People’s Parties in Crisis

Christian Democrats in Belgium and the Netherlands

Since the Second World War, the Christian Democrats in Belgium and the Netherlands have had a significant influence on the politics of their respective countries and on the European unification process. In the last two decades they have also had to overcome some fundamental crises. In the most recent elections their popularity reached an all-time low. What has happened to them and the way they have attempted to deal with these crises could provide an indication of the challenges ahead for other Christian democratic parties.

Seven years of Evo Morales in Bolivia

Asessing a self-appointed beacon of hope for indigenous peoples

In December 2005, Evo Morales Ayma won the presidential elections in Bolivia with 54 per cent of the votes. The elections set the seal on the decline of the traditional party system, and propelled the governing party, MAS. After seven years of this government, the hopes of many have been replaced by a more sober attitude. In October, the country celebrated the 30th anniversary of the end of the military dictatorships and the return of democracy. At the same time, it is undergoing a series of social conflicts unmatched in number since 1982.

The Crisis in Mali

Origins, Developments and the Impact on the Sub-Region

The West African country of Mali is undergoing a deep crisis that threatens its territorial integrity, and therefore its sovereignty, and that has worrying implications for large swathes of the Sahel and West Africa as a whole. The sub-region faces many challenges in trying to resolve a conflict that raises many questions about the African state’s very survival and the clash between the principle of sovereignty and transnational non-institutional actors.

Daily Greetings From The President

Argentinean President Kirchner’s Media Strategy Reaches it’s Limits On The Internet

According to Argentinean law, the government can transmit on television and radio broadcasters in grave, exceptional or institutionally significant circumstances. Nestor Kirchner, Mrs. Fernández de Kirchner’s predecessor and deceased husband, spoke to citizens by nationwide broadcast twice in his time in office between 2003 and 2007. The current president has made 52 of these broadcasts in the last three years. Opposition organisations have used the social networks Twitter and Facebook to call on people to disrupt the broadcasts with noise

Dynamism in Asian Food Systems

How Urbanization and Environmental Stress Are Affecting Regional Food Security

Asia faces escalating food challenges. Environmental stresses and urbanization are the two primary factors shaping Asia’s food security picture. The region is deeply endowed with natural resources that are valuable for agriculture, yet environmental stresses continue to threaten many key environmental systems and, by extension, future food production. Increased constraints on natural resources in Asia, such as land degradation and water scarcity, put severe pressure on agricultural sustainability and food security in the region.


Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” nearly two years ago, some countries in the Middle East and in the Maghreb have undergone profound change. However, the initialeuphoria over the progress made towards greater freedom has given way to disillusionment in many instances. This is currently apparent in reporting on events taking place in Syria. Online activists in this country plagued by civil war are complaining about the lack of support for their cause on the part of the international community.

Gold Rush in Peru

Illegality Spreads As The State Stumbles

In 2011, illegal mining operations generated an estimated 2.9 billion U.S. dollars worth of gold. Illegal mining operations can be found wherever there is gold, which is most of the Peruvian territory. In fact, a recent study found that illegal mining takes place in 21 of Peru’s 25 regions. The government has taken some tentative steps to face this problem, but with the political instability it is confronted with, has become passive and thus taken some steps backwards

Middle East Conflict 2.0

Israelis and Palestinians Between Virtual Conflict and Online Peace

The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is increasingly being played out in parallel on the internet. Recently, a great deal of media attention has been devoted to a series of spectacular hacker attacks that caused dozens of Israeli and Palestinian websites to crash, including those of the secret service agencies Mossad and Shin Bet. However, for Israelis and Palestinians who are willing to participate in dialogue, the internet also offers much needed opportunities for contact and the peaceful exchange of ideas.

Political Participation 2.0 in Mexico

Lessons Learned From The #YoSoy132 Movement

In the 2012 elections, the internet – and particularly the social networks – became more important than ever before and took up an unprecedented amount of space in the media. The role played by Web 2.0 in the 2012 elections in Mexico cannot be assessed without bringing the #YoSoy132 movement into the equation. This phenomenon brought together the two elements of “youth participation” and “Web 2.0 tools” to enliven the political debate during the election campaign.

Water for South Asia

Security of Supply Requires Regional Cooperation

Decades of surface irrigation have decimated groundwater reserves in South Asia, and the water supply capabilities of the urban centres are becoming ever more overstretched. Added to this is the impact of climate change that is being felt already. It now seems that a threshold has been reached where regional solutions are indispensable. However, in spite of the frequently invoked cultural similarities, there has been very little regional integration in policy, economic and social areas.

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


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Fabian Wagener

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