Esch-sur-Alzette (Belval Campus), Luxembourg
29-30 November 2021

RISC-RISE Conference: Social Partnerships and Regional Integration

On 29-30 November 2021, the 'International Conference of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion-Social Elevation (RISC-RISE)' will take place in  Esch-sur-Alzette (Belval Campus), Luxembourg
The event is organised by the University of Luxembourg, LISER and the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Politics and International Relations

The RISC-RISE Consortium calls for papers for its 2021 conference on 29-30 November. The aim of the event is to examine how transnational social partnerships are established in order to address problems or promote sustainability across national borders within a region or between different regions. For example, "Luxembourg’s Greater Region" assembles various associations and public institutions to address questions related to mobility, cross-border labor markets, environmental issues, etc. This call for papers engages transnational partnerships led by citizens, civil society, unions, businesses, or public institutions aimed at cooperative problem solving (i.e. management of shared natural resources, climate change mitigation, crime, etc.), promotion of sustainability or improvement of quality of democracy.

Conference format: Health restrictions permitting, the conference will be held in hybrid form with both in- person and remote presentations. The conference will include panels organized by the RISC-RISE consortium’s working groups (4 speakers per panel) and keynote speakers.

Paper proposals: The deadline for the submission of paper proposals is planned for 20 June 2021. All proposals, including 1) Proposed paper title, 2) Author name(s) and contact information, 3) Author affiliation(s) and position(s), 3) A 100-200 word abstract and 4) The name of the panel for which the paper is being proposed, should be submitted by email to: Incomplete proposals will not be considered. All papers presented at the conference can be submitted for publication in the RISC-RISE Consortium’s peer-reviewed journal Regions & Cohesion (Berghahn Journals). The RISC-RISE Consortium values proposals from early-career scholars which can be combined with participation in the consortium’s doctoral/postdoctoral school on “Regional Integration and Social Cohesion” that will be held from 1-3 December 2021 in association with this conference.

An independent committee will select the “Robert V.H. Dover Prize for Best Conference Paper” which will be announced during the conference.

Conference Costs: The RISC Consortium provides accommodation and conference meals for participants affiliated with the consortium’s member institutes. Non-affiliated scholars must pay for their own accommodation as well as a 100 Euro conference registration fee. International travel is the responsibility of conference participants.

Panel I: Reinventing cooperation and partnership regarding environment in borderlands: stakeholder challenges and opportunities facing new assemblages of citizens
Working Group: Management of Strategic Resources, Environment and Society
Coordinators: Dr. Carmen Maganda (INECOL, Mexico) and Dr. Edith Kauffer (CIESAS Sureste, Mexico)

The natural environment flows and develops its dynamics regardless of the borders established by nation states and their administrative subdivisions: water flows from one country to another, forests and jungles present transboundary continuities, fauna moves from one national territory to another. The insistence on matching them harmoniously has generated cross-border tensions and diplomatic challenges throughout history. In certain scenarios, sovereignties limit and prevent environmental cooperation -for example, when borders do not allow the establishment of shared protected areas- while, in others, actors manage to establish cooperative agreements and schemes, sometimes sui generis. These situations are nourished by national and international legal frameworks, relations between countries and are transformed at the rate of political, social and environmental situations. Therein lies the relevance of insisting the promotion of fostering actions focused on highlighting proactive collaborations between various regions and countries for the protection, preservation and cross-border management of natural resources.

The organizers of this panel call for papers that address case studies and reflect on the construction of various schemes for cooperation and close collaboration around the environment and natural resources in border settings, considering their challenges but above all, their opportunities.

Panels II: Emphasizing three “P’s” in PCD: Policy partnerships for participative policy coherence for development
Working Groups: Development, Equity and Policy Coherence
Coordinators: Dr. Lauri Siitonen (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Dr. Harlan Koff (University of Luxembourg)

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) has developed into a central pillar of global development cooperation since it was first proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union in the early 1990s. Nonetheless, despite the inclusion of PCD in Sustainable Development Goal 17 on “Revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development” this policy approach has remained highly institutionalized and donor-driven. This panel welcomes proposals for papers focused on “participative policy coherence for development” aimed at the establishment of effective partnerships between government and non-governmental actors within the framework of PCD approaches. Conceptual and empirical contributions are welcome. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of participative PCD and authors will be invited to collaborate with the RISC-RISE Knowledge Platform on Participative Policy Coherence for Development.

Panel III: Addressing humanitarian crises amongst autochthonous and local communities through cross-border social partnerships
Working Group: Civil society, Vulnerable Populations, and State Policies of Health and Well-being
Coordinators: Dr. Claudia Puerta Silva (Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia) and Dr. Catherine Alès (EHESS, Paris, France)

In a recent article, published in Regions & Cohesion (Berghahn Journal: Winter 2020), a network of ethnic community leaders, social activists and academics analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on the Wayuu people who live across the Colombia-Venezuela border as a “crisis of crises.” This article addressed overlapping humanitarian crises that threaten health, food security, economic well-being, access to natural resources, territorial autonomy and cultural ways of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted autochthonous and local communities, like the Wayuu, throughout the world because it exposed the vulnerabilities which were created by long-lasting power inequalities. This panel calls for contributions on socio-ecological vulnerabilities amongst indigenous and other local populations which discuss how cross-border/regional social partnerships can address these situations. Papers focusing on Covid-19 related situations, border populations and comparative research are particularly welcome.

