Past events at the Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ – Spring 2016

Brexit debate: to stay or to go, is that the question?

15 April 15 2016, Huis van Europa, The Hague

The Netherlands Society for International Affairs (NGIZ) and the European Movement in the Netherlands (EBN) recently organised the high-level paneldiscussion on the UK EU Referendum.

In the wake of the recent migration crisis, the economic and financial turbulance and the violence increasing in and around Europe, the pressures on European cohesion are rapidly mounting. In a hyperconnected world, many people feel uncertainty about Europe’s future. The UK EU referendum – scheduled for June 23 this year – echoes all these concerns and more.

One thing is certain: the choice of UK citizens will affect us all.

We have therefore asked three international expert observers to enlighten us on facts and fiction in the current UK referendum debates, and the price we would pay if the UK were to leave the EU.

  • Prof. Iain Begg (London School of Economics) on the financial and economic consequences of any Brexit;
  • John McLellan (Director Scottish Newspaper Society, former editor of The Scotsman and member of the presscircle) on the current media coverage of the UK referendum and
  • Isabella Schwarz (European Cultural Foundation) on the wider cultural implications of the UK leaving the EU.

More information can be found here.

Winning coalitions for energy security and green growth in Kenya

19 April 2016, Nairobi, Kenya

This expert meeting aimed to bring together decision-makers and key stakeholders from Government of Kenya, private sector and civil society in order to explore from multiple perspectives the potential reach and implementation of green growth plans in Kenya.

Green growth is increasingly gaining traction as a way to reconcile lasting and broad-based economic growth with climate change mitigation and the goal of sustainable development. As a crucial means to achieve green growth, the energy sector is a central concern. Kenya is a party to the UNFCCC process and is committed to tackling climate change as viewed from its various policies and programmes. Kenya also submitted its INDC to the UNFCCC in July 2015 and sets out an emission reduction target of 30% by 2030 compared to its business-as-usual scenario.

Kenya Vision 2030 and the Second Medium Plan 2013-2017 identify energy as one of the infrastructure enablers for transformation into “a newly-industrialising, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.” Access to competitively-priced, reliable, quality, safe and sustainable energy is essential for achievement of the Vision.

Constraints in energy supply
Currently, there are constraints in energy supply, which include low access to modern energy services, high cost of energy, irregular supply and high cost of energy investments. About 87% of the country’s domestic energy demand is met by biomass. Kerosene based lighting continues to be the leading source of illumination at the household level. Access to modern energy services is required to reduce the wood fuel and kerosene dependency. The draft National Energy and Petroleum Policy (NEPP) states that as of June 2014, 32% of Kenyans had access to electricity. A study commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in 2014 established that Kenya has one of the highest connection charges leading to low access to electricity supply. Despite the successful electrification of public facilities in rural areas, most neighbouring households largely remain unconnected. The NEPP goes on to state that “going by the current pace at which connections are being effected, the achievement of 70% universal access to electricity by 2020, will not be possible without a paradigm shift in the electrification strategy.”

Hence, Kenya requires additional generation capacity to meet growing demand, reduce energy costs and diversify generation mix to minimise risks associated with overreliance on one source of energy. In this respect, geothermal  and wind energy appear most promising. New policies, including Kenya’s National Energy Policy 2014 (as part of Vision 2030 framework) and the Least Cost Power Development Plan aim to increase geothermal and boost energy security. With a focus on the diversification of energy sources, they entail a risk of potentially increasing GHG emissions and it is not yet clear if sufficient incentives are offered to further encourage private sector participation. At the same time, Kenya has discovered coal and oil for which exploration has been going on since 2013.

This expert meeting aimed to bring together decision-makers and key stakeholders from Government of Kenya, private sector and civil society in order to explore from multiple perspectives the potential reach and implementation of green growth plans in Kenya. On this basis, the meeting provided a platform to discuss the connections between green growth and energy security concerns, as well as with Kenya’s integration in the global economy, its national development trajectory, and its policies towards poverty reduction and (regional) stability. A critical part of the meeting explored how and whether legitimate energy security arguments, such as these related to improving energy access, form an obstacle to green growth, or whether new opportunities are arising for “winning coalitions” for a new style of development as the new renewable energy boom kicks off across Africa.

The links meeting explored the relationship between green growth and Kenya’s emission reduction commitments as submitted under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement of 2015. A key objective was to gather expert opinions on the viability of Kenya’s current commitments to climate change mitigation, and what might be reasonably expected of Kenya in the future.

More broadly, the meeting was an opportunity for different stakeholders to discuss various strategic, future-oriented questions in their field of work. The ideas and contributions of participants expressed during the meeting will be incorporated into ongoing research by the Clingendael Institute and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands into the potential for and constraints on green growth in major developing countries. It will also provide input for policy-makers in Europe working on the Paris Agreement.

More information can be found here.

Past events at the Institute for World Economics, Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences – Winter 2015/16


22-23 February 2016, Budapest – Budapest Business School College of International Management and Business: “The current issues of economic and social integration in Hungary and Taiwan

11 February 2016, Budapest – headquarters of IWE CERS HAS
Guest Room with  Sándor Kusai,  former Hungary’s ambassador to China: Cooperation  between China and the CEE countries – strategy or tactics?
Ágnes Szunomár was asked to contribute with her remarks.

