ZOPACAS at 30: Its formation, potential and limitations

This research project seeks to stimulate the broadening of the scientific-academic debate over the current and potential configuration of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS), both within the context of Brazilian interests and in the framework of increasing international focus over South Atlantic dynamics. With over 30 years of existence, ZOPACAS accounts today for a singular case of a multilateral platform, transversal to multiple global developments in the last few decades. Its institutional resilience associated to a characteristically legal singularity in terms of other multilateral experiences as well as an express desire to widen its thematic range of action, make this forum a noticeable case study. That relevance, in turn, only increases if we also consider the underlined notion of a supposedly common perception of an oceanic region, as an aggregating element of South American and African countries, as well as its passive contribution – never really challenged or tested – to regional security and stability.

ZOPACAS flag
On the other hand, the pre-salt discoveries, the resurgence of the Brazilian defense industry, the bet on South-South relations and the political-commercial investments in Africa also incited Brazil to concern itself once again with developments in the South Atlantic. It is therefore understandable why the progressive reinforcement of ZOPACAS is considered relevant to Brazil’s own defense, as mentioned by the Defense White Book, and inter-relates easily with the national foreign policy domain.
In this context, while combining an historical balance (1986-2016) with a structural evaluation of the current limits, capacities and eventual potentialities of ZOPACAS, this project thus seeks to provide a complete and deepened perspective of a regional mechanism, frequently neglected by academic literature and never fully researched in its totality. Moreover, it seeks to answer the increasing demand, both internal and external, for detailed information over ZOPACAS and provide greater substance to the national decision-making process regarding Brazil’s active participation in such a multilateral body.

GovInn researcher: Frank Mattheis

Partner institutions: University of Brasilia (Brazil), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Rosario (Argentina)

Funding institutions: Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Defence Ministry’s Pandiá Calógeras Institute

Funding period: January 2015 to December 2016

LEDDA: Local Economic Direct Democracy Association

leddaUrban communities worldwide want economies that are stronger, greener, fairer, more resilient, and more diverse. Jobs must be created, climate change addressed, infrastructure repaired, schools upgraded, and more. The LEDDA economic direct democracy framework offers a bold yet practical solution.

The framework synthesizes multiple approaches currently in use in cities and regions around the world into a coherent, consistent, integrated whole. It builds on ideas from buy local, invest local, local currency, local food, local sharing, open source, smart cities, open government, open data, participatory democracy, and related initiatives.

LEDDA means Local Economic Direct Democracy Association. A membership-based, community benefit corporation that implements a secondary economic framework as a local overlay to an existing city or regional economy. The framework offers all members roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence their local economy. It is applicable to cities and regions in both developed and emerging or other developing countries.

The LEDDA framework arises from a “systems,” or holistic, view of an economy, which is understood to be a decision-making system that is ripe for direct democracy. Money is viewed in part as a voting tool that facilitates direct democracy. A complete description of LEDDA economic direct democracy is provided in the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being. A free PDF version is available at the Principled Societies Project website.

Govinn and the Principled Societies Project USA will carry out this project through a global partnership of academic, civil society, government, business, and foundation groups that will usher the LEDDA framework through the development and scientific pilot trial phases.

To know more about LEDDA, please visit the links below:

2014 – SUSTAIN: The Sustainability of Regional Governance

Contemporary challenges, from the global economic crisis to climate change, have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration throughout the world.
The Euro-crisis, for instance, has exerted a strain on the EU’s model of top-down governance, while reinforcing the pace (and changing the form) of integration in Europe.
Similarly, climate change is forcing us to rethink the current economic model based on globalized markets and GDP growth.
In a recent report for the European Commission and endorsed by the European Parliament, futurist Jeremy Rifkin has argued that the shift to a low carbon economy and the consequential contraction of the economic system will contribute to a shrinking of globalization (at least in its pro-market orientation) while paving the way to the resurgence of ‘continental regions’. In his view, production processes will be increasingly localized and resources will be managed and shared regionally, with a view to creating hubs of sustainability within geographically continuous continents.
This will fundamentally reshape regional integration and its ultimate goals. As conventional market mechanisms are reformed and production systems are reinvented, more and more regional integration will be built from the bottom up, through what Rifkin calls ‘lateral power’, that is, the capacity to affect change through peer-to-peer collaboration. In a word, a citizens-driven development model.

Against this backdrop, SUSTAIN will bring together top scholars of regional governance, civil society and business to reflect on what ‘sustainable regional integration’ entails for regionalism and what new governance ‘innovations’ will be necessary to achieve this objective.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Research and Information Activities

2013-2015 – ATLANTIC FUTURE: Towards an Atlantic area? Mapping trends, perspectives and interregional dynamics amongst Europe, Africa and the Americas 

atlantic future
The Atlantic can be considered the cradle of modern globalisation, a space where links between peoples, nations and economies started first to transcend their regional contexts on a large scale. As globalisation enters a new phase characterised by the rise of developing economies, and as global challenges such as the economic crisis, food security, climate change, energy scarcity and security in the high seas become more urgent, the states and regions around the Atlantic look at their counterparts across the ocean with renewed interest.
ATLANTIC FUTURE, is a research project designed to map the transformation of the Atlantic, bringing together data-based evidence and a plurality of perspectives from across the Atlantic rim.

