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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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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.

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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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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 Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) was born in 2007 following a conference on Social Cohesion in Europe at the Americas. (Koff, 2009) The rich discussions addressed numerous social cohesion issues in the aforementioned continents, such as human rights, social vulnerability, risk and welfare, environmental challenges and social cohesion, the relationship between borders, states and regions and urban violence. While the relevance of each of these issues to social cohesion was clear from the outset of our discussions, understanding their contributions to the conceptualization of social cohesion was far more difficult. In fact, these debates raised numerous questions that underlie social cohesion debates: What relationships exist between rights, responsibilities and cohesion? For what protections and services are governments responsible vis-à-vis their citizens under social cohesion policies? What relationships exist between social cohesion, risk and vulnerability? How does natural resource management affect social cohesion? How is social cohesion affected by territorial scales? And how can social cohesion address urban marginalization and violence?

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Contemporary citizenship debates

The search for firm footing on shifting terrains

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

In many ways, the sociopolitical events of 2016 and 2017 have brought to life many of the conceptual debates surrounding the nature and importance of citizenship. The election of President Donald Trump in the United States (US), the rejection of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, and the vote on Brexit in the United Kingdom (UK), amongst other significant world events, have in many ways indicated a “crisis of citizenship” as disenchanted voters rejected their countries’ political establishments as much as they rejected specific policy proposals or platforms. Even the 2017 election of Emmanuel Macron as president of France over the nativist/populist candidate Marine Le Pen (which may have saved the European Union) represented an important realignment of the French political system.

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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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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

June 5 is World Environment Day, also known as Eco-day. It is an environmental awareness day run by the United Nations (UN). Of course, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, also run by the UN, now dominates our discussions of sustainability in global affairs. However, localized visions of sustainable development continue to thrive. These development models are based on local movements that include a variety of actors with concrete grievances and focused visions for the futures of their communities. These movements and visions are relevant for World Environment Day because they reflect the spirit of this initiative through grassroots activities.