German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Günther Maihold has been the Deputy Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) since 2004. Coming from a background of Political Science and Sociology, Prof Maihold received his doctorate in 1987 from the University of Regensburg, where he subsequently worked as a Research
Fellow. After having spent eight years as project
manager in social policy consulting in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, as well as the Department for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, he was appointed Director of the Ibero-American Institute of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin. Günther Maihold was a lecturer at the University / GH Duisburg and at the Latin American Institute of the Free University of Berlin. Since November 2006, he has been an Honorary Professor in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin
Die neue Geopolitik der Lieferketten – "Friend-shoring" als Zielvorgabe für den Umbau von Lieferketten
Eine lange Reihe von Störungen des Welthandels in den letzten Jahren hat eine Reorganisation der internationalen Lieferketten auf die politische Tagesordnung gebracht. Die Unregelmäßigkeiten begannen mit dem Handelskrieg zwischen den USA und China, setzten sich fort mit der Covid-19-Pandemie und den dadurch verursachten Unterbrechungen der Versorgungsketten und kulminierten zuletzt nach Russlands Einmarsch in der Ukraine wegen der darauf folgenden Sanktionen und Exportkontrollen. Das Risiko einer Unterbrechung der Lieferbeziehungen zwingt die Unternehmen mittlerweile in viel stärkerem Maße als früher dazu, politische Faktoren nicht nur »einzupreisen«, sondern auch auf Vorgaben der Politik zu reagieren. Allerdings sind die realistischen Fristen für den Umbau von Lieferketten, besonders wenn diese sehr komplex und lang sind, kaum kompatibel mit den kurzen Reaktionszeiten, die von der Politik erwartet werden. Es gilt ein Verfahren zu entwickeln, mit dem politische Lieferkettenrisiken effektiver bearbeitet werden können und das für alle Teilnehmer transparent ist.
Global supply chains affect the economy, the environment and social welfare in many ways. Worldwide, economies are experiencing global supply shortages today, affecting key industries such as automotive and consumer electronics as well as vaccine and medical supplies industries. These preoccupy policymakers, who are debating independent national production capacities and restrictions on international trade, but also large companies, which consider reshoring production and abandoning just-in-time procurement. At the same time, the greening of the global economy requires a restructuring of global production to massively decrease its environmental footprint. This creates new supply chain challenges – how to move towards circular economies and how to reorient energy-intensive industries towards renewables and green hydrogen, for example. And let‘s not forget: Consumers are increasingly demanding higher social and environmental standards. Transparency requirements and binding due diligence obligations will in particular affect countries that export raw materials and labour-intensive goods produced under problematic environmental and social conditions.
All of this calls for policies that shape global supply chains in accordance with globally agreed social and environmental objectives. Policies along these lines will have to balance the legitimate interests of different countries and they may easily fail to achieve their objectives unless they are firmly grounded in a thorough understanding of the respective structures in supply chains, including the power relations between the actors. Further, the economic, social and environmental effects of alternative policy options need to be well understood. Science can make an important contribution here, especially if it maintains a constant dialogue with politics and society.
This is why the international “Research Network Sustainable Global Supply Chains” was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It currently comprises about 100 internationally leading scientists from all over the world and is jointly coordinated by our four institutes. Its tasks are: To conduct and stimulate research that contributes to making supply chains more sustainable; and to collect and synthesize the best international research on this topic and make it accessible to policy makers and other societal actors. In addition to its own research, the network organises academic conferences and discussions with policymakers, organises a blog and produces podcasts. With this report – the first in a new annual series – we present new research highlights, provide a forum to debate controversial supply chain topics and identify policy-relevant research gaps for the network‘s future work. The report is, at the same time, an invitation to participate in the discussions on how investment, production and trade will be reorganized in a global economy that has to respond to geopolitical challenges.
Supply Chain Instability Threatens Security of Supplies
The Covid pandemic has severely upset global supply chains. This disruption has now spread to many branches of industry, and consumers are starting to feel the impact. No short-term improvement is in sight, which has serious implications for manufacturing processes all over the world. To begin with, the pandemic primarily affected personal protective equipment; however, the collapse in international trade has also created delivery bottlenecks in other sectors.
Environmental Rights and Conflicts over Raw Materials in Latin America. The Escazú Agreement Is Ready to Come into Force in 2021
On 5 November 2020 Mexico ratified the so-called Escazú Agreement, a treaty between Latin American and Caribbean states on establishing regional transparency and environment standards, as the eleventh country to do so. The prescribed quorum of ratifications has thus been attained, and the agreement can come into force in 2021. This will launch an innovative multilateral instrument that is intended to create more citizen participation and improve the assertion of citizens’ rights in environmental matters. In Latin America, economic interests dominate when it comes to the exploitation of raw materials; furthermore, there is a large number of conflicts over resources. The agreement thus offers affected indigenous tribes and human-rights defenders more opportunities for information, participation and access to the justice system in environmental matters. Despite this binding first step, some leading countries in the region have so far failed to ratify the agreement. Many of them are reluctant to join, arguing that certain provisions violate their national sovereignty and their freedom of decision. For Germany and Europe, the agreement offers new leverage for drafting supply chain laws.
Responsibility in Supply Chains - Germany’s Due Diligence Act Is a Good Start
On 3 March, the Federal Cabinet adopted an act on corporate due diligence in supply chains. This represents an important step towards German businesses assuming full and proper responsibility for the supply chains associated with their goods and services. The move puts Germany in a group of European countries like France and the Netherlands that have already instituted legal frameworks of their own. However, by choosing to exclude civil liability the German government has left aside a powerful tool for applying targeted pressure to companies that fail to fulfil their obligations. In order to maximise the law’s impact, the German Bundestag and government should therefore adopt additional flanking measures. At the European and international levels, Germany can also contribute to making companies assume greater responsibility for their own supply chains.
Colombia’s Peace and Venezuela’s Turmoil. An Emerging Regional Crisis Landscape in South America
Despite concerted political efforts to isolate the Colombian peace process from Venezuela’s internal unrest, the signs suggest coalescence and tectonic strife in the region. There are justified concerns that the increasingly interconnected constellation of precarious peace in Colombia and growing authoritarianism in Venezuela could generate new dynamics of violence. The two Andean neighbours are so closely connected by ideological confrontation, border disputes, illegal violent actors, migration flows, the narcotics trade and economic exchange that the individual problems become almost indistinguishable – both within and between the two countries. The bottom line is that the political and economic crisis in Venezuela is eroding efforts to consolidate peace efforts in Colombia. Avoiding lasting harm will require the two states to pursue integrated solutions supported by the international community.
Intervention by Invitation? Shared Sovereignty in the Fight against Impunity in Guatemala
This article deals with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a joint hybrid commission to investigate impunity in the context of illegal security networks and organized crime. It was set up as an external governance intervention through an agreement between the UN and the State of Guatemala in 2006 to strengthen state institutions in the face of a worsening security situation. Based on a delegation of governance in the modality of shared sovereignty, CICIG has been operating in the country since 2006, trying to generate support in the national realm and the judicial system of Guatemala while exposed to the critical junctures of the highly contested national debates on its existence. More specifically, the article analyses the patterns of appropriation and rejection of CICIG by different actor constellations. Through a critical discourse analysis, actor constellations are specified, various themes of appropriation and rejection are detected and specific aspects of CICIG's mandate are investigated.