‘Regional actorness and interregional relations: ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur’, by Frank Mattheis, 02.06.2017

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Frank Mattheis published, together with Uwe Wunderlich, the article ‘Regional actorness and interregional relations: ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur‘ in the Journal of European Integration.

The European Union (EU) has a long tradition of interregional dialogue mechanisms with other regional organisations and is using these relations to project its own model of institutionalised actorness. This is partly motivated by the emerging actorness of the EU itself, which benefits from fostering capable regional counterparts in other parts of the world. This article advances the argument that actorness, which we conceptualise in terms of institutions, recognition and identity, is a relational concept, dependent on context and perception. Taking the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and their relations with the EU as case studies, this article demonstrates that the actorness capabilities of all three organisations have been enhanced as result of ASEAN-EU and Mercosur-EU relations. However, there are clear limits to the development of the three components of regional actorness and to the interregional relations themselves. While there is evidence of institutional enhancement in ASEAN and Mercosur, these formal changes have been grafted on top of firmly entrenched normative underpinnings. The formation of different identities and institutional capacities has narrowed the scope of EU interregionalism despite the initial success of improved regional actorness.

Read the full article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07036337.2017.1333503

‘The State of Foresight in Food and Agriculture: Challenges for Impact and Participation’ by Robin Bourgeois

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois published together with Cristina Sette the article ‘The State of Foresight in Food and Agriculture: Challenges for Impact and Participation‘ in the journal Futures.

Actionable foresight for food and agriculture faces the double challenge of including, and impacting on multiple stakeholders. We present here a state of the art of participation, stakeholder inclusion and impact of 38 recent foresight studies on food and agriculture. All cases were selected through a worldwide survey in seven languages, a bibliography and multi-lingual web review, and a review by a group of foresight experts. Our results indicate that global foresight studies are led by experts or scientists from international organizations or national organizations from advanced countries, with rather limited participation of stakeholders, while more local studies are more inclusive and directly linked to policy making. Leadership in foresight by least developed countries’, farmers’ or civil society’s organizations is marginal. While there is more than anecdotic evidence of the impact of these foresight works, this is rarely documented. The paper combines literature review and case study to provide evidence on the links between stakeholder inclusion and impact and presents the Global Foresight Hub, an innovative initiative at global level for strengthening participation, inclusion and impact of foresight in food and agriculture.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001632871630221X

‘Foresight for all: Co-elaborative scenario building and empowerment’, by Robin Bourgeois

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois published the article ‘Foresight for all: Co-elaborative scenario building and empowerment‘ in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change, together with Esther Penunia, Sonali Bisht and Don Boruk.


We present here a co-elaborative scenario building approach, called Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) and discuss its relevance for empowering local communities/organizations. This approach is adapted from the French “La Prospective”. It is used as an action research engaging local farming communities in expanding their understanding of their own futures. Three cases of local implementation at farmer community level in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines illustrate how this approach was implemented. They are part of a global project in the field of food, agriculture and rural development, aiming at balancing the capacity to use the future, which is currently not fairly distributed to the detriment of local stakeholders, organizations and communities. Our results focus on the emergence of futures literacy as a capability, its connection to local agency and societal transformation. Our discussion highlights what in this approach makes the use of scenarios empowering, beyond its participatory features. The capacity to use the future has a great potential for local agency, even if it does not guarantee that communities will have the power or the willingness to directly engage in actions. Nevertheless, this approach seems to be a promising avenue for making everyone a future-literate potential agent of change.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162517305413

Repositioning Europe in the study of regions: comparative regionalism, interregionalism and decentred regionalism by Frank Mattheis

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Frank Mattheis published the article ‘Repositioning Europe in the study of regions: comparative regionalism, interregionalism and decentred regionalism‘ in the Journal of European Integration.

The constitution of European Union (EU) studies has long been an exclusionary process, both dealing extensively with internal debates and arguing for an own discipline within or even next to political sciences and international relations. Due to the self-centredness on the vivid development of the EU, other regions were largely disregarded when it came to theory building or only taken into account later as comparators.


Read the full article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07036337.2017.1317985

What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations

GovInn’s Researcher Robin Bourgeois published the article “What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations”  in the journal Development.

The future of rural areas is unpredictable, but it can be explored. This article draws from selected Futures Studies to identify global trends and discontinuities in these trends that could affect rural areas in contrasting ways. These drivers are combined to explore plausible rural transformations, focusing on two major dimensions. One is rooted in societal values and worldviews about the rural world. The other is rooted in consumers’ preferences and how they link to production systems. As a result, seven plausible transformations are identified and discussed. Some of them are already happening, others are in an embryonic stage in various places. Some are desirable, others are not. They call for societal choices and immediate action if the future of rural areas is to be the future we want for them.

Can We Still Only Think ‘Rural’? Bridging the rural–urban divide for rural transformation in a globalized world

GovInn’s Director Bruno Losch published the article “Can We Still Only Think ‘Rural’? Bridging the rural–urban divide for rural transformation in a globalized world” in the journal Development.

