Sandra Ramzy

Researcher

Sandra is a Researcher in the Early Warning Programme, which focuses on monitoring and forecasting geopolitical threats and social and technological conflicts and transformations.

 

Prior to joining HRC, she was a writer and development specialist, focusing primarily on the intersection of research, politics, and sustainable development. Sandra has over five years of experience designing and managing projects with local and international organisations in Egypt and the Netherlands. Commitment to exploring new and nonconventional ways of driving social change in various fields has strengthened her multidisciplinary approach to anticipating and solving problems.

 

Sandra has research interests in various fields, including international and regional political and social transformations and environmental and climate change issues. She is also interested in monitoring, analysing, and forecasting new phenomena and emerging risks.

 

Sandra holds an M.A. in Globalization and Development from Maastricht University and a B.Sc. in Political Sciences from the British University in Egypt.

contact information

Latest By Sandra Ramzy

The Politicization of EU Corruption: Where Does It Lead?
Programmes
19 May 2024

The Politicization of EU Corruption: Where Does It Lead?

“I appeal to you to resist the temptation to exploit this moment for political gain.”   A statement made in December 2022 by Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament (EP), in response to one of the bloc’s biggest corruption scandals, reveals a larger story about the politicization of corruption in European politics.
Why the EU Elections Matter
Programmes
16 May 2024

Why the EU Elections Matter

The stakes are high for the EU elections which are set to take place on June 6. Since the last elections in 2019, the bloc has faced a significant number of complex challenges with the COVID-19 Pandemic and ongoing Russia-Ukraine War shocking the bloc’s economy and energy security, bringing to surface critical questions about common foreign and defence policy and triggering a crisis of misinformation, potential foreign extortion, and anti-EU sentiment to name a few. While the 2024 elections are expected by many to be a difficult test for European solidarity and resilience, they also have implications that reach beyond the bloc.
Twin Flames: Ethiopia, Somaliland and the New Horn of Africa
Programmes
17 Apr 2024

Twin Flames: Ethiopia, Somaliland and the New Horn of Africa

In January of 2024, landlocked Ethiopia officially considered the formal recognition of Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991 and remains an unrecognised de facto state. This potential agreement, which would be in exchange for access to the Gulf of Aden through the port of Berbera, reignited tensions with neighbouring Somalia. Although the exact details of the agreement have not yet been fully disclosed, Somalia considers it to be an annexation of territory potentially. Still, its demands for an end to the agreement have seemingly been ignored by its neighbours.
How Europe Alienated Farmers and Revived Populism
Programmes
5 Mar 2024

How Europe Alienated Farmers and Revived Populism

This article was originally published on Ahram Online on Mar. 4, 2024.   Farming and food have become two of Europe’s most emotionally charged issues. The farmers protests that have been erupting across the EU this year are finally getting much sought after attention. But farmers have been expressing their discontent with EU policies for years and now, with a broader cost-of-living crisis, the discontent is spreading as European’s socio-economic anxieties rise. From favouring corporate interests to mishandling crises, European policies have presented populist and far-right forces with a new opportunity to pull in more voters —and it’s proving successful.
Decoding the Istanbul Church Attack
Programmes
29 Jan 2024

Decoding the Istanbul Church Attack

This article was originally published on Ahram Online on Jan. 31, 2024.   The attack on the Santa Maria church in Istanbul is the first attack on Turkey claimed by IS since 2017. According to the Islamic State's statement, the attack was a response to one of its leaders instructing for the attack on "Jews and Christians". However, the end goal of the attack remains unclear and that raises questions about the legitimacy of IS’s claim. Over the last decade, the world has witnessed a sharp rise in terrorist attacks often claimed by terrorist groups striving to establish their relevance and influence over international politics. In fact, between 1998 and 2016, an estimated 16% of attacks were falsely claimed.
Israel and the ICJ: Resuscitating Global Order
Programmes
11 Jan 2024

