The thoughts that count - the best of global thought leadership (October 2023)

Public policy, public services & civil service reform

An efficiency mindset: prioritising efficiency in Whitehall's everyday work – Reform (UK)

Even as spending on public services reaches new highs, increasingly public services are failing to meet the expectations of the British public. There must, therefore, be a new focus in Whitehall on efficient spending, so that public money is spent wisely and in a way that maximises the benefit to taxpayers. This report by Reform puts forward a step-change in the Civil Service’s approach, a framework for efficient spending which better matches resources to priority outcomes; embeds evaluation early on in policymaking; makes better use of performance information; better incentivises civil servants to pursue efficiency; and improves accountability of senior mandarins for the results of spending.

Performance Tracker 2023 – Institute for Government (UK)

This annual public services stocktake, by the IfG and the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy, reveals that the Government’s spending plans from April 2025 onward will likely mean that all public services other than children’s social care could be performing worse in 2027/28 than they were just prior to the pandemic, when public services were already performing worse than they were in 2010. This comes off the back of years of short-term policymaking and under-investment in capital, meaning much of Britain’s infrastructure is crumbling and dated and many sectors are experiencing a workforce crisis. The report argues that, without serious action to improve public sector productivity, the Government risks getting stuck in a ‘doom loop’, where the permanent state of crisis leads to mass staff burnout and prevents services from making the best long-term decisions.

The smarter state: Between the ‘magic money tree’ and the ‘reform fairy’ – IPPR (UK)

With public services in the UK failing to deliver for citizens, the IPPR calls on policymakers to combine both increased funding and reform of public services to create a ‘smarter state’ – this report sets out some of the reforms that will be needed to deliver on this.

Retention in public services – Institute for Government (UK)

Public services are seeing workforce challenges across the board, with high turnover, vacancies, and loss of experienced staff – high attrition rates are a drag on performance, which relies on the retention of experienced staff with knowledge and organisational memory. This report identifies the main causes around high attrition rates – these being increasingly uncompetitive public sector pay, high workloads, poor leadership and management, long hours, and working arrangements out of step with the modern labour market – and makes recommendations for government in order to retain workers in three key public services: the NHS, schools, and the police.

What do we want from the King’s Speech? – Policy Exchange (UK)

Policy Exchange sets out a 14-point programme of policies it would like to see adopted in the King’s Speech, which will open what is expected to be the last parliamentary session before the UK’s next general election. These include: planning reforms to regain the initiative on housing; digitising the NHS; and tackling shoplifting and other forms of petty crime.

Economy, fiscal policy & taxation

The European Union’s remarkable growth performance relative to the United States – Bruegel (Europe)

Bruegel examines the EU’s economic performance, finding that, while total EU output is falling behind that of the United States, the bloc now rivals the US as regards per-capita output, per-worker output and output per hours worked. Moreover, some countries in western and northern Europe are at least as productive as the US in terms of output per hours worked. This is despite the EU’s weaknesses relative to the US, such as its lack of tech giants, weaker university rankings and limited availability of private capital.

Outlook for the public finances – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

The IFS gives an update on the present state of Britain’s public finances, revealing that, while the economy’s cash size has risen more than had been anticipated in March, but this is due in large part to elevated inflation rather than real growth. Given lingering uncertainty over interest rates and stubbornly high inflation, tax cuts at the upcoming Autumn Statement in late November would be, per the think tank, ‘extremely difficult to justify’.

Tax reform in Australia: an impossible dream? – Grattan Institute (Australia)

Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood dives into the issue of tax reform in Australia, exploring why the prospect of reforming tax remains elusive despite being part of Australia’s public discourse for decades. Wood also argues that the Australian Government must both reduce spending and boost its revenue, as growth alone cannot close the budget deficit.

What the United States can learn from the UK’s struggle to deregulate post-Brexit – Cato Institute (USA)

The recent history of post‐​Brexit British legislation and attempts at deregulation provide lessons on how difficult it is to build such a regulatory regime, with deregulation having its own costs and businesses seeking regulatory assurances. The difficulties associated with deregulation are especially stark in the technology sector.