The conceptualisation and characterisation of an ‘Atlantic area’ within broader international relations is a starting task for the project. Identifying the drivers for, and obstacles to, cooperation, competition and conflict; mapping the new trends and projecting them into future scenarios and identifying opportunity for sustainable growth and for jointly addressing common challenges are equally important objectives of a collaborative research that will bring together first-class research institutions from the Atlantic.

GovInn researchers: Lorenzo Fioramonti (leader), Camilla Adelle, Andreas Godsaeter, John Kotsopoulos, Frank Mattheis.

Partner institutions: CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs – Spain), Johns Hopkins University (USA), Friedrich Alexander University (Germany), University of Lisbon (Portugal), Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), Ecologic Institute (Germany), Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economica (Mexico), German Marshall Fund (Belgium), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), Fundación Para Las Relaciones Internacionales y El Dialogo Exterior (Spain).

Funding: European Union FP7 Programme.

Funding period: January 2013 to December 2015

Next events: Dissemination events in Brussels, Washington D.C. and Rio de Janeiro (October to December 2015)

Website: www.atlanticfuture.eu

2013-2014 – The EU, Regional Conflicts and the Promotion of Regional Cooperation: A Successful Strategy for a Global Challenge? (REGIOCONF)

Regional conflicts are a core global challenge in that they threaten international peace and affect global actors either because of economic and strategic interests or because of challenges to normative claims. The European Union (EU) has been seen as a normative power able to help transform such conflicts.

A prominent strategy in this has been the promotion of regional integration through various forms of support for regional integration projects and strategies, from the Andean Community to the African Union. REGIOCONF aims at assessing this strategy by comparing EU involvement in different cases in the Mediterranean, Africa, Central and South America and East Asia.
It will explain the persistence of this strategy and the choice of particular instruments, assess its implementation, analyse local responses and the interaction with the global community, and determine the conditions under which a regionalisation strategy, as an instrument of conflict transformation, may be successful.
In doing so, it will enhance our understanding of a crucial part of EU external policy, make a contribution to the debate about sustainable peace strategies, and put forward policy recommendations about how to assist the transformation of regional conflicts more successfully.

Partners:University of Tubingen (Germany), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), University of Algiers (Algeria), University of Tsukaba (Japan).

Funding: Volkswagen Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

GovInn researchers: 

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS)

2013 – Building Regions from Below: Regional Integration and Civil Society from Europe to the Rest of the World (RICS) 

Regionalism has been traditionally analyzed through a top-down lens, generally emphasizing the role of governmental elites, political parties and – to a lesser extent – business associations and epistemic communities. By contrast, civil society has received limited attention by scholars of regionalism in spite of the critical role it can play in strengthening the legitimacy of regional governance. In the past few years, NGOs, social movements, advocacy groups, trade unions and civic associations have been able to exert a growing influence on decision-making at the regional level. This role has been amplified not only by the introduction of specific policy channels and tools (e.g. the non-state actors programme at the EU level, the African Peer Review Mechanism at the AU level, etc.) but also by the desire of citizens to make their voices heard in an arena traditionally dominated by technocrats and lobbyists. The RICS project aims to bring together well-known scholars, civic activists and practitioners to discuss how civil society has contributed and can contribute to shaping regionalism in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Through a major international seminar led by members of the Research Unit for Euro-African Studies, the EU Studies Association of Southern Africa and the UNESCO Chair on Regional Integration (all based at the University of Pretoria), RICS will investigate the role of civil society in ‘building regions from below’ by providing a series of comparative studies. Particular emphasis will be placed on civic-driven responses to the current Euro-crisis and lessons that other regions can learn from these recent events.

Funding: EU Jean Monnet Programme. 

2012-2013 – Regional international migration and its impact on the South African labour market: data, policies and livelihoods 

2012-2013 – Regional international migration and its impact on the South African labour market: data, policies and livelihoods 

While both Europe and South Africa have had long experience of the impact of migrant labour on their respective economies and societies for some time, the inclusion of migration as a specific area of interest in the European Union (EU) – South Africa (SA) Dialogue Facility is only a fairly recent development. The past twenty years have seen a move from a highly regulated system of regional labour migration to largely unregulated flows, in the context of a restructuring of the South African economy resulting in millions of job losses and of chronic political instability in the rest of the region. Relying on a partnership between European, international, and South Africa-based state and nonstate organisations, the project will allow for the collection of original data, the design of new research instruments, and a range of policy-oriented and scholarly outputs.

Partners: African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), United Nations University Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (Belgium). 

Funding: EU-SA Dialogue Facility.

2009-2012 – Mercury: Multilateralism and the EU in the Contemporary Global Order 


Multilateralism is defined in many ways, but common to all are the importance of rules, institutionalised cooperation and inclusiveness. Demand for multilateralism increases as new international challenges arise. Globalisation connects the world in ways both positive and negative. Trade, capital, ideas, people, technology, information, diseases and crime all flow more freely. Patterns of interaction between world regions are changing. New powers are rising. Alternative development paths and models of capitalism are being debated. International terrorist networks constitute a new and profound security challenge. New sources of conflict, over global warming, migration and resource scarcity, are emerging. MERCURY is a consortium of academic partners formed to examine critically the European Union’s contribution to multilateralism. It explores multilateralism as a concept, an aspiration, and a form of international order. 

Partners: University of Edinburgh (UK), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sweden), Charles University (Czech Republic), Fudan University (China), Sciences-Po (France), University of Cambridge (UK). 

Funding: European Union FP7 Programme.