Israel and the ICJ: Resuscitating Global Order

Al Habtoor Research Centre's Commentary articles allow researchers to provide quick, informed responses to ongoing topics, emphasizing personal perspectives and expert opinions without the weight of exhaustive citations. This ensures agility in addressing rapidly evolving subjects and enriches the discourse with authentic insights.   South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ is a welcome attempt to revive the global social order but failure to bring about real proportionate justice will only further confirm the current state of international anarchy and embolden other rogue actors.   On Jan. 11, 2024, Israel appeared before the International Court of Justice in The Hague at the first hearing in the case presented against it by South Africa. Israel has been accused of committing the crime of genocide and may be subjected to provisional measures, which would request it to decrease all acts from within Article II of the Genocide Convention and halt its military operations in the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel, established in 1948, the same year that the U.N. Genocide Convention was adopted, may be charged with breaching the Convention, of which it is a signatory.
An Open Letter to COP28
Programmes
30 Nov 2023

An Open Letter to COP28

Dear leaders, negotiators, and decision makers,   This year, "Unite-Act-Deliver" is the slogan of COP28, a pivotal event in the international endeavour to combat climate change. The increasing number of climate disasters in 2023, wherein severe weather phenomena have wreaked devastation on a global scale, shows the urgency of the need to act. The United States, Hong Kong, Greece, Libya, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Taiwan, Pakistan and China were all affected by hurricanes, storms, droughts, and flooding. The floods that struck Libya and Pakistan were particularly devastating, resulting in substantial destruction of infrastructure and loss of life, and increasing sea levels and heat surges that have been felt globally have also occurred.   Furthermore, the adverse effects of climate change on food and water security on a global scale have impeded progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, food systems are accountable for one-third of worldwide green gas emissions and have slowed agricultural productivity for the past five years which entails the transformation of food systems to achieve net-zero emissions.
Netanyahu and the Art of Storytelling
Programmes
27 Sep 2023

Netanyahu and the Art of Storytelling

Since its emergence, Zionism has been an ideology of strategic and ambitious imagination. In his address to the UN General Assembly's 78th session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes every opportunity to confirm the effectiveness of this strategy and ensure the fruition of his vision for a “New Middle East.” Although the address was very much consistent with the Prime Minister’s record of flamboyant public speaking and Israel’s usual public image projection, it was equally revealing of a certain political desperation lurking in the shadows.
Somalia’s Gamble on American Intervention
Programmes
30 May 2023

Somalia’s Gamble on American Intervention

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Somalia after flash floods have displaced over 200,000 people, exacerbating the country’s ongoing struggle with mass starvation, water scarcity and terrorism. For over a decade, jihadi organisation al-Shabaab has carried out attacks and terrorised civilians, both in Somalia and neighbouring countries including Kenya and Ethiopia, prompting extensive counterterrorism offensives by the Somali government with support from numerous international actors including the US, UK, EU, Eritrea, and Turkey. Not surprisingly, the US holds one of the largest shares in security assistance (and peacekeeping operations) funding to Somalia, amounting to around $3 billion in the last decade. Where insurgency goes, the American military follows, but to what effect? If there were ever doubts about the long-term effectiveness of American military intervention, the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan in 2021 certainly solidified their validity. Though the intervention in Somalia can be considered low profile relative to other American adventures, that might be a cause for more concern. In the wake of recent developments, the question of if Somalia will be the next Afghanistan emerges once again.
Netanyahu’s Israel: Escalating Security Threats & Political Fault Lines
Programmes
26 Apr 2023

Netanyahu’s Israel: Escalating Security Threats & Political Fault Lines

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is a hotbed of tension between the Israeli forces and Palestinians. The “clashes” which are often depicted by international media reports as a struggle between two equal counterparts are part of a larger system used by the Israeli government to prevent and put into check any form of Palestinian resistance. However, when it comes to Al-Aqsa, media accounts tend to amplify certain narratives that justify police or military retaliation. Accounts from Israeli official sources vary greatly from the official Palestinian accounts and point to the large role that narratives about rights play in shaping the conflict on the ground. From the Israeli perspective, the presence of Palestinians in Al-Aqsa overnight is framed as a potential security threat while for Palestinians, the heavy presence of Israeli police and frequent raids, particularly during prayer times in the holy month of Ramadan, is a violation of their basic right to worship. Identifying the exact cause of violent escalation then becomes an issue of validating the accounts presented by each side which often pits official reports by the Israeli forces against individual Palestinian accounts and those of rights organisations present in the areas; arguably contributing further to international complacency. However, although the raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque are an annual occurrence, especially during Ramadan, the 2023 raids come under different circumstances than previous years.
What to Expect at COP28
Programmes
17 Apr 2023

