Border areas development



trans-boundary movements

human trafficking

illegal border development

In the past few decades Southeast Asia has witnessed remarkable leaps forward when it comes to overall economic development. National realities have consolidates and considerable aid has been funnelled into the region. Mainland Southeast Asia, in particular, has started pushing towards a more concrete form of regional co-operation, which is gradually materialising in the so-called Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Although the word community does not quite yet belong to the region, efforts towards the harmonisation of intra-regional flows have begun to bear fruit, and people (thus goods and information) have started to move more freely across the sub-region’s internal frontiers. This research project analyses the current situation along some of the said frontiers, focussing in particular on the development of border areas along the GMS boundaries. New economic and social patterns are behind the establishment of numerous border towns, whose dynamics oftentimes can be categorised neither as urban nor as rural, and do not solely belong to either the economic or the social spheres. The peculiarity of the locations and the international forces applied give these areas that unique “regional” characteristic that might become the base for broader sub-regionalism. The normalisation of bilateral relations among many of the region’s countries has meant increased interactions and a growing interdependence, particularly between markets (including labour markets). Despite the abundance of positive statistics supporting such changes, this research project looks at the dark side of the story, focussing on recent implications pressurising the peoples dwelling cross-border areas, threatening indigenous livelihood and diversification patterns, and eventually disrupting the social layers of those communities.