Reports & Papers

38 Items

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci

AP/Alex Brandon

Paper - Centre for International Governance Innovation

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

| Aug. 24, 2020

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy.

Advocacy groups display a thousand signs that read #GetUsPPE, along images of health care workers, in a call for personal protective equipment for frontline health workers during the coronavirus outbreak, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Washington.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Paper

Coronavirus as a Strategic Challenge: Has Washington Misdiagnosed the Problem?

| April 2020

With reservations about venturing into territory outside our normal wheelhouse, and in full certainty that some of what we write here will in retrospect turn out to have been wrong, a team of researchers at the Belfer Center and I have been collecting all the data we have been able to find about coronavirus, analyzing it to the best of our ability, and debating competing answers to the fundamental questions about the challenge this novel virus poses to our nation.

What follows is our current first-approximation of a work in progress. We are posting at this point in the hope of stimulating a wider debate that will include a much larger number of analysts beyond public health professionals and epidemiologists—including in particular intelligence officers, financial wizards, historians, and others.

View of General Assembly at UN Global Engagement Summit

UN Photo

Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Exponential Innovation and Human Rights

| Feb. 27, 2018

Technological innovation and the politics of global justice are two fields that interact quite extensively in international diplomatic discourse and public debate. Controversial issues, such as accessing essential medicines, reducing greenhouse gases, conserving biological diversity, providing clean energy, and expanding the adoption of green technologies, require answers at the intersection of technological innovation, international diplomacy, and global justice. Our approach is to start off with the broader understanding that justice is rights-based and then proceed to analyze it using a goal-based framework. This brings into sharp focus the relationships between innovation and human rights.

Nov. 23, 2016, a train returns from transporting ballast used in the construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa railway

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

African Regional Economic Integration

| Winter 2018

The power of Pan-Africanism as a guiding vision for the continent’s development is widely studied, mostly as an aspirational phenomenon. At worst, Pan-Africanism has often been seen as a poor imitation of American federalism or European integration. Both of these perceptions do not reflect the profound nature of the role that the ideology of Pan-Africanism played in shaping the continent’s economic transformation. 

Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center

Education, Research, and Innovation in Africa: Forging Strategic Linkages for Economic Transformation

| February 2016

Africa is a youthful continent: nearly 41% of its population is under the age of 18. To address the unique challenges of this demographic structure, the African Union (AU) hopes to reposition the continent as a strategic player in the global economy through improved education and application of science and technology in development. The paper proposes the creation of “Innovation Universities” that combine research, teaching, community service and commercialization in their missions and operations. They would depart from the common practice where teaching is carried out in universities that do little research, and where research is done in national research institutes that do not undertake teaching. Under this model, there is little connection with productive sectors. The idea therefore is not just to create linkages between those activities but to pursue them in a coordinated way under the same university structure. Innovation universities can be created in diverse fields such as agriculture, health, industry, services, and environment to advance sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center

Taking Root: Global Trends in Agricultural Biotechnology

| January 2015

Nearly two decades of experience have shown that agricultural biotechnology has the potential to address some of the world’s pressing challenges. Its potential, however, cannot be addressed in isolation. Instead it should be part of a larger effort to expand the technological options needed to address persistent and emerging agricultural challenges.

The aim of this paper is to review the evidence on global trends in the application of agricultural biotechnology and identify some of their salient benefits. The paper is cognizant that biotechnology alone cannot solve the world’s agricultural challenges. But even though it is not a silver bullet, it should still be included in the package of technological options available to farmers. The evidence available today suggests that public policy should appeal more to pragmatism and less to ideology when seeking solutions to global agricultural challenges.

Amogdoul Wind Farm, Essaouira, Morocco, August 1, 2007.

Wikimedia CC

Paper - World Institute for Development Economics Research

Innovation Capabilities for Sustainable Development in Africa

| March 2014

A sustainable pathway for Africa in the twenty-first century is laid out in the setting of the development of innovation capabilities and the capture of latecomer advantages. Africa has missed out on these possibilities in the twentieth century while seeing the East Asian countries advance. There are now abundant examples and cases to draw on, in the new setting where industrial development has to have green tinges to be effective.

Report Chapter

Growing the Nutritional Revolution

| May 2014

"There is considerable work underway in finding ways to improve the nutritional content of African crops such as sorghum, cassava and bananas. Some of this has been inspired by advances in genomics and involves genetic fortification of existing crops. Similarly, efforts to sequence niche crops in Africa will yield important information that will help in future breeding activities. These efforts need to be supported and expanded."

Report - Brookings Institution

Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2014

| January 2014

As Africa's position in the world continues to grow and evolve in 2014, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative continues its tradition of asking its experts and colleagues to identify what they consider to be the key issues for Africa in the coming year.