What to Expect at COP28

The stakes are high at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be hosted in the United Arab Emirates in November 2023. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest publication on the state of climate in the world, the Sixth Assessment Report, warns that countries are way off track to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The science clearly shows it is no longer a question of “if” human activities are the main cause of the disruption to nature - they certainly are - but there is also explicit evidence that we also have affordable and effective solutions that require immediate action and a serious commitment to changing our energy system. While past COP summits have attempted to reach consensus and binding international agreements on emission reduction strategies and goals, previous IPCC reports have repeatedly stated that climate plans need to be more ambitious. Despite this, countries are still lagging behind, even on the goals that are considered insufficient. With this, a number of pressing issues are expected to be at the forefront of the Dubai COP.
Turning Up the Heat: Climate Litigation & Civil Disobedience in 2023
Programmes
4 Apr 2023

Turning Up the Heat: Climate Litigation & Civil Disobedience in 2023

Climate litigation has been a steadily growing trend in recent years with the number of litigation cases multiplying globally in 2022. In 2023, a new wave of climate lawsuits are stirring concerns among big industries, corporate stakeholders and governments and causing businesses to increase attention to precise reporting and accountability for emissions. As more regulators globally are developing rules that require large companies to disclose their climate-related risks, more companies are beginning to comply with the requirements and integrating the new regulations in their planning; demonstrating the critical nature of this shift. While the race to curb global heating gets tighter, the spotlight is growing on actors that are exacerbating the fossil-fueled climate crisis. At the same time, the gap between the concrete actions that companies and governments should be taking and where they currently stand is still huge. This makes climate litigation a more appealing channel for frustrated environmental activists and citizens. What impact does increased climate litigation have on businesses and governments? And what happens when legal paths yield unsatisfying results?
Navigating Climate Risk in the Era of Green Transition
Programmes
28 Mar 2023

Navigating Climate Risk in the Era of Green Transition

Growing climate risks in the MENA region pose a number of threats to the investment environment, which could jeopardise both current and future economic plans. While the progress that countries in the region have made by establishing climate action strategies and confirming their commitment to the green transition has signalled to investors that there is a market for mitigation and adaptation technologies, the impact of climate change may be moving at a faster pace. Forecasts show that temperatures in the region have been increasing at double the rate of the global average and that by 2050 they may increase by 4 degrees; potentially making many cities uninhabitable. In the next few years, it is likely that MENA countries will be faced with the challenge of simultaneously managing the impact of extreme weather conditions alongside the risks accompanying the transition towards emission reductions and sustainability policies. Are the region’s economies ready to navigate the impact that climate risks could have on investments and growth? And what could this mean for investments needed to support the growth of new technologies for the green transition?
The Degrowth Movement: A Shaky Path from Discourse to Policy
Programmes
28 Mar 2023

The Degrowth Movement: A Shaky Path from Discourse to Policy

As the world struggles to confront the increasingly complex social and environmental challenges, alternative socioeconomic systems and concepts such as degrowth have been regaining traction. Degrowth is an economic theory and social movement that aims to reduce environmental degradation and social inequality through reducing consumption, production and population growth. Although it can be traced back to the 1970s, the degrowth movement has since struggled to become politically acceptable despite critiques to economic growth becoming more commonplace. Still, its advocates persist in their arguments and continue to warn about the dangers of unlimited economic growth. The question is, is degrowth on the rise or will it continue to be a marginalized movement? And if so, why is it struggling to prove its validity? Finally, is there any reason to consider its proposals viable and what could be the implications of dismissing it altogether?
Have Netanyahu’s Judicial Reforms Opened an Existential Can of Worms?
Programmes
1 Mar 2023

Have Netanyahu’s Judicial Reforms Opened an Existential Can of Worms?