11 February 2016, Minsk – capital of Belarus
Ágnes Orosz’s presentation on ’FDI patterns in Hungary’ – within the frames of the conference  ’’Studying  V4  and  Georgia  experience  in  the  field  of  administrative reforms to facilitate economic development in Belarus”

10 February 2016, Budapest – Hotel Béke Radisson
Miklós Somai: EU budget development beyond 2020 (EU-költségvetés 2020 után) experts meeting on EU Cohesion support beyond 2020, an event of the Hungarian Joint Venture Association, SME Committee

4 February 2016, Budapest – Institute of World Economics CERS HAS workshop
Miklós Somai: The Role of the State in Slovenian Economy (Az állam szerepe a szlovén gazdaságbanFebruári műhelybeszélgetés)

2 February 2016, Budapest – Antall József Knowledge Centre
Ágnes Szunomár’s lecture on China’s New Role in the World Economy

26 January 2016, Budapest – Year-opening conference of the daily paper “Világgazdaság”=World Economy.
András Inotai’s closing speech on “Five uncertain factors of the global economy that may threaten all business plans”

19 January 2016, Budapest – Europe Club
András Inotai took part at the monthly Europe Club meeting, presentation of the Annual Report of the Hungarian-EU Business Club (based on the 2015 report on “Stronger Hungary in a stronger Europe”

15 January 2016, Cologne – Technical Business School
András Inotai’s panel discussion on ‘Europe at the Crossroads: The future of the Euro Area and Europe’ conference (with Hans-Helmut Kotz, Center for European Studies, Harvard and former Board Member Bundesbank, Alojzy Nowak, pro-rector of the University of Warsaw and Willem Noe, EU Commission DG NEAR)

14 January 2016, Budapest – IWE CERS HAS
Mihály Simai: The Paris climate agreement and the changing politico-economic world order. New workshop series of IWE – “Guest Room” – on actual topics with guest lecturers.

Past events at Real Instituto Elcano – Winter 2015/16

ElcanoRoundtable Discussion `The fall of oil prices: implications for Spain (and beyond)´
9 February 2016

Organized by the Royal Institute Elcano. The purpose of the discussion was to analyze the implications of the fall in oil prices from both an economic and a geopolitical perspective, with a special focus on its impact on Spain. In addElcano 2ition, the influence of forecasts of the Chinese economy was also discussed. With the participation of Antonio Merino, Director of Studies at Repsol, and the RIE analysts Gonzalo Escribano and Miguel Otero Iglesias. Moderated by Charles Powell, director of RIE.

11th Edition of #Elcanotalks with Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubí ‘20D: 10 memorable moments of political communication’
1 February 2016

Organized by the Royal Institute Elcano. Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubí, communication advisor and political analyst, founder and director of the company Ideograma, prolific author and guest lecturer for a dozen universities, answered RIE’s questions regarding what changed in the last general elections and what lessons one could draw for the future.

Roundtable Discussion ‘Climate governance after COP21 and its implications for Latin America’
14 January 2016

Organized by Elcano Royal Institute. With the participation of Guy Edwards, Research Fellow and co-director of the Climate and Development Lab, Institute for Environment and Society at Brown University, and co-author of the book “A Fragmented Continent- Latin America and the Global Politics of Climate Change” (MIT Press, 2015), Lara Lázaro, Senior Research Fellow and Ana Pintó, Climate Change Office, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Moderated by Rafael Estrella, Vicepresident of the Royal Institute Elcano.

Elcano 1
Presentation of the paper `General Elections in Spain 2015: the international priorities of the political parties´
4 December 2015

Organized by Elcano Royal Institute. With the participation of Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, president of Royal Institute Elcano, José Ignacio Torreblanca, director of the Madrid chapter of the European Council of Foreign Relations and member of the RIE Scientific Council, Cristina Manzano, director of Esglobal and also member of the RIE scientific council and Ignacio Molina, Senior Analyst at RIE. Moderated by Charles Powell, Director of RIE.

Policy brief “Shifting the Climate Finance Paradigm: Nine Key Challenges for Developed Countries” by Joseph Curtin, IIEA, Dublin

Joseph Curtin, Shifting the Climate Finance Paradigm: Nine Key Challenges for Developed Countries, IIEA, 13 March 2013. See more information here.

In 2009, developed countries commited to part-funding the cost of adapting to the impacts of climate change and of low carbon development in developing countries. From 2010 to 2012, fast start finance began to flow from developed country exhequers. However, the climate finance paradigm is now shifting. A transition from loans and grants provided from scarce exchequer resources to innovative instruments for leveraging private capital and mitigating investment risk is required in the coming period. But what are the implications for developed countries? This policy brief explores the policy context defining the current climate finance debate; examines the extent to which commitments have been met; and identifies nine key challenges for developed countries as they enter the new climate finance paradigm, drawing on the lessons of the fast start finance period.

This is the second in a series of Environment Nexus policy briefs by leading experts in the fields of agriculture, energy, climate change and water. They form part of the Environment Nexus project, which is co-financed by the European Parliament.