from commission's secretary

Secretary: Prof. Walter Leimgruber, walter.leimgruber@unifr.ch

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2021/5

Bridging Regional Responses to Marginalization and Disparities in a Globalized World

The annual Commission conference had been postponed from 2020 to 2021 and was held online via Zoom on August 9 and 10. Head of the organizing committee was Prof. Raularian Rusu, his local team included Prof. Titus Man, Dr. Ana-Maria Pop, Dr. Lelia Papp and Dr. Gheorghe Hognogi, all of Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

Considering the special situation (the COVID-19 pandemic), the conference opened with a panel session focusing on marginality issues provoked by the pandemic