Israel’s proclaimed status as the only democracy in the Middle East is coming into question as enraged Israelis take to the streets to protest the governments’ most recent proposals. Netanyahu’s controversial right-wing government’s attempt to overhaul the judiciary has intensified polarization and widened the longstanding gaps between the right and left as well as the secular and the religious segments of society. The proposed law, which would allow the government to override court decisions by a simple majority and make its own judicial appointments, has already passed votes in a session of the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee to go to its first reading at the Knesset on February 20th, supposedly leaving time for the sides to attempt a negotiation process.   However, as trust in political parties and the formal democratic process has declined, protesting until the decision is reversed appears to be the left’s only option as protests continue for the seventh week.  Still, whether the outcome is a reversed decision or a prolonged negotiation process, the current situation has arguably been a catalyst for a societal transformation that may have been long overdue for Israelis. For years, many have been asking “what happened to the Israeli left?” but the process currently unfolding may have greater implications. The question now is, how significant is this transformation, to what extent can it penetrate and reshape some of the most deeply rooted elements of Israeli political culture and what impact could this potentially have on the conflict with Palestine?
Green Protectionism? Looking at Europe’s Agricultural Policy
Programmes
10 Feb 2023

Green Protectionism? Looking at Europe’s Agricultural Policy

The European Union’s position as a leader in sustainability and environmental protection is coming into question with the bloc’s recent programs and policies mainly, the new Farm to Fork strategy and the updated Common Agricultural Policy. On the one hand, the EU faces criticism from non-governmental organizations and scientists regarding the extent to which policies are actually “green” and on the other hand they also face pressures from farmers and cooperatives who are concerned about the implications of policies on farmers and production. Additionally, there is cause for concern about the impact on agricultural production and food security in developing countries. Since contemporary agriculture is not a closed autonomous system, rather one where policy changes create shifts in agrarian markets that ripple across all sectors and throughout the global economy, and Europe has one of the world’s largest agriculture industries, it is imperative to evaluate the current trajectory of green agricultural policies in order to identify if, when and how this will cause a shift in agricultural practices and markets globally. The question is, are Europe’s efforts to make agriculture sustainable genuine or is there a glass ceiling on reforms? And what could this mean for developing countries that are just starting on the sustainability path?
Racing Against Time: Climate Action in Crisis
Programmes
8 Feb 2023

Racing Against Time: Climate Action in Crisis

Climate change is a global reality that is growing more urgent by the minute, particularly for developing countries which research has shown are the most affected and expected to continue being the most affected by climate change. Globally, the last eight years have been the warmest on record with parts of the world experiencing unprecedented summer temperatures and prolonged heatwaves. Nearing the end of 2022, a consortium of international organizations issued a statement about the severity of the longest drought in the history of Horn of Africa which is creating a rapidly deteriorating food security crisis in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The world is also witnessing a higher frequency of natural disasters such as the extreme rainfall and flooding that had a devastating impact on countries such as Pakistan where 33 million people were displaced. Pakistan, which is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, now has to spend an estimated $16 billion on reconstruction, half of which have been pledged by foreign donors.   The reality that many of the countries with the lowest carbon emissions are now facing the highest level of vulnerability makes the climate issue global not only in it terms of impact but also in terms of responsibility and action. Accordingly, plans to alleviate and reverse the effects of climate change are already underway and being led by developed nations who have the capacity to adapt and provide assistance to developing nations through climate finance. However, as climate change and its effects accelerate and targets are repeatedly missed, it has become necessary to reevaluate the effectiveness of the current course of climate action to identify the most significant hindering factors.
The Future of Youth in the Post-Oil Era: The Case of the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Programmes
12 Jan 2023

The Future of Youth in the Post-Oil Era: The Case of the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