Built to last – Resolution Foundation (UK)

The Resolution Foundation examines the UK’s existing macroeconomic policy framework, largely designed during calmer economic times in the 1980s, and whether it is still fit for purpose. The scale of the fiscal policy deployed to respond to large economic shocks in recent years has negatively impacted the sustainability of Britain’s public finances – to restore them to a sustainable path, the UK must reset both monetary and fiscal policy, reduce its chances of interest rates hitting their lower bound once again, and equip itself with the right fiscal policy tools to deploy targeted support.

A Better Stage 3 – The Australia Institute (Australia)

This report by the Australia Institute calls the planned Stage 3 tax cuts a ‘high-cost, inequitable policy’, and urges the Albanese Government to instead explore options to deliver bigger, fairer tax cuts while providing scope for spending on infrastructure, programmes, benefits or other services.

The UK’s International Tax Competitiveness: 2023 Update – The Centre for Policy Studies (UK)

The UK has placed 30th out of 38 OECD countries in the 2023 International Tax Competitiveness Index, down three places on 2022. This is due in part to Britain’s raising of the headline corporate tax rate from 19% to 25%, leading it to fall 17 places in the Index’s corporate tax category. This report by the CPS sets out a ‘revenue-neutral package of reforms’ which would place the UK third in the Index, behind only Estonia and Latvia. These reforms would include a complete overhaul of VAT, corporation tax and all property taxes, as well as lower taxes on earnings and dividends.

Canada’s Indo-Pacific trade strategy and trade diversification – Fraser Institute (Canada)

The Canadian Government recently announced funding for its Indo-Pacific Trade Strategy (IPS). This initiative is aimed at, among other things, diversifying Canada’s exports away from the United States and towards emerging markets such as India and Indonesia. While some of the goals of the IPS extend beyond geographically diversifying Canada’s exports to encompass cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries in matters such as climate change and international security, trade diversification is a key objective of the IPS program.

Finance for the future – Resolution Foundation (UK)

Blended finance offers a ‘tried and tested pathway for public and private investors…to work effectively together’, and enables policymakers to mobilise private investment for public policy priorities. The UK is losing out relative to the EU and the US, which are using blended finance to catalyse private investment in areas such as climate finance. The Resolution Foundation demonstrates how UK policymakers can and should look to follow their example and implement changes, through policy and regulatory enablers.

Employment, skills & labour force

Learning to grow – Resolution Foundation (UK)

Investing in human capital and workforce skills is crucial to building a productive, fair economy. This report seeks to set out how the UK can look to develop a skills strategy which complements its broader economic strategy, by focusing on a number of sectors – including financial and business services, the creative and cultural sectors, clean technologies and AI – which are of strategic importance to the UK.

Analysis of labour and skills shortages: Overcoming bottlenecks to productivity and growth – BusinessEurope (Europe)

European labour markets are facing a number of related challenges, including demographic change, high rates of economic inactivity, and low levels of intra-EU mobility. As a result, Europe is seeing significant labour and skills shortages – between 2012 and 2021, the EU’s working-age population dropped from 269 million to 264 million. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen identified labour and skills shortages as one of the EU’s top priorities to address in the coming year during her recent State of the Union address. This BusinessEurope study is based on the responses of a number of companies and employers’ organisations from across Europe, reflecting the views of companies of all sizes.

Investment in training and skills – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

Participation in adult education in training has dropped off significantly in Britain over the past two decades, with the number of publicly funded qualifications started by adults having declined 70% since the early 2000s. This has coincided with a fall in both public and private investment in adult training. The IFS puts forward five policy levers which policymakers might make use of in order to enhance adult skills policy.

Welfare, living standards & the cost of living

The effects of reforms to the Work Capability Assessment for incapacity benefits – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

The IFS reviews the Government’s plans to reform and tighten the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), before scrapping it in its entirety. Its analysis finds that tightening the WCA will mean some people who would previously have been judged unable to work will lose out on £390 per month unless they carry out work-related activities to keep receiving benefits. Scrapping the WCA will, calculates the IFS, deliver the Government savings in the amount of £900m, and will strengthen the financial incentives of 1.8m benefit recipients to work.

