In recent decades, the world has witnessed a proliferation of regional cooperation agreements among states. This coincides with a growing consciousness that regional integration can deliver added value in a wide range of policy areas. Moreover, these agreements have continued to emerge and co-exist alongside the processes of globalization, producing a twin-track development approach. International institutions have come to appreciate that this approach produces its own particular synergies. While there is no clear agreement on whether regionalization is in fact a step towards globalization, it is clear that regional agreements have their own distinctive impetuses and processes. Given the need for better empirical assessments in this area, the Monitoring Regional Integration Programme seeks to advance the development of appropriate methods for the analysis and monitoring of regional integration processes (such as indicators, monitoring, foresight, etc.), to create a node for information and knowledge on world regionalisms, and to develop a web-based knowledge platform (the Regional Integration Knowledge System — RIKS).
This programme is coordinated by Philippe De Lombaerde, UNU-CRIS Associate Director.
This programme seeks to advance the development of appropriate methods, on the one hand, and to create a node for information and knowledge on world regionalisms, on the other hand. The programme is of particular interest to governments, international organizations and civil society as it provides them with access to relevant information on regional integration and regional governance.
The approach in this programme can be characterized by inter-disciplinarity and a comparative focus. Special attention goes to the development of a methods toolbox, the construction of indicators, and to development of the knowledge platform.
Gender balance is taken into account in the development of the programme. UNU-CRIS aims to respect this cross-cutting challenge in the division of tasks within every programme and every research project.
The audience of this programme includes students, academics, national and regional policymakers, UN staff, and stakeholders.
Impact: Influencing policymaking at the international level
Target: This programme aims to influence international policymaking through delivery of monitoring services for policymaking communities.
How: The target could be achieved through the further development and maintenance of a web portal (RIKS — Regional Integration Knowledge System), academic and policy-relevant dissemination, and through high-level publications such as the publication of a series of World Reports on Regional Integration (including a changing thematic focus and a statistical annex).
Impact: Furthering knowledge in an academic field
Target: This programme seeks to augment academic knowledge through delivery of monitoring services for academic communities and by developing methods and tools.
How: The target could be achieved through the further development and maintenance of the RIKS web portal, academic and policy-relevant dissemination, and through high-level publications such as the publication of a series of World Reports on Regional Integration (including a changing thematic focus and a statistical annex), and publications on methodology.
The research programme will continue to collaborate with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Development Programme, UN Regional Economic Commissions.
The RIKS database complements the multiple efforts of UN bodies in the field of (national) statistics, by providing statistics at the regional level.
The output of this programme will be disseminated through the usual academic channels and policy reports, but also through the dedicated web-based RIKS portal.
This is a continuous programme, consisting of a set of projects with specific timelines.
Implementation progress can be seen by the number and quality of UNU-CRIS publications, the number of users of RIKS and related tools, and the degree of recognition of the programme’s competence in the area of monitoring.
The most important challenge is to set up sustainable collaborations with regional organizations and find the necessary financial resources to develop the RIKS web portal.
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