BIISS JOURNAL, VOL. 33, NO. 4, October 2012

M. Ashique Rahman

TOWARDS A GLOBAL ARMS TRADE TREATY AND BANGLADESH: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES AHEAD


Abstract

After all these years, it is frustrating to know that still, there exist no binding international standards to regulate, control and monitor the massive activities that fall within the boundaries of conventional arms transfers. The void left by the non-existence of any international binding standards engenders many consequences. They range from distressing global scenarios such as increasing armed conflicts and casualties, human rights violations to undesired arms transfers e.g., illicit trafficking in arms, arms transfers to conflict regions, to non-state actors as well as arms transfers even to countries undergoing arms embargoes. One of the main objectives of the paper, therefore, is to provide an analysis of the multifaceted need for a legally binding international arms trade treaty (ATT). While providing an overview of the content of the treaty, the paper also discusses the various challenges that the ATT process is experiencing especially due to the international community's unrelenting efforts to incorporate some crucial yet contentious provisions within the treaty framework. The paper also probes into the relevance of the treaty for Bangladesh. It is argued that since small arms proliferation constitutes serious socio-political and security concerns in Bangladesh, an ATT would yield handful benefits for the country. Nevertheless, as revealed in the paper it will also create new hurdles for Bangladesh in terms of fulfilling the treaty commitments.


M. Ashique Rahman is Research Fellow at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka, Bangladesh. His e-mail addresses are: ashique@biiss.org and ashique@fulbrightmail.org. This paper is based on a presentation, "Bangladesh and the Arms Trade Treaty", made by the author in a Roundtable Discussion on Arms Control in Bangladesh and the UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference, organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Saferworld-Bangladesh on 11 July 2012, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2012.


Syeda Rozana Rashid

INSURING AGAINST RISKS IN LABOUR MIGRATION: EXPERIENCES OF BANGLADESHIS AND POLICY IMPERATIVES

Abstract

Theorists who consider labour migration as a risk-sharing strategy often overlook the fact that migration may generate newer forms of risks of losing livelihood, land and capital. Unlike most wealthy countries, where risks to household income are minimised through credit markets or governmental programmes, in poor countries like Bangladesh, these institutional mechanisms for managing risks are imperfect, absent, or inaccessible to poor families. Private insurance policies are often beyond the means of most migrant households. Consequently, migrants rely heavily on the support of their extended family, friends and society when incur losses in migration. Nonetheless, these informal mechanisms of managing risk are neither guaranteed nor cost-free and they often require investment of remittances in economically unproductive cycles. It is within this context that the article investigates the nexus between migration-risk-insurance beyond its familiar analysis by New Economics of Labour Migration. It argues whether labour migration can serve as a risk-sharing strategy depending on designing and implementing a comprehensive insurance policy for the migrants to avoid anticipated risks. To this end, the article suggests forming a public-private-partnership, in which private sector will cover migrants with affordable insurance packages and the state will assume a greater facilitating, monitoring and coordinating role.


Syeda Rozana Rashid, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her e-mail address is: srr21rozana@hotmail.com.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2012.


Md. Muhibbur Rahman

NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY: TEHRAN SUMMIT AND ITS AFTERMATH

Abstract

The paper seeks to critically examine post-Cold War relevance of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), drawing a premise on the significance of Tehran Summit, held during 30-31 August 2012, in revitalising the Movement in the changing context of 21st century. Tehran Summit adjudged the continuing importance of NAM as an alternative platform for international cooperation and reinvigorated a commitment to promote a multi-centric world and to establish just global governance by rebuilding international order. On the other hand, the Summit failed to uphold the collective concerns of the developing countries and was more of a reflection of the political realities of the Middle East, predominantly Iran-West confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme and Iranian backings for Syrian regime. Dissecting the critical propositions over NAM, the paper finds that future of NAM would be determined by its ability to represent the interests of the third world, taking an independent discourse and playing a more active role in international politics in the coming decades. But the path would be thorny since increasing NAM memberships do not translate into strengthening of NAM's capability at the same scale due to their lack of strong commitment to the ideology of non-alignment. Besides, there can be manipulation over NAM from within particularly by powerful members. The paper concludes that NAM could explore huge potential by extending its mandate and addressing effectively the contemporary challenges for its member states including civil unrest, human security issues, environmental vulnerabilities, economic underdevelopment, and so on. For NAM to keep its appeal alive, it needs to adjust its agenda with the changing international conditions.


Md. Muhibbur Rahman is Research Officer at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka, Bangladesh. His e-mail address is: tanzimdu@gmail.com.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2012.


Mohammad Muaz Jalil

APPROACHES TO MEASURING SOCIAL DISCOUNT RATE: A BANGLADESH PERSPECTIVE

Abstract

Social discount rate reflects a society's relative valuation on today's well-being versus well-being in the future. This paper reviews various methods of measuring social discount rate, with particular emphasis on social rate of time preference and social opportunity cost of capital framework. Then Monte Carlo Simulation is conducted for Bangladesh to understand the optional social discount rate. The result suggests that the Government of Bangladesh should use a value between 9-11 per cent as optimal social discount rate for various long term projects. The discount rate is similar to the ones used by Pakistan, India and China.


Mohammad Muaz Jalil is Manager at the Monitoring and Result Measurement Group of Katalyst, Dhaka. His email addresses are: muaz.jalil@swisscontactbd.org and muaz.jalil@alumni.ubc.ca

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2012.


Niloy Ranjan Biswas

THE UNITED STATES' STRATEGY IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION: OFFSHORE BALANCING REVISITED

Abstract

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a major strategic ocean theatre for the United States in the twenty-first century. The region is vital to secure economic and strategic interests of the US. The evolving nature of threats and the multidimensional rise of stakes in the region are also very crucial for US interests. Therefore, an emerging US strategic offshore balancing is of critical importance. Furthermore, there is a growing convergence of interests between the US and its allies in the Indian Ocean region and greater South Asia. This article thus, aims to explore the current US offshore balancing (OSB) strategies in the IOR to maintain its strategic supremacy and foster internal stability in the South Asian region. In doing so, this article analyses the IOR's geopolitical and geostrategic context as well as its growing significance in recent decades. It also discusses emerging security threats and prospective areas of interests for the US in the IOR. This article highlights the critical importance of non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, piracy, cross-border trafficking, and narco-crime-terrorism nexus, and the significance of growing Chinese and Indian influence in the region, along with the US' need for a strategic space to conduct counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Finally, the article argues in favour of a long term strategic interdependence in the IOR between the US and its regional allies. This would lead towards a cost-effective tactical and strategic supremacy of the US in the region. This article stresses that rapidly evolving circumstances demand the need for the US to also revisit its implementation strategy of offshore balancing in the IOR. Developing a comprehensive offshore balancing strategy based on shared interests with allies in the region is the way forward for the US.


Niloy Ranjan Biswas is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently doing his Ph.D at the Department of International Politics in the City University, London, U.K. His e-mail address is: b.niloy@gmail.com.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2012.