Has Fed Policy Mattered for Inflation? Evidence from a structural monetary model – Cato Institute (USA)

A working paper from May 2023 utilised a structural monetary VAR and suggests that the Fed has a minimal effect on inflation. Most of the inflation over all future horizons and across sectors is determined primarily by supply shocks with monetary policy usually accounting for around 5% of inflation. At its peak – during the post‐​financial crisis period and only looking at longer-term horizons – monetary policy accounts for roughly 10% of inflation. In short, the evidence did not suggest that the Fed has much ability to manipulate inflation.

"We're all trying to do one thing: live" – New Economics Foundation (UK)

NEF argues that a decade of social security cuts, wage stagnation and undercutting of public services has left low-income households in the UK ‘inexcusably exposed’ to the economic crises of the early 2020s. Moreover, engrained social norms have meant women are more reliant on social security, and are more likely to live in persistent poverty. This report is based on qualitative interviews recounting the experiences of 16 women living in poverty in Manchester and Liverpool, and aims to establish the dynamics between everyday life and social security.

Health & social/aged care

The hidden waitlist – Reform (UK)

“Follow up appointments are crucial to the health and safety of patients, and can include monitoring for the recurrence of cancer, assessing whether someone’s medication is correct, and managing chronic conditions to reduce the risk of deterioration. Based on data obtained exclusively by Reform via an FOI request, this paper estimates that the total number of people currently waiting for follow up appointments at acute trusts stands at more than 11 million. This is 3.6 million more than the elective waitlist, which receives the lion’s share of attention.”

Duty of care: Aged-care sector running on empty – CEDA (Australia)

CEDA’s new report examines how worker shortages in Australia’s aged care sector are driving low occupancy rates and leaving many facilities unable to operate at full capacity. To meet this challenge, CEDA recommends: essential skills visas for personal care workers; introducing a user-pays system for aged care patients who meet certain income or asset criteria; and address nationwide housing shortages.

Addressing the leading risk factors for ill health – a framework for local government action – The Health Foundation (UK)

The building blocks of good health, such as decent homes, good schools, and sound business practices, must be in place in order for people to be healthy. This requires population-level policy action, but recent governments in the UK have eschewed this approach, despite having bold ambitions to improve health and reduce inequalities. Local authorities have instead led the way with local initiatives to improve population health and tackle inequalities driven by tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy eating and other risk factors. This briefing by the Health Foundation aims to support local authorities in England by setting out a framework for population-level actions, such as examples of approaches taken by different councils and linking these to relevant legislation.

Designing US health insurance from scratch: A proposal for universal basic coverage – Brookings Institution (USA)

US health insurance coverage has expanded in a haphazard, piecemeal way for over half a century – even now, tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance. The authors of this policy proposal imagine what an ideal health insurance system would look like if one could start from scratch. They identify three key issues with US health insurance coverage: the uninsured, the widespread risk of insurance loss at any given moment for those who do have insurance, and the potential for crippling medical bills faced by those who are insured even for care that is notionally covered.

Enough talk, it’s time to fix healthcare in Canada – Fraser Institute (Canada)

This article asserts that Canada’s healthcare system is failing its patients, with wait times in 2022 for a specialist visit & treatment now up to 27.4 weeks. The normal response from the Canadian Government is to increase health spending. But what are the other potential solutions?

Why the UK Government Must Act Urgently to Become a Global Leader in Cutting-Edge Cancer Treatment – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

A cancer vaccine is just around the corner: the number of mRNA cancer vaccines in development has more than doubled since 2017. The UK is leading the charge when it comes to therapeutic cancer vaccines, and the Government is taking action to attract further R&D investment to Britain and ready the country’s systems to roll these treatments out. However, TBI argues that constrained clinical-trail and regulatory capacity, as well as the NHS’ limited delivery infrastructure, mean there are risks that cancer vaccines may not be deployed to their fullest potential in the UK.

