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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Two important themes highlighted by Regions & Cohesion have been migration and governance. The first of these themes remains timely in 2019. Human flows are a constant in the globalized world. According to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, “everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.” Moreover, “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” However, migration policies today seem to follow a diff erent path from the human rights perspective. The political discourse of leaders of various developed states mostly advocate nationalist claims against free immigration based on economic, cultural, or security logics that favor protectionism.

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Environmental and natural resources governance

Rethinking public-private relationships

Carmen Maganda and Olivier Petit

Talking about environmental and natural resources (ENR) governance today is generally related to the search for holistic elements to achieve sustainability. Political ecology clearly points out and debates the need to see ENR, particularly those related to vital necessities, as global public goods. It sounds like an easy equation: How can we achieve sustainability without sharing access, costs, benefits, and of course governance of ENR needed for all human activities? However, as logical as it seems, development inequalities and unregulated market relationships on the management of these resources are still predominant. Therefore, environmental governance and sustainability is still one of the major contemporary global challenges.

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Carmen Maganda and Harlan Koff

Regions & Cohesion aims to foster dialogue on the human and environmental impacts of regional integration processes. The mission of the journal is purposely defined broadly so as to create as wide an inter-regional dialogue as possible on issues affecting communities throughout the world. As the introduction to the first issue of volume one clearly stated, our goal is move people rather than territories to the center of debates on regional integration.

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Carmen Maganda and Harlan Koff

In the editorial note of the first issue of Regions & Cohesion, we directly asked ourselves and our readers: What role do people play in regional integration processes? Regions have, indeed, developed in different ways and for different reasons. One of the main questions behind the mission of this journal asks: Are territories serving their citizens, or do citizens serve the needs of expanding territories and interconnected markets?

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Regional integration is generally discussed in terms of supranational political cooperation and the integration of economic markets. Since its inception, this journal has noted that political and academic discussions of regionalism focus more on the integration of territories and markets than on the role that people play in these processes. This issue of Regions & Cohesion directly addresses this by “bringing the people back in.”

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Regions, borders, and social policy

The limits of welfare in regional cohesion debates

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

This first issue of Volume Four of Regions & Cohesion continues a trend of articles that gained momentum in Volume Three, focusing on the territorial aspects of welfare in social cohesion debates. The Summer 2013 issue of the journal presented a collection of articles that specifically discussed the role of borders and border policies in social cohesion politics. Although this collection was not intended to be presented as a thematically specific issue, the simultaneous arrival of these pieces highlighted the importance of borders in defining the territorial limits of cohesion and the ensuing renegotiation of these limits in political debates. For example, the article by Irina S. Burlacu and Cathal O’Donoghue focused on the impacts of the European Union’s social security coordination policy on the welfare of cross-border workers in Belgium and Luxembourg. The article illustrated the limits of this regional policy as cross-border workers do not receive equal treatment compared to domestic workers in the country of employment. Similarly, an article by Franz Clément in the same issue analyzed the “socio-political representation” of cross-border workers and discusses how such workers can mobilize for socioeconomic rights in institutions aimed at worker protection (such as professional associations, trade unions, etc.). Both articles show that despite formal regionalization of legislation concerning social rights and representation, national boundaries clearly present challenges to cross-border workers who have difficulty negotiating rights in both their country of employment and country of residence.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Security is one of the most salient issues in Latin America today. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won re-election in June 2014 in a vote that was essentially a referendum on the peace negotiations that he has established with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC acronym in Spanish) in hopes of ending Colombia’s decades-old civil war. Simultaneously, Mexico has witnessed further upheaval as citizens in some areas have taken up arms, and received support from the federal government, in opposition to drug cartels. These are only two examples of high profile developments in Latin America related to security issues.

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Introduction to the Leadership Forum

2015: A decisive year for development?

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) mean many things to many people. Public debates have recognized the critical role they played in helping the topic of development, the related struggle against poverty and its environmental implications to emerge in the collective consciousness of global actors. In fact, diminishing the number of people living in extreme poverty by half, the main priority of the MDGs, is the most notable success of this political process that began with the Millennium Development Summit in 2000. At the same time, the MDGs have been heavily criticized by leaders and academics for being indicator-driven and, in some cases, unrealistic. It still seems that five of the eight MDGs will not be met before the goals expire in 2015.

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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.