be demonstrated. The production of necessary energy will increase 30% in 2040, equivalent to adding another India or China to the production of energy at this moment.

Links of interest:


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The European Defence Union: the future of the Union or utopia?

On 26 June, European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) published the 2018 yearbook, which presents the most relevant aspects in terms of security for the European Union, as well as the external activity of the union in neighbouring southern and eastern regions. The document chronologically reviews the main events that have taken place at international level that have affected the Union in one way or another, as well as recalling the several plans and strategies promoted by the European Union or by its different organs also in terms of collective security.

The yearbook is divided into three sections:

The first focuses on the external activity of the European Union in nearby regions like North Africa and the Middle East and explains its presence in diplomatic, financial and security terms everywhere. It reviews the relationship of the European Union with its different allies, like NATO, the African Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and others.

The second section reviews the activity and organisms of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), military operations and the different initiatives of the European Defence Agency.

In the third the links between several internal factors that affect the security of the Union are analysed, a paragraph focuses on the growing concern about cyber security, and finally tasks, objectives and the budget of different decentralised organisms of the Union are reviewed with specific functions related to security and defence.

In the publication, the need to strengthen the Union and relations between the countries that make it up is constantly stressed in order to be able to act as a power in the international panorama and address global phenomena that threaten security, not only in the Union, but also worldwide. According to the EUISS and the organs and institutions of the EU like the European Commission, internal and external cooperation is vital, both between the organs and countries of the Union and with the rest of the EU’s allies, in order to guarantee the continent’s continued security. The policy of cooperation and commitment has shown itself to be more effective than that of confrontation and isolation, and new initiatives are moving in this direction, as are the deployment of missions. Therefore, one of the main objectives is to continue working to strengthen relations between the several allies.

The trends of the representatives of the Union or of the governments of the countries that provide leadership has been to move towards, once again, unification in terms of security and defence. This was defended by Emmanuel Macron, in a conference at the Sorbonne, where he argued that the future of the EU involves having a common defence budget, a single performance policy and its own forces of intervention. Chancellor Angela Merkel also defended it, justifying that the European Union must have the necessary means to resolve its own conflicts and any uncertainties that may arise. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, also expressed his wish to have a fully fledged European Defence Union by 2025.

The speeches of the different leaders, along with the promotion of a range of plans regarding security and defence, give us clues that help to understand the future of the European Union, and what future priorities will be. We will still have to wait some time, however, to see if these current aspirations will be convincing, not only for member states but also, and especially, allies like the United States, or simply end up being ruled out and unheeded.

To consult the yearbook:



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