This article was originally published here
Polit Geogr. March 2022 22:102646. doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2022.102646. Online ahead of print.
COVID-19 has altered the permeability of borders in transboundary environmental governance regimes. While borders have always been selectively permeable, the pandemic has reconfigured the nature of cross-border flows of people, natural resources, finance and technology. This has changed the availability of spaces for the implementation of sustainability initiatives within and between countries. In Southeast Asia, national governments and businesses seeking to accelerate economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession have selectively reopened borders by accelerating production and revitalizing agricultural export growth. Worsening regional inequalities have also contributed to increased cross-border flows of illicit goods, such as wildlife trafficking. At the same time, border restrictions as part of pandemic control requirements have led to a rollback and reduction of cross-border environmental agreements, regulations and programs, with important implications for environmental democracy, socio-ecological justice and durability. Drawing on data from Southeast Asia, the article assesses the policy challenges and opportunities posed by the changing permeability of borders for organizing and operationalizing environmental activities at different scales of cross-border governance.