This is the old website of UNU-ISP, which is now part of the new UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Please visit the new UNU-IAS website at

Cross-Border Governance in Asia: Regional Issues and Mechanisms


Edited by G. Shabbir Cheema, Christopher A. McNally and Vesselin Popovski

ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1193-3

Language: English

Pages: 300

Price: US$35.00

Publisher: United Nations University Press

Published: April 2011

Rapid globalization has led to increased flows of capital, services, ideas, information and people between countries. As such, problems and challenges that face one nation often have a rippling impact throughout the region and globally. The growing list of cross-border issues cannot be resolved by isolated policy action at the national or sub-national levels. It is essential to forge strategic alliances at the regional level which support the development of consolidated approaches through regional platforms for dialogue and action.

This book discusses regional governance mechanisms and institutional arrangements to respond to emerging cross-border issues and trends in Asia and the Pacific, such as the movement of people including refugees and illegal migrants, regional trade integration for human development, effective and efficient water management, human trafficking, and health focusing on infectious disease surveillance and response. Cross-Border Governance in Asia considers the following questions: What are the key cross-border governance issues in Asia?

What are the regional governance mechanisms to cope with these issues? How effective are the regional mechanisms and national institutional capacities in responding to these issues?

What is the impact of governance on the cross-border issues in Asia? What factors contribute to the success or failure of the mechanisms for regional cooperation?

“I believe that this edited book is a timely contribution to the discussion on globalization within the Asia and Pacific Region. Its focus on the cross-border challenges of migration, disease, trade, water, and human trafficking provides a comprehensive argument for governments, civil societies, and even the private sector to contribute solving a crop of new cross-border challenges. What makes this volume compelling is its link to the structures of governance through which these players can play a useful role.”
—James H. Spencer, Associate Professor, Urban Planning / Political Science University of Hawai’i at Manoa

“Despite many predictions to the contrary, the countries of Asia are becoming ever more cooperative as their interdependence increases. Contributors to this timely volume provide in-depth analyses of the formal and informal mechanisms of Asian governance that are now dealing with a diversity of cross-border problems: migration, infectious disease, water management, trade and human trafficking. The book will be a welcome and insightful read for anyone interested in how globalization is actually playing out across Asia.”
—T.J. Pempel, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

G. Shabbir Cheema is Director, Asia-Pacific Governance and Democracy Initiative (AGDI) and Senior Fellow, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Christopher A. McNally is a Fellow at the East-West Center. Vesselin Popovski is Senior Academic Programme Officer and Head of Section “Peace and Security”, Institute for Sustainability and Peace at the United Nations University, Tokyo.

Table of contents

  • Cross-border governance in Asia: An introduction, G. Shabbir Cheema
  • Governance and institutional issues in migration in Asia, Graeme Hugo
  • Cross-border health cooperation in complicated regions: The case of the Mekong Basin
  • Cross-border water governance in Asia, Mike Douglass
  • Trade promotion in Asia: Issues and emerging trends, Taeho Bark
  • Human trafficking and human rights in Asia: Trends, issues and challenges, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Synopsis: Cross-border governance and the challenges of globalization, Christopher A. McNally