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Cities/SDGs. City playbook for advancing the SDGs (Brookings)

This “City Playbook for Advancing the SDGs” compiles a series of how-to briefs and case studies on advancing sustainable development and social progress locally. These short, digestible, and practical briefs are written by city government officials for other city officials, based on their direct experience.

City playbook for advancing the SDGs (brookings.edu)

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Australia. Australia needs a diaspora census (Stewart Nixon, East Asia Forum)

In August 2021, Australia held its five-yearly census of population and housing, with responses providing crucial information on the backgrounds and characteristics of people present in Australia. Despite the unusual pandemic context in which it took place, the census provides a vital snapshot that will help shape and target government and non-government policies in a broad range of areas. Among the foremost statistical collections in any country, the census exemplifies the essential contribution of data to developing evidence-based policy.

Australia needs a diaspora census (eastasiaforum.org)

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Russia/Asia Pacific. Sustainable Energy—A Hidden Agenda of Russia’s 2021 Eastern Economic Forum (Sergey Sukhankin, The Jamestown Foundation)

The Sixth Eastern Economic Forum 2021 (EEF-2021), which convened delegations from 60 countries, took place on September 2–4, in Vladivostok, at the Far Eastern Federal University. A symbol of Russia’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy and its growing socio-economic, business, and cultural integration in the Asia-Pacific region, the EEF was inaugurated in 2015 by a special decree of Vladimir Putin (Valdaiclub.com, September 2).

Sustainable Energy—A Hidden Agenda of Russia’s 2021 Eastern Economic Forum – Jamestown

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Japan/Central Asia. Japan Increases Involvement in Central Asia (Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation)

Almost two decades ago, Japan adopted the 5+1 approach to dealing with Central Asia, a model other outside players have copied. Now, Japan is increasing its involvement in the region given the Taliban’s recent victory, which has created new diplomatic opportunities but also uncertainties for many major powers. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and is committed to dealing with other countries primarily in terms of economic development rather than geopolitics and in terms of regions rather than simply in bilateral terms. Given these factors, Tokyo’s presence in Central Asian capitals individually and Central Asia as a region is likely to expand, making it a far larger player in the future than it has been up to now.

Japan Increases Involvement in Central Asia – Jamestown

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China. Evidence of the Chinese Central Government’s Knowledge of and Involvement in Xinjiang’s Re-Education Internment Campaign (Adrian Zenz, The Jamestown Foundation)

Documents leaked to the New York Times (also known as the Xinjiang Papers) in November 2019 revealed how Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the groundwork for the Chinese government’s draconian campaign of internment in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In April 2014, while visiting the region, Xi demanded an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” that showed “absolutely no mercy.” He likened Islamic extremism to a virus, noting that its eradication would require “a period of painful, interventionary treatment” (New York Times, November 16, 2019). But more direct links between Xinjiang’s re-education internment campaign that began in 2017, and the central government—including Xi himself—have so far remained elusive.

Evidence of the Chinese Central Government’s Knowledge of and Involvement in Xinjiang’s Re-Education Internment Campaign – Jamestown

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Russia. The Russian Elections and Hidden Regionalist Politics (Vadim Shtepa, The Jamestown Foundation)

Russians are scheduled to vote on September 19. They will be deciding electoral races not only to the State Duma (lower chamber of the national parliament) but also to 39 regional legislative assemblies, that is, in almost half of the federation’s subjects. In a genuine federation, regional elections might be considered the main event of this day. But in de facto centralized Russia, no real federative diversity can be expected from these contests, which is why voters do not attach much importance to their outcome. The regional parliaments in Russia are empowered to decide almost nothing—unlike the German Landtags or the legislatures of the American states. Russian regional parliaments usually have only 30–40 deputies, who lack the opportunity to pass any significant laws that differ from those in the other regions, since the legislative system in Russia is unified.

The Russian Elections and Hidden Regionalist Politics – Jamestown

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Russia. Russian-Style Multilateralism: Decorative and Ineffectual (Pavel K. Baev, The Jamestown Foundation)

Amidst the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan, Russia has been convening or partaking in unusually numerous multilateral forums. President Vladimir Putin, aware of the strong emphasis by the Joseph Biden administration on reinvigorating the United States’ ties with allies and building a coalition of democracies, resorted to the old discourse of upholding a “multipolar system” of independent centers of influence (RIA Novosti, September 9). He addressed the virtual summit of BRICS, the 15 years old proto-organization that is supposed to bring together five such centers—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—but can barely bridge their disagreements. India, which presided over the proceedings, focused on the threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan; while China, due to convey next year’s summit, is inclined to do business with the government formed by the victorious Taliban (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 9).

Russian-Style Multilateralism: Decorative and Ineffectual – Jamestown

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USA. The future of the American city: My long-read Q&A with Ed Glaeser (James Pethokoukis, AEI)

America’s cities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, fueling predictions of prolonged urban flight and decline. “Cities are over,” we are being told. But cities are hubs of productivity and opportunity that have endured plagues for thousands of years. Will America’s cities survive the pandemic? And what’s in store for cities in the decades to come? To answer these questions and more, Edward Glaeser joined the Political Economy podcast.

Ed is the Chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard University and co-author with David Cutler of Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation.

The future of the American city: My long-read Q&A with Ed Glaeser | American Enterprise Institute – AEI

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Privacy Laws/International Trade. Are privacy laws compatible with international trade? Highlights from my conversation with Nigel Cory (Shane Tews, AEI)

As countries impose new requirements on data collection and governance, the flow of consumer data between countries and business entities is becoming more restricted than ever — making it difficult for companies to ensure they are in compliance with new regulations. The ongoing challenge to keep up with regulatory changes often means building expensive new compliance tools that could potentially dismantle the business models of many data-driven global companies. What does the regulatory landscape of today’s data governance world look like, and how can businesses adapt?

Nigel Cory, associate director for trade policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), joined “Explain to Shane” to discuss how the patchwork of data regulations and privacy regimes across the globe is hampering digital trade and constructing more barriers to data retention across borders.

Below is an edited and abridged transcript of our talk. You can listen to this and other episodes of “Explain to Shane” on AEI.org and subscribe via your preferred listening platform. You can also read the full transcript of our discussion here. If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review, and tell your friends and colleagues to tune in.

Are privacy laws compatible with international trade? Highlights from my conversation with Nigel Cory | American Enterprise Institute – AEI

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