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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Since the end of the Cold War in 1990, “regions” and “governance” have become prominent themes in the social sciences and they have often accompanied each other in both political and academic circles. During this historical period, regions have developed in many ways, including the proliferation and deepening of regional integration schemes, including among others, the enlargement of the European Union (EU), the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the passage of the Organization of African Unity to the African Union, and the transformation of the Andean Pact into the Andean Community. While world regions were being established at the supranational level, sub-national regions also began to take form. The 1990s witnessed the development of regional economies, regional identities, regionalist ideologies, political parties, and social movements. In many cases, these transformations could not be contained by national boundaries. The notion of “borders” has recently been replaced by “border regions” as these areas have become accepted as socially constructed territories that transcend political and geographic delineations.

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A Vulnerable World?

“Honor a quien honor merece“

Carmen Maganda and Harlan Koff

Regions and Cohesion has grown from invaluable human and intellectual roots. One source of inspiration, Dr. Virginia García-Acosta, comes from CIESAS-Mexico (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social). Dr. García-Acosta is an internationally recognized scholar who has achieved much through her professional career and touched many through her wisdom and humanity. In recognition of her achievements, she was honored with the title Chevalier dans l’ordre des palmes académiques by France in a ceremony on 16 November 2010 at the Residencia de Francia in Mexico City. The editors of Regions and Cohesion, on behalf of the RISC Consortium, are pleased to recognize this honor by translating into French and publishing in this issue of the journal one of Dr. García-Acosta’s most important articles, entitled: “Le risque comme construction sociale et la construction sociale des risques” (originally published in Mexico as “El riesgo como construcción social y la construcción social de riesgos” in Desacatos No. 19 (2005): p. 11–24).

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Volume five of Regions & Cohesion has focused significant attention on the subject of regional development. It has done so because 2015 is such an important year in relation to development debates given the definition of the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda in the United Nations and the official declaration of 2015 as the European Union Year for Development. The introduction to the Leadership Forum of the Spring 2015 issue included important reflections on the theme of “transformative development.” The introduction openly asked whether 2015 could be a decisive year for the global development agenda or whether it will be remembered for global summitry, international declarations and little more.

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Gender coherence for development

The inclusion of women in peace and development

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

On December 9, 2015, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) proudly co-sponsored a Kapuscinski Development Lecture with the European Commission, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Luxembourgish Ministry of Foreign Aff airs and the University of Luxembourg, which was delivered by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee (kapuscinskilectures.eu/lectures/from-war-to-development-women-leading-the-nation). In order to highlight this inspirational talk given by an extraordinary person, the RISC Consortium, in association with Regions & Cohesion decided to distribute a call for papers for a special issue on “Women, Peace and Development.” Like all of RISC’s activities, the call aimed to attract contributions on these themes from different world regions.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The year 2017 has started with many significant challenges for region-building in the world. Not only do poverty and socio-economic inequity seem to be extending within and between world regions, but social tensions are manifesting themselves in different forms, from the fallout from electoral divisions in the United States to terrorism in Europe and Turkey. The New Year’s Eve attacks in Istanbul demonstrate the complexity of political positioning in places such as Turkey that act as bridges between regions and thus, connections between economies, political systems, and identities. Whereas nodes of intersections between regions can provide opportunities to dynamic communities, the recent political violence in Turkey has made the risks clear to those residents who must live with such tensions on a daily basis.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The following question was asked during the 2017 International Conference of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) on “Integrated and Coherent Sustainable Development”: “If forced to choose one of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] to prioritize, which would it be?” Of course, this provocation elicited numerous responses, and passionate debate as each of the SDGs is worthy and the policy community supporting sustainable development is heterogeneous, including stakeholders who are implicated in discussions on the environment, human rights, public health, food security, water security, gender equality, and so on. None of the responses forwarded can be considered “wrong.”

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Since 2015, Regions & Cohesion, like many other observers of global affairs, has focused significantly on sustainable development. The passage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called attention to this issue. Its “transformative” or “universal” or “interconnected” perspective on development signified a paradigm shift in how we view development strategies in terms of focus, content, structure, agency, and responsibilities. Human rights were subsumed in these discussions on many ways.

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Sustainable development

Still haven´t found what we’re looking for…

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Much debate has swirled around the United Nations’ (UN) 2000–2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On one hand, the MDGs established the fight against poverty in the global political consciousness. On the other hand, they maintained a traditional statistical approach to “development” that focused on indicators more than transformation. Critics (such as Blanco Sío-López, 2015; Martens, 2015) have contended that the MDGs reinforced power imbalances and the indicators included in the political program were unattainable by many developing states since the beginning.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

In any region of the world, in any country, each beginning of the year offers us a scenario for potential changes, purposes, goals and hopes, and 2019 does not have to be the exception. Despite various forecasts of slower global economic growth in the coming year (World Bank, Forbes, Reuters), and despite the latest reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on stressful atmospheric conditions, among other environmental discomforts around the planet, we cannot limit our human capacity to see the future with courage and optimism.

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Edith Kauffer and Carmen Maganda

English abstract: This note presents an account of transboundary basins on a global and regional scale throughout history. The authors introduce the special section on transboundary basins, presenting their constant increase and profound complexity. Regions & Cohesion has shown a permanent interest in this subject, from its first publications and, in particular, with the 2014 special issue that addressed different theoretical, methodological, and case studies in different continents. The three readings that make up this section address contemporary water border contexts and Mexico–U.S. policy where multi- and transdisciplinary challenges continue.

Spanish abstract: Esta nota presenta un recuento de las cuencas transfronterizas a escala global y regional a través de la historia. Las autoras introducen la sección especial de cuencas transfronterizas exponiendo su constante aumento y su profunda complejidad. La revista Regiones & Cohesión ha demostrado un interés permanente por este tema, desde sus primeras publicaciones y en particular con el número especial de 2014 que abordó distintas problemáticas teóricas, metodológicas y estudios de caso de cuencas transfronterizas en diferentes continentes. Las tres lecturas que componen esta sección abordan contextos contemporáneos de la frontera hídrica y política México-Estados Unidos donde el reto multi- y transdisciplinario continúa vigente.

French abstract: Cette présentation aborde les bassins versants transfrontaliers à l’échelle globale et régionale à travers l’histoire. Les auteures introduisent la section spéciale sur les bassins transfrontaliers en signalant leur constante augmentation et leur profonde complexité. La revue Regions & Cohesion a démontré un intérêt permanent pour ce thème depuis ses premières parutions en particulier avec la publication du numéro spécial de 2014 qui a evoqué diverses problématiques théoriques, méthodologiques et des études de cas dans différents continents. Les trois lectures qui composent cette section spéciale se centrent sur les contextes contemporains de la frontière hydrique et politique entre le Mexique et les États-Unis où le défímultidisciplinaire et pluridisciplinaire est toujours d’actualité.