2.3 million people would gain health coverage in 2024 if 10 states were to expand Medicaid eligibility – Urban Institute (USA)

Medicaid expansion has been the primary cause of increased health coverage after the implementation of the ACA. Research has documented that this additional health coverage has decreased mortality and increased the financial security of beneficiaries while benefitting hospital finances.’

The Autumn Statement: playing with fire? – The King's Fund (UK)

The King’s Fund welcomes the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan and the long-term thinking it represents, but there remain numerous immediate and short-term challenges that the health service faces as Britain heads into winter. This blog illustrates some of these challenges and what the upcoming Autumn Statement, due on 22 November, could mean for NHS organisations, their performance levels and their financial health.


Tackling Drug Use in Prisons – RAND Europe (Europe)

Drug use in prisons in England and Wales has been steadily rising – this poses a risk to both prisoners and staff, as drug use can lead to violence towards self and to others, as well as to crime within prisons. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) have commissioned a research programme from RAND Europe to evaluate the effectiveness of two interventions: drug testing regimens, or interventions to deter drug use and identify prisoners in need of treatment; and incentivised substance-free living (ISFL) wings, designated areas of prisons where inmates receive support and treatment to live substance-free.

International approaches to measuring police performance – RAND Europe (Europe)

Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, RAND Europe has conducted a review of international approaches towards measuring police performance, with an eye to understanding how different police jurisdictions have approached the task and what lessons these offer for improving police performance measurement in the Netherlands.

Immigration & asylum

The future is safe and legal – Policy Exchange (UK)

Policy Exchange puts forward a plan for a new safe and legal route for genuine refugees, with the number of refugees coming to the UK via this route set by an annual cap by Parliament. The route, which would only come into effect once illegal Channel crossings drop below 10,000 a year, will be modelled on the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, used for Syrian refugees. The report also calls for the Government to prioritise return agreements and rapid deportation of those who cross the Channel by small boat, and, if necessary, giving aid to countries in exchange for return agreements.

Graduates in limbo: International student visa pathways after graduation – Grattan Institute (Australia)

Australia offers international students generous rights to stay and work once they finish their studies, and many do indeed stay in Australia on temporary visas. However, Grattan argues that this gives students false hope, as many thousands will never gain permanent residency – only half of those who stay secure full-time employment, and less than one third of Temporary Graduate visa-holders transition to permanent residency on the expiration of their visa. The think tank recommends that the Government make a number of changes to policy, including cutting the duration of post-study work visas for international students, raise English-language requirements, only offer visa extension to high-paying graduates, limit Temporary Graduate visas to those under 35 (rather than 50), and offer more help to those students who do stay to work in Australia.

Charting new waters: A progressive policy response to the Channel crossings – IPPR (UK)

IPPR makes a proposal for a progressive policy response to migrant arrivals by small boat from across the Channel, focusing on ‘humane, evidence-based and deliverable’ measures. These are divided into three pillars: safe and accessible routes; renewed cooperation with Britain’s neighbours; and fixing the asylum system.

A tale of two human rights lawyers: Could a Labour government realise a better future in the UK for refugee protection with control? – Social Market Foundation (UK)

‘The question of whether and, if so, how countries can construct arrangements to transfer asylum seekers to other countries is viewed with alarm by most supporters of refugee rights. But this need not be so. This briefing shows how Labour’s focus on the potential for tough action on Channel crossings, when combined with improved responsibility sharing for refugees across Europe, may represent a way forward that is compatible with the Refugee Convention, and a preferable alternative to the ‘Rwanda scheme’.’

EU-Tunisia like UK-Rwanda? Not quite. But would the New Pact asylum reforms change that? – European Policy Centre (Europe)

‘EU law only allows sending asylum applicants to third countries if they can be considered safe and have a reasonable connection with the applicant. However, if the New Pact reforms go ahead, the safe third-country concept may be used to further shift protection responsibilities outside the EU. While the EU would be unable to conclude a UK-Rwanda-style agreement, the pressure for reforms, as well as the recent Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia, signal the threat of diminished human rights protections and safeguards.’

