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UNU’s Activities in and on Africa

Regional Integration


Kenya, Turkana District, Rift Valley Province — Lowoi Lokadite, a Nilotic Turkana herdsman, carries an AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle as he watches over his camels grazing in the Kenyan-Ugandan border region. Photographer © Sven Torfinn

Completed projects appear below those ongoing.

Network for Regional Integration Studies (NETRIS)

UNU-Programme on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Maria-Cristina Macovei

Timeframe: 2009–2012

Programme website

The 'Network for Regional Integration Studies' (NETRIS) is project introduced by the College of Europe and UNU-CRIS along with partner institutions. The project aims to establish and coordinate a network of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) working within the field of (comparative) regional integration.

NETRIS is funded with a grant under the ACP-EU EDULINK Cooperation Programme in Higher Education which is implemented by the ACP Secretariat and financed by the European Union.

The objective of the network is to strengthen the research and training capacities of the partners in the field of regional integration studies, to stimulate mutual learning, shared practices and collective dissemination and encourage policy relevant research. This will be achieved through: (i) delivering lectures on regional integration and related issues; (ii) facilitate exchanges between researchers through a mobility scheme; (iii) facilitating the introduction of joint research or teaching programmes on regional integration in HEIs in the ACP; (iv) activities to strengthen the integration of ACP researchers in international research networks through better research dissemination and (v) strengthen the dialogue between researchers and policy makers in ACP countries.

The partner institutions of the network come from the six ACP sub-regions and represent leading institutes in the different regions: Addis Ababa University (AAU) (Ethiopia), Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) (Senegal), Université de Yaoundé II (IRICUY) (Cameroun), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) (South Africa) and University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) (Tanzania). The associates include the Southern Africa Political Economy Series (SAPES) Trust (Zimbabwe).

Location: The partner institutions of the network come from the six ACP sub-regions and represent leading institutes in the different regions: Addis Ababa University (AAU) (Ethiopia), Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) (Senegal), Université de Yaoundé II (IRICUY) (Cameroun), and University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). The associates include the Southern Africa Political Economy Series (SAPES) Trust.

Tags: ACP, economy, e-learning, peace and security, south-south cooperation, sustainability

Symposiums on The Role of Identity in Conflict or Peace

UNU-Programme on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Nikki Slocum-Bradley

Timeframe: November 2008 to present (future seminars are planned)

Identity-based conflicts are fought not only across geopolitical borders. What is the role of politicians, journalists and other public communicators in constructing an understanding of self and other that foments conflict or peace? These questions and issues are addressed by ongoing research that can offer important insights for policy makers and laypersons.

The symposium showcased research that addresses a root cause of conflict, a task vital to preventing the outbreak of violent conflict. The purpose of the symposium was twofold: first, to discuss recent research results on relationships between identities, borders, and conflict or peace, and second, to exchange views on how research results can best be made of use to policy-makers and practitioners.

The symposiums were attended by ACP and EU parliamentarians, diplomats, officials of national and regional governments, and academics. They were offered during the context of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly meetings in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Tags: peace-building, conflict/post-conflict, human security, ACP, EU

Completed Projects

Economic Partnership Agreements and Their Impact on Employment and Labour Market Policies

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Philippe De Lombaerde

Time frame: 2007–2009

UNU-CRIS is implementing this awareness and capacity development project focusing on “Regional integration, economic partnership agreements and their impact on employment and labour market policies” over an estimated period of 2 years. The project is conceived and focusing mainly on ILO constituents training needs. Discussions in the wake of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCDSG) report identified six areas for the ILO to concentrate on:

  1. the implementation of integrated local, national and regional policies, and their link to the economic aspects of globalization;
  2. the promotion of decent work in global production systems;
  3. policy cohesion within the multilateral system;
  4. the global socio-economic framework;
  5. the multilateral labour migration framework; and
  6. strengthening the international labour standards system.

The present project will specifically address the impact of regional integration processes and open-trading regimes on employment and labor market policies within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The Project is a partnership with the International Training Centre of the ILO (Turin). A training session will take place in Dakar (Senegal) in March 2009.

Tags: regional integration, capacity development, training programme, labour, employment, trade

MIC-MAC Research Project

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Philippe De Lombaerde

Time frame: 2007–2009

The research project analyzes the links between micro-regionalism and macro-regionalism and focuses on how until recently the study of micro-regions (e.g. Euroregions, the Maputo corridor, and growth triangles) and macro-regions (e.g. EU, SADC, ASEAN) have been largely separated discourses. The project highlights that over the last decade it has become evident that micro-regions and macro-regions have become more interlinked and intertwined. By better understanding the “MICMAC” linkages which until recently were poorly understood and theorized, it is expected to learn and understand better not only micro-regionalism but also macro-regionalism. The project seeks to generate theory as well as to provide empirical and policy-relevant insights.

Tags: Africa, regional integration, micro-regionalism, macro-regionalism, MICMAC

Research on African Regionalism

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Luk Van Langenhove

Time frame: 2006–2009

UNU-CRIS research on African regionalism focuses on the diversity of regional integration on the continent. Next to the continent-wide regionalism, there are the many overlapping sub-continental regional organizations as well as micro-regional collaborations. The project focuses primarily on how African regionalism can best contribute to poverty-reduction in the continent. Under this framework, a book project on “Afro-regions: the Dynamics of Cross-Border Regionalism in Africa” has been published, edited by Fredrik Söderbaum and Ian Taylor (publisher: Nordic Africa Institute).

