Clean Cobalt? A new initiative for a key mineral in electric vehicles

Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

In September of this year, Tesla joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA), a new fair trade initiative launched by the Impact Facility earlier this year. The initiative aims to develop a supply of fairly sourced cobalt by improving practices and behaviors at cobalt mining sites. Specific goals of the FCA include eradicating the use of child labor, making conditions at cobalt mines safer, and investing in programs to diversify local economies in mining communities. Tesla’s membership is an important private sector addition to the FCA, which includes companies like Glencore, the world’s largest mining company by revenue and a major producer of cobalt.

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Truth and Logic for a More Peaceful World: Kristian Berg Harpviken in Conversation with Arne Strand

Kristian Berg Harpviken as Director of PRIO (2009–2017). May, 2017. Photo: Ebba Tellander / PRIO

Kristian Berg Harpviken in conversation with Arne Strand

If we fast-forward to today, peace research – well, actually all research – faces a new challenge that has become more and more obvious over recent years. This is that powerful political forces do not respect the core values that serve as the foundation for research: namely, the obligation to seek the truth and to build logical and consistent arguments.

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Welcome to the Green Curses Blog Series!

Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Combined Cycle Thermo-Solar Power Plant. Photo: © Dana Smillie / World Bank (Creative Commons)

Welcome to the new Green Curses project blog series “Energy Transitions and Conflict”!

We write about research, news, policy interventions, events, and other items of interest that pertain to the social, political, and economic dynamics underlying the often contentious implementation of renewable energy projects. We focus especially on the potential for renewable energy projects to trigger various forms of violent conflict – riots, protests, social conflicts, and even armed conflict – in local contexts and communities. While the world is on a much-needed path to a major energy transition, “green” is not always “good”.

Revisiting Emergency eLearning

On April 30, 2020, my article “COVID-19 and Emergency eLearning: Consequences of the Securitization of Higher Education for Post-Pandemic Pedagogy” was published in Contemporary Security Policy. In that piece, I argued that securitization theory could help understand the experience of teaching and learning online as an emergency measure, but also that the lessons of desecuritization could help us to thoughtfully prepare for a post-pandemic pedagogy. Now, with news outlets reporting promising signs in vaccine development and deployment, I thank the PRIO “States of Emergency as Disruptive Pandemic Politics” research group for inviting me to reflect again on emergency eLearning.

With the hindsight of a second semester teaching under COVID-19, I would like to revisit the state of emergency literature and focus on how it can help explain the pandemic present within the higher education sector.

Photo: MChe Lee on Unsplash

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The Coldest Cold Chain: Chilling Effects of Covid-19 Vaccines

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.
Covid-19 Vaccine Bottle Mockup (does not depict actual vaccine).

After various stretches of lockdowns and the related dire political, social, and economic consequences, the world has welcomed the news that several companies – including ModernaAstraZeneca and Pfizer – are approaching an effective vaccine for Covid-19. Approximately 200 more are in the pipeline, of which 48 in clinical and 164 in pre-clinical stages of development. While there is thus hope on the horizon, for low and lower-middle income countries the roll-out of the vaccine will be enormously expensive, whatever option is eventually selected. As such, the life-saving vaccine may bring ramifications for future prioritization within domestic health budgets as well as allocations in foreign aid budgets.

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Police Brutality and Nonviolent Protest: The Case of Nigeria

A protest in 2020 against SARS. Photo: Becker1999 via Flickr

In the past weeks, the Nigerian city of Lagos had been rocked by numerous youth-led protests against police brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, also known as SARS. These protests which started peacefully turned deadly with numerous reports accusing the Nigerian police officers of shooting the demonstrators, resulting in at least 10 deaths and dozens more wounded.

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Protests, Elections, and Ethnic Tensions in West Africa: What are the Driving Forces?

As ongoing post-electoral violence across West-Africa continues, especially in countries such as Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, the region is forced to urgently address the implications of long-term economic decline and poor governance systems.

“Map of West Africa” CC BY

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Using a Comic to Tell the True Story of the Uffo Struggle for Justice in Somaliland

Illustration: Pat Masioni, PosistiveNegatives/PRIO

We can all learn and draw inspiration from stories of ordinary people who care for others and resist oppression while risking their own lives. Such stories are often overlooked in both the media and in much research on conflict zones.

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Pompeo and the Two-State Swan Song

On 19 November 2020 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the most senior US politician to officially visit an Israeli settlement on the occupied West Bank. This visit, and his ensuing statement that products from Israeli settlements can be labeled as “Made in Israel”, mark the swan song of US support for the two-state solution.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, on October 18, 2019. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]

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