UK migration and productivity – UK in a Changing Europe (UK)

Drawing on recent research from HM Revenue & Customs, UKICE analyses productivity among UK-origin workers, EU migrants and non-EU migrants, finding there is a positive association between productivity and migrants of non-EU origin, and the reverse for migrants of EU origin.

Defence & national security

Expert Views: US diplomacy and the Israel-Hamas war – Middle East Institute

Published in the days before Israel began its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, this research piece by the Middle East Institute interviews a group of former US ambassadors and senior government officials specialising in the region. These experts discuss what diplomatic steps the US should take in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict, following visits to Israel by the President, the Secretary of State and more, as well the regional repercussions of the conflict and what implications the war could have for US national security.

US land power in the Indo-Pacific: opportunities for the Australian army – Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Australia)

In response to the return of great power competition and an increasingly unstable security environment, the US Army is undergoing significant reform and doctrinal transformation, and adopting a new approach to joint exercises and defence collaboration to deter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. These developments have important insights for US allies Australia and Japan – Australia’s new unifying strategic approach to national defence, in particular, has a high level of convergence with that of the US, offering the Australian Army a timely window of opportunity to explore the combined use of land power in a heightened threat environment.

Rewriting the future of America’s maritime industry to compete with China – Hudson Institute (USA)

‘This report focuses on policy changes that would fill the gaps in our sealift capacity and shipbuilding industrial base in the short to mid-term. There is no magic wand—it is dangerous to think we could achieve these goals by deregulating the US industry or attacking foreign government subsidies. Instead, existing programs that support a US flag fleet in international trade provide an excellent template in that they contract out an essential national security function (providing standby sealift capacity) to the private sector, which can perform it effectively and at a much lower cost to taxpayers than the government could do itself. This report’s basic approach is thus to reform and expand those programs to meet the new threats. This will not only fill the gap in standby sealift capacity but also help deter conflict in other ways, including by reducing risk to our peacetime maritime supply chains.’

Sustain and prosper: How Europeans can support Ukraine – European Council on Foreign Relations (Europe)

The ECFR calls on the EU to accelerate and exponentially increase its military assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, as well as make stronger commitments to Ukraine’s security after the war. This will mean building up EU member states’ military-industrial capabilities, as well as developing bilateral security arrangements with Kyiv and working to bring the country into NATO once the war is over.

An Australian maritime strategy: resourcing the Royal Australian Navy – Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Australia)

This report argues that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) lacks the resources to adequately protect Australia’s maritime interests, due in part to an underappreciation of Australia’s dependence on the maritime domain and of that domain’s significance for Australian prosperity and security.

Biden must stop using defense partnerships as an excuse to cut Pentagon spending: Matthew Bondy – MacDonald Laurier Institute (Canada)

Bondy gives kudos to the AUKUS deal to provide Australia with nuclear powered submarines, and jointly develop defence technology. However, he stresses that ‘conspicuous, prohibitive, globally omnipresent US and allied hard power remains the world’s best hope for preserving democracy and permitting its extension to those nations and peoples who yearn for it.’

Southeast Asia’s security landscape: Lessons for the ADF – Lowy Institute (Australia)

The Lowy Institute examines how Australian Defence can, going forward, best engage in Southeast Asia, a region with whom Australia has enjoyed rapidly expanding ties over the past ten years. Given that US-Chinese rivalry is beginning to lead Southeast Asian states, in particular Indonesia and Malaysia, on a divergent path from Australia, this report explores how Australia can best preserve its defence relations with the region, and makes a case for depending defence cooperation in maritime, cyber, and other non-traditional security domains.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the United States – Hudson Institute (USA)

‘Australian defense policy is underfunded and lacks urgency despite defense analysts’ assessment that the strategic environment is rapidly deteriorating. Australian underperformance will increase skepticism of AUKUS in both countries. Both countries need to undertake much more detailed scenario planning and commit to the agreed sharing of burdens and responsibilities to deter or defeat China.’