Tags: Africa, regional integration, regional organizations, poverty reduction

Research on the European Union and the Global South

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Fredrik Söderbaum

Time frame: 2006–2008

UNU-CRIS research project on the EU and the Global South highlights how the development of coherent and effective relations with developing countries is one of the most challenging tasks faced by the European Union. The project aims to assess the making of the European Union’s policies towards the South. It focuses in particular on three controversial policy areas: economic partnerships, sustainable development and conflict management. The project deals not only with EU’s foreign policies towards the global South — i.e. Latin America, Africa and Asia (including the Mediterranean and the Middle East — but also aims to analyze the tensions and paradoxes between the EU’s foreign policies and those of its member states.

Several case studies will be performed aiming to answer three important questions: What actors are the most important in the making of the EU’s foreign policies towards the South? What are the dynamics of policy making in the EU’s foreign policies towards the South? What constitutes power and how are different kinds of power executed in the making of the EU’s foreign policies towards the South? The publication of a book, edited by Patrik Stalgren and Fredrik Söderbaum (publisher: Lynne Rienner) is forseen.

Tags: Africa, European Union, regional integration, economic partnerships, sustainable development, conflict management, power

Monitoring Regional Integration in the South

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Philippe De Lombaerde

Time frame: 2006–2008

UNU-CRIS project on Monitoring regional integration in the South aims at bringing together experts from regional organizations, universities and independent think tanks in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, North America and Europe to exchange experiences, analytical insights and proposals for monitoring regional integration processes. The project aims at showing the importance of good governance at the regional level for the effective development of the regional integration processes. It is a cooperation between UNU-CRIS and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The results of the project have been published as Philippe De Lombaerde, Antoni Estevadeordal and Kati Suominen (Eds.) Governing Regional Integration for Development Monitoring Experiences, Methods and Prospects. London: Ashgate, 2008.

Tags: Africa, regional integration, integration process, monitoring, comparative studies, good governance

UNU-CRIS Ph.D. Internship programme

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Luk Van Langenhove

Time frame: 2006–2008

Stephen Kingah from Cameroon has successfully defended his Ph.D. on “Access to Affordable HIV/AIDS Medicines in the Southern African Development Community: Coherence of EC Rules and Policies”. This project ran in association with the Institute of European Studies at the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

Tags: regional integration, capacity development, Ph.D. programme

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Page last modified 2011.06.07.

World Reports on Regional Integration

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Philippe De Lombaerde

Time frame: 2006–2009

UNU-CRIS, together with GARNET (a network of excellence under the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme), the UN Economic Commissions (UN-ECLAC, UN-ESCWA, UN-ECA, UN-ESCAP and UN-ECE), UNCTAD and UNU-WIDER have taken the initiative to launch a new series of World Reports on Regional Integration. The Reports consist of a thematic part, regional reports and a statistical annex. In 2007 the first volume looking at trade and investment was published (publisher Springer). The second volume entitled “Aid for Trade. Global and Regional Perspectives” was conceived as a contribution to the UNCTAD XII Conference on “Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization for Development”, held in Accra, Ghana, in April 2008 and will be published in the beginning of 2009. The third volume will address the position and importance of regions in the context of the UN, while the fourth volume, in collaboration with UNESCO, will address the issue of regional mobility of persons.

Tags: Africa, regional integration, world report, trade, investment, aid for trade, UN

Research Project on Why African Regional Organizations Intervene in Conflict

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Rodrigo Tavares

Time frame: 2006–2009

Why African regional organizations intervene in conflicts? Triggered by the increasing centrality of regional organizations in conflict management and in order to address a gap in the academic literature, this research project aims at assessing the reasons that lead regional organizations to intervene in conflicts. This study focuses on all military interventions carried out by existing African regional and sub-regional organizations. We will analyze the military interventions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia (1990-1998 and 2003), Sierra Leone (1997-2000), Guinea Bissau (1998-1999), and Cote D’Ivoire (2003-2004); of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Lesotho (1998) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (1998); and finally, of the African Union (AU) in Burundi (2003-2004), Sudan (since 2004), and Somalia (since 2007). This research project is part of the ongoing research cooperation between Gothenburg University (lead institution) and UNU-CRIS (associate institution). This project is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Tags: Africa, regional integration, conflict, regional organizations, intervention

Lake Victoria Research Project

UNU Programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Fredrik Söderbaum

Time frame: 2007–2009

Regional networks in the Lake Victoria Region: Forces for poverty reduction and sustainable development? The core question that this research project seeks to answer is to what extent and under what conditions regional networks are functional (or dysfunctional) for achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Lake Victoria region. The project is built on case studies of environmental networks, trading networks, peace networks, policy networks and aid networks. The project is lead by Fredrik Söderbaum and expected to be completed in 2009, resulting in an edited volume with an international publisher.

Tags: Africa, regional integration, conflict, regional organizations, Lake Victoria, networks, poverty reduction, sustainable development




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