Panel IV: Responses to climate change and environmental disasters through social partnerships
Working Group: The Social Construction of Risks and Disasters
Coordinator: Dr. Sandra Häbel (RISC-RISE Fellow)

Disasters as a result of climate change are vast. The glacier spill in Northern India is only one of the most recent examples of how climate change effects not only human lives but also severely damages the environment. This panel examines the relationship between climate change, environmental disasters and society by addressing social partnerships at various governance levels, their efforts to mitigate climate change, and their responses to climate change induced disasters. In this context, we particularly welcome proposals for papers on topics, such as civil society engagement, the role of regional organizations, or policy coherence for development.

Panel V: Transnational civil society initiatives against crime
Working Group: Migration, borders and security
Coordinator: Dr. Juan Carlos Velez Rendon (Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia)

Among the characteristics of organized crime are its capacity to adapt and extend its networks of action across borders, and its high impact on generating damage to particularly vulnerable people and social groups. The opposite occurs with the State at its different scales, which reacts quite often in a slow and uncoordinated manner to combat crime and to serve the populations affected by it. Faced with this situation, civil society has had to undertake different initiatives to try to counter the effects of organized crime on society, creating organizations, platforms, programs and urgent actions to protect victims and vulnerable groups such as women, children, migrants, among others. This working group calls for paper that refer to initiatives from civil society organizations, whether national or transnational, to address cross-border organized crime. Topics include, but are not limited to, evaluation of scope and limits in the proposed program objectives, analysis of composition and financing, capacity-building aimed at definitive attainment of program objectives, incidence in the design of public policies, and analysis of the content and form of civil society cooperation with central or local authorities for effective governance against crime.

Panel VI: Freedom and equality: Partnering to promote good quality democracy
Working Group: The Quality of Democracy
Coordinator: Dr Vicky Graham (University of Johannesburg)

Freedom and equality, expressed through civil, political and socio-economic rights, are bedrock issues in democracies globally, particularly developing states where the pursuit of substantive freedom and equality is complex. While many states acknowledge their responsibility to their own people in this regard, underpinned by the ratification of regional and international Charters to this effect and written into law through their Constitutions, many governments do not follow through on these commitments in practice. Whether through inadequate service provision, a genuine lack of capacity for effective resource allocation, or unethical behavior and corruption, governments often fall short. This is where civil society plugs the gap, often offering essential services to fulfil societal needs and acting as agents of change. It is widely believed that the effective functioning of democracies depends to a large extent on an attentive and active citizen body or civil society. This panel will accept papers on civil society’s role in promoting good quality democracy and good governance either through partnerships with governments or through efforts to keep governments accountable.

Panel VII: SIDS and durable partnerships
Working Group: International Relations
Coordinator: Dr Suzy Graham (University of Johannesburg)

‘The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS Conference) was held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa under the overarching theme of “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”. The Conference resulted in an intergovernmental agreed outcome document – the SAMOA Pathway - and the announcement of 300 multi-stakeholder partnerships devoted to the sustainable development of SIDS. A key outcome of the SIDS Conference was the establishment of a SIDS Partnership Framework designed to monitor progress of existing, and stimulate the launch of new, genuine and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS’ (United Nations, 2019). A recent study (United Nations, 2019) found that ‘Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society participate broadly in partnerships throughout all regions but lead very few of them. NGOs and civil society have the highest participation (16%) in partnerships in the Pacific region. In addition, participation by the private sector and academia is generally lower than other entity types.’
This Working Group would accept papers reviewing the status and trends of partnerships for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in any region of the world. How have these partnerships addressed the SAMOA Pathway priority areas? Are there under-represented areas of the SAMOA Pathway that may need to be addressed further through partnerships? What challenges have the partnerships faced? What role, if any, does civil society play in leading these partnerships?

Panel VIII: Spatial and social convergences in border regions through civic engagement
Panel sponsored by the Migration and Inclusive Societies Research Group, University of Luxembourg
Chairs: Dr. Christian Wille and Dr. Koku Gnatuloma Nonoa (both of the University of Luxembourg)

Border regions are characterized by discontinuities to be overcome through concerted developments on both sides of a border. Such processes aiming at spatial and social convergence involve a variety of institutional actors from the local to the supranational level. However, in efforts to transform discontinuities into transborder continuities, an increasing citizen participation as well as growing civic engagement can be observed. The panel focuses on cross-border cooperation in border regions that focus on spatial and/or social discontinuities and involve citizens or even emerge from civil society. The empirical or conceptual presentations may address the enabling and hindering conditions for social partnerships and issues of participatory governance, cooperation dynamics, etc. Proposals from the social sciences and cultural studies are welcome, as well as diachronic and synchronic analysis.
Conference Scientific Committee: Dr Franz Clement (LISER), Dr Harlan Koff (University of Luxembourg); Dr Suzanne Graham (University of Johannesburg), Dr Victoria Graham (University of Johannesburg)