Sapped of both hard and soft power, Canada needs action to keep up in a dangerous world: Charles Burton – MacDonald Laurier Institute (Canada)

Charles Burton makes the claim that Canada is ‘facing an axis of cold-blooded dictators determined to destroy Western-supported stability and order. With global tensions more combustible than at any time in a generation or more, Ottawa’s vexing indifference toward national defence and security will not serve or protect Canada. We [Canada] need to refocus what remains of our military and security resources to what really matters, and fast.’


Buy before you build: A decision framework for purchasing commercial space services – Hudson Institute (USA)

‘After a decade of record private investment, the US and other governments have many more opportunities to acquire space capabilities as commercial services rather than systems. For many of the mission areas profiled in this report, commercial services would deliver needed space capabilities more quickly, at lower cost, without the need for large up-front capital investments, and with faster technological refresh cycles. Greater US government reliance on commercial space services would not only encourage US commercial innovation but also free up government resources to invest in unique, specialised capabilities not suitable for delivery as commercial services.’

Tech, digital & AI

Machine Learning and Gene Editing at the Helm of a Societal Evolution – RAND Europe (Europe)

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology is in its infancy, but presents significant opportunities and risks. AI’s impact is significant and broad on its own, but its potential increases still further when combined with other emerging technologies – in particular, the integration of machine learning, a subset of AI, and gene editing promises to offer significant benefits. However, much of this emerging field also entails daunting risks to ethics and national security, and a lack of balanced oversight could stifle innovation or create inequities. A proactive policy will therefore be needed to manage these technologies.

The Digital-Government Imperative: Why Technology Is Crucial to Success – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

TBI urges governments and policymakers to embrace technology as a means to meet their challenges, arguing digital-enabled government leads to better citizen-centric outcomes in basic service delivery. As an example, the think tank lists a number of success stories and case studies from around the world, from digitalisation of government services in Singapore to developing digital plans for government in Zambia.

Generative AI – Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge University (UK)

The rapid rollout of generative AI, such as Open AI’s ChatGPT, has raised questions about AI’s impact on the economy and on society. British policymakers are looking to utilise large language models and other foundation models as ways to boost economic productivity. This policy brief outlines policy levers which could be used to meet those goals, arguing that Britain should aim to become a global leader in applying generative AI to the economy.

Critical Technology Assessment for biopharmaceuticals – Brookings Institution (USA)

‘In October 2023, Marta Wosińska and Rena Conti concluded a one-year pilot demonstration of how analytics can inform national technology strategy in biopharmaceuticals. Their demonstration was part of a large, cross-industry pilot titled the National Network for Critical Technology Assessment. Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Technology Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate under the CHIPS Act, this pilot set out to identify and evaluate societal, national, and geostrategic challenges facing the United States and investments in key technologies that could help address those challenges. … The full report, spanning demonstrations in global competitiveness, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, energy and critical minerals, and biopharmaceuticals can be found here.’

AI & Democracy – Maxim Institute (New Zealand)

Maxim Institute’s second paper on AI examines the impact of the technology on democracy, including strengthening pre-existing phenomena such as use of misleading text and images, psychological profiling and microtargeting of voters, and use by foreign governments to influence elections and public opinion around the world.

Government – and society – must be ready to adapt to artificial intelligence – Institute for Government (UK)

The UK’s AI Safety Summit speaks to Britain’s ambition to become an AI superpower, but the IfG argues the Government should devote much greater attention to bracing for AI’s impact on society, including building resilience against misinformation, navigating the labour market transition as AI proliferates in employment, and preparing for rapid and radical reconfiguration of the economy and its structure.

Australia's semiconductor manufacturing moonshot: securing semiconductor talent – Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Australia)

Semiconductors are crucial to all modern technologies, from personal communication devices to weapons systems. Critical to manufacturing semiconductors is a highly skilled workforce. This report builds on a 2022 report laying out why Australia must invest in building capacity to create a ‘homegrown semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem’, positioning Australia to manufacture chips relevant to a plethora of critical sectors, execute long-term critical technology strategies in areas such as quantum computing and AI, and enrich the Australian economy.