The international debate on structural change remains focused on sector–based approaches. The discussion on rural transformation is most often limited by the same long-standing bias. In order to answer the major challenges of their demographic and economic transition, many developing countries need to address their new rural-urban dynamics and to adopt territorial-based development strategies.


Read the article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41301-016-0015-3

Path Dependence in Nebo Plateau: Strategic Partnerships and Rural Poverty Alleviation in South African Small-Scale Irrigation Schemes

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Magalie Bourblanc published together with Raphaëlle Ducrot and Everisto Mapedze the article “Path Dependence in Nebo Plateau: Strategic Partnerships and Rural Poverty Alleviation in South African Small-Scale Irrigation Schemes” in the Journal of Southern African Studies.

To address the challenges associated with under-utilised smallholder irrigation schemes located in former homeland areas in South Africa, strategic partnerships between black farmers and white, established commercial farmers have been implemented by the Limpopo Provincial Department of Agriculture since the 2000s. This article aims to explain the adoption, and then the resilience over time, of this policy instrument, despite its failure to meet its objectives. We first demonstrate that policy instruments rarely result from an objective assessment of the situation at stake, and more often simply recycle previously used policies that were designed in attempts to provide solutions to other scenarios, which may not reflect the same characteristics as the situation currently under investigation. We then argue that the resilience of the particular policy instrument called ‘strategic partnership’ has been ensured thanks to a mechanism of ‘path dependence’ that is derived from previous policy decisions. Indeed, we demonstrate how the legacy of these earlier, primary policy choices makes it difficult to re-evaluate policy decisions favourable to strategic partnerships. Building on neo-institutionalist theories (sociological, historical and rational) that emphasise continuity within public policies, it will be made clear how strategic partnerships ultimately imposed themselves as a foregone policy ‘choice’, despite their disappointing results.

Read the article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057070.2017.1283917

Life in the Fringes: Economic and Sociocultural Practices in the Zambia–Malawi–Mozambique Borderlands in Comparative Perspective

GovInn’s Deputy Director Chris Nshimbi published the article ‘Life in the Fringes: Economic and Sociocultural Practices in the Zambia–Malawi–Mozambique Borderlands in Comparative Perspective’ in the Journal of Borderlands Studies.

This paper examines the cross-border sociocultural and economic activities of the inhabitants of the contiguous border areas of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique (ZMM), in order to compare perceptions towards each of these practices by various actors including informal cross-border traders (ICBTs), ordinary inhabitants of the borderland communities of these countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and state and local authorities, among others. The specific sociocultural practices in question include the accessing of social services, fulfillment of sociocultural needs/obligations, and the economic activities, informal cross-border trade. Legislations, policy reports and scientific publications are thoroughly reviewed and interviews with key policymakers, ICBTs, and locals are conducted. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of data collected from the interviews is also performed. Various actors generally regard accessing social services (such as education and health) across borders by nationals of neighboring countries as normal and “acceptable” practices while some forms of informal cross-border trade are regarded “unacceptable.” However, both sociocultural and economic actors engage in cross-border activities out of necessity, convenience, for survival, and as practices which they, being inhabitants of the borderlands, have traditionally followed. Representatives of state and local governments in the adjacent provinces of the contiguous borderlands should form transboundary coordinating committees through which to establish sustainable and effective burden-sharing and service provision systems, to meet the socioeconomic needs of borderland inhabitants.



Human trafficking legislation in the Southern African development community region: An overview

GovInn’s Deputy Director Chris Nshimbi wrote together with Inocent Moyo the article  “Human trafficking legislation in the Southern African development community region: An overview” in the Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security.

This paper provides a review of relevant global, regional and national legislative frameworks that seek to address human trafficking and considers the effectiveness of such legislation in the Southern African region. To a lesser extent, the paper also considers the possibility of implementing effective legislation on human smuggling in a region with porous borders and an extensive history of cross-border migration.


Read it at http://www.brownwalker.com/ojs/index.php/JTOCS/article/view/69

‘Structural transformation to boost youth labour demand in sub-Saharan Africa: The role of agriculture, rural areas and territorial development’ 01.11.2016

In a recent working paper for the International Labor Organization (ILO) GovInn Co-director Bruno Losch explores  structural transformation and the identification of possible building blocks for boosting youth employment in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper begins by detailing past processes of structural transformation and new challenges facing Africa in the twenty-first century. It then turns to addressing the unique structural situation of sub-Saharan Africa, its employment challenges and the enduring importance of the rural labour force. It then reviews the existing policy options for speeding up the regions structural transformation, the limitations of  segmented sector-based policies and the importance of reinvesting in multi-sectoral and place-based development strategies. It also considers the rural economy and the need for renewed public policies adapted to the current realities of the region – notably the fading rural–urban divide. This new context requires a better understanding of the underlying processes of change – in particular, the growing pressure on land and natural resources and the consequences for viable agricultural systems, concluding with policy recommendations for an inclusive growth process for youth employment. The paper can be read and downloaded here.