One of the most critical issues currently facing the Middle East is the changing composition of its demographic structure. A massive cohort of young people — known as a youth bulge — is challenging policymakers, with youth policies affecting security, education, the labour market, and welfare programs, among other areas. Given the relative stability and wealth of the Gulf states, this is an issue that is not often associated with the region. However, handling a growing young population is just as challenging in the Gulf.   The Gulf is one of the wealthiest regions worldwide; in terms of GDP per capita, it is distinctive due to its unique hydrocarbon reserves compared to a relatively small national population. Gulf states rely on oil revenue — to varying degrees — to attract private investors and provide extensive public services and subsidies to nationals. With not enough diversification in their economies, government spending in the Gulf states will continue to be a barrier to economic diversification. To sustain the high standard of living attained by Emirati and Saudi societies to the youth and the coming generations, the two countries must set strategies and plans to integrate youth while continuing to diversify their economies away from oil. This study explores the impact of the post-oil reforms and strategy on the youth, including education, employment, social contract, and identity.   The study applies Late Rentier State Theory to analyse the relationship between youth, the Emirati and Saudi states, the post-oil reforms, and their future trajectories. The analysis is guided by some of the characteristics identified by Late RST which focus on the impact of globalization, modernization policies, diversification, the state’s encouragement of entrepreneurship, and the sustainability of their strategies with regards to the extent to which they accommodate youth’s needs and account for changing societal structures and expectations.   While the study does not refute the youth bulge hypothesis, which contends that states where young adults constitute a large proportion of the population are expected to face an elevated risk of political violence and interstate conflict, widely used in the literature; it adds to it by proposing that while those risks exist, they can be alleviated under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include policies and strategies to be taken by governments that are relevant to youth needs and the surrounding environment. Namely, taking into consideration both agency and structure.   The study finds that, for the United Arab Emirates, the results of education and Emiratisation policies are likely to shape the shifting social contract between young Emiratis and the government, and could lead to a range of outcomes, from the promising- a population of empowered, educated, and skilled Emirati youth- to the stagnant- disappointed and apathetic youth persistent in their preference of the public sector- to the more worrisome- yet unlikely- active opposition by dissatisfied youth.   With regards to the Kingdom Saudi Arabia, the study finds that while the government is investing massively in educational and employment reforms, young Saudis need to adopt entrepreneurial values and work ethic to ensure the success of “Neo-Saudism". This in turn requires a certain level of responsiveness from the government and possibly more opportunities for youth to participate in decision making in the near future. The speed of change and the extent to which youth’s values and perspectives may clash with those of older generations is yet to be determined. The real challenge for Saudi decision makers and strategists will be in maintaining balance and stable relations between different societal groups.
Securing the Future Generation: A Road Map for Arab Nuclear Cooperation
Programmes
22 Dec 2022

Securing the Future Generation: A Road Map for Arab Nuclear Cooperation

Nuclear cooperation attracts international and regional attention, many Arab countries have aspired to produce clean nuclear energy and have either begun or are seeking to join the nuclear energy club. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) , Egypt, and Jordan, are the frontrunners in the Middle East and therefore will be the focus of this paper. Nuclear power is an international industry in terms of operation, supply chains, and vendors, as well as nuclear safety, non-proliferation and waste management, therefore, there is an ongoing need for cooperation and collaboration between states. This cooperation can include sharing technical expertise and nuclear technology, establishing agreements that facilitate nuclear exports, agreements on nuclear safety and standards, and collaboration with regulatory frameworks.   The paper employs horizontal or environmental scanning to analyse the current position of nuclear energy in each country and their preparedness for nuclear cooperation, as well as existing models of nuclear cooperation in other regions. Thereafter, the paper explores the different incentives countries may have for engaging in nuclear cooperation, including the potential benefits to be gained. A SWOT analysis is used to structure the environmental scanning, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within each country with regards to their potential role and contribution to nuclear cooperation in addition to an overall SWOT analysis of the countries as a whole with regards to the prospect of ongoing collaboration.   The paper is divided into three chapters; the first chapter provides an overview of nuclear energy in each of the selected countries, the second chapter examines existing models of nuclear cooperation and analyses the different enabling factors which will later be used to identify opportunities for Arab nuclear collaboration, and the third chapter analyses the various economic, political, and security incentives that would drive countries to seek cooperation or that can be used to advocate for greater collaboration among policymakers.   A cooperation model is produced as a result of this analysis, highlighting key characteristics of the ideal regional partnership. Three scenarios for Arab nuclear cooperation are evaluated to demonstrate what could occur if this proposed cooperation occurs, how it would happen, and the scenarios of no collaboration or limited cooperation.