Dubai Future Foundation kicks off the day announcing a strategic AI Alliance to shape the future of AI adoption – Dubai Future Foundation (UAE)

‘Dubai Future Foundation launched Dubai Generative AI Alliance of global tech companies to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies and build one of the world’s most advanced and effective tech-enabled governments. This is in line with Dubai’s efforts to become a global hub for emerging technologies.’

AI governance

Toward international cooperation on AI governance—the US Executive Order on AI – Brookings Institution (USA)

The Executive Order (EO) on artificial intelligence (AI), unveiled by President Joe Biden on 30 October, mobilises the US Federal Government to develop guidelines and principles and compile reports on AI use and its development, as well as obligating AI developers to keep federal agencies apprised of the technology’s impacts and benefits. The EO, combined with the AI Bill of Rights, the Voluntary AI Commitments and work on AI standards, forms part of an increasingly coherent, fleshed-out approach towards AI regulation; US leadership in this area is critical. In this research piece, Brookings analyses the AI executive order in the United States and its ramifications in the field of AI and internationally.

The UK AI summit can succeed by generating momentum for effective governance – Chatham House (UK)

Chatham House offers a curtain raiser of the AI Safety Summit in the UK, focusing on ‘frontier’ AI risks, or the concern that the most powerful models of AI are used for dangerous purposes or act in unanticipated ways. The think tank says that, while the summit will not produce a new international regulatory framework, the summit and the UK AI Safety Summit announced in late October can be ‘important first steps’ towards creating a shared international understanding of major AI risks, addressing AI knowledge gaps in world governments, and working towards cooperation on AI regulation, particularly with governments in the Global South.

Artificial intelligence for public value creation: Introducing three policy pillars for the UK AI summit – IPPR (UK)

Ahead of the UK Government’s AI Safety Summit in early November, this IPPR report recommends three ‘policy pillars’ to help inform discussion. The first of these is a focus from governments on creating public value; the second is to mitigate potential structural harms to the economy; and the third is an Advanced AI Monitoring Hub, an agency given oversight access to ‘systematically important AI infrastructure’.

The Biden Administration’s executive order on AI – Centre for Strategic & International Studies (USA)

‘The EO has a very broad scope. There is great emphasis on developing standards for critical infrastructure and using AI tools to fix software reinforces goals set in the National Cybersecurity Strategy and recognizes the potential benefits of AI. One important new requirement is to apply standards for federally funded biological synthesis projects, an area that many experts see as the most likely near-term risk from AI.’

As the UK’s AI Safety Summit Approaches, Governments Must Take Steps to Harness the Technology – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (UK)

With an AI revolution set to sweep the world, TBI urges leaders and policymakers to move early and lead the revolution and embrace the sophistication of modern technology to reimagine the state. With respect to the UK, this report argues Britain should invest more in digital infrastructure; treat data as a competitive asset; and continue to improve public-private collaboration.

Biden’s AI Order Is Much-Needed Assurance for the EU – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA)

Carnegie analyses US President Joe Biden’s executive order (EO) aimed at regulating AI and mitigating its risks, and the implications of the EO for the US’ allies. In particular, with the EU in the final stages of negotiating its own AI Act, Biden has signalled that the US will be taking action on AI governance, and is likely to assure EU policymakers that the United States is a reliable partner in regulation.

Regulating Artificial Intelligence: The Risks and Opportunities – The Centre for Policy Studies (UK)

The CPS dismisses recent narratives about AI’s destructive potential as ‘overblown’, and calls on the UK to use the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park to take the lead on AI regulation and signal its openness to tech firms developing the next generation of AI. The think tank calls on the Government to take a ‘grown-up and proportionate attitude’ towards AI regulation to maximise the technology’s benefits to Britain, and advocates for the introduction of a safety charter and prediction markets, which it calls ‘consumer-friendly solutions to improving AI safety and alleviating public concern’.

Experts react: What does Biden’s new executive order mean for the future of AI? – Centre for Strategic & International Studies (USA)

“Can machines think?” The mathematician Alan Turing posed this question in 1950, imagining a future human-like machine that observed the results of its own behaviour and modified itself to be more effective. After observing the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) in recent months, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Monday intended to modify how humans use these “thinking machines.” The thinking behind the order is to make AI safer, more secure, and more trustworthy. Will it be effective? Atlantic Council experts share their insights.

Open Sourcing the AI Revolution: Framing the debate on open source, artificial intelligence and regulation – Demos (UK)

Ahead of the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, Demos has published a new paper on open source, concluding that the UK Government, tech sector and civil society should continue dialogue on how to effectively regulate AI and its openness, and to agree, as soon as possible, on a forward-looking, permissive, regulatory framework.

Energy & net zero

In the eye of the storm: The battle over fossil fuels at COP28 – Middle East Institute

With COP28 approaching, international pressure among many dozens of countries to gradually phase down use of fossil fuels and drive down greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow. With the Gulf countries producing a fifth of the world’s oil supply and holding 40-56% of all proven conventional oil and gas reserves, the Gulf states find themselves under increasing pressure to accelerate their transition away from the oil and gas revenues which have historically made up so much of their GDP, even as they use the revenues from hydrocarbons to diversify their economies and invest in renewable energy.

Catching the Wind: How Atlantic Canada can become an energy superpower – Public Policy Forum (Canada)

If Canada is to meet its goal to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the Canada Energy Regulator estimates wind power will have to provide about 30 percent of total electricity supply, compared to less than six percent in 2021. Given that the country’s overall capacity needs to more than double, this entails a staggering 10-fold increase in wind generation in fewer than three decades. Much of that will come from onshore wind farms, but such facilities will inevitably come into conflict with other land uses. Enter offshore wind. Offshore wind could be for Atlantic Canada what oil was to Texas or hydro power to Quebec. We are talking here not of something incremental, but monumental.

De-risking and decarbonising: a green tech partnership to reduce reliance on China – Bruegel (Europe)

Trade in renewable energy goods is crucial to decarbonisation – however, currently this trade is dependent on China, which controls most of the world’s supply of solar panels and electric vehicle (EV) batteries, as well as some of the global trade in wind turbines. With supply chain resilience under greater scrutiny and with geopolitical tensions rising, Bruegel calls for major economic powers, including the EU and the US, to align around a collective effort to improve security of supply for renewable energy goods.

Saudi Green Initiatives and their Role in Achieving Environmental Goals in the Middle East – Gulf Research Centre (Saudi Arabia)

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is among the most vulnerable world regions to climate change – 50% of the MENA region’s population is projected to be exposed to ‘super-extreme’ weather events in the near future. Despite this, MENA countries remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels for electricity and income generation. This article concerns the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which aim to combat climate change through encouraging regional cooperation, and the impact this may have in reaching regional governments’ climate-related goals.

The UK's green investment gap – UK in a Changing Europe (UK)

‘The UK has a green investment gap. According to the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC), in order to meet its 2050 net zero target, the UK will have to increase its low-carbon investment from £10bn per year in 2020 to around £50bn per year by 2030. And Brexit may have made this an even greater challenge.’

Fit for 55 climate package: Impact on EU employment by 2030 – Eurofound (Europe)

In 2021, the EU adopted the Fit for 55 policy package, which aims to cut EU emissions by 55% by 2030 and with a long-term goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This Eurofound report examines what the Fit for 55 policy package may mean for employment in the EU by 2030, and how it may impact different regions and countries across the bloc. Among its core findings, the report reveals that Fit for 55 will likely have a marginally positive impact at the EU level, but this will vary considerably across the bloc’s countries, regions and sectors.

How to strike a grand bargain on EU nuclear energy policy – Atlantic Council (USA)

Nuclear energy was once a source of European integration beginning with the creation of Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, in 1958. However, it has become in the contemporary European Union a source of division, with France and Germany leading rival blocs regarding its future. As a result, the EU does not meaningfully fund nuclear energy and member states have engaged in political interference trying to block other member states’ attempts to launch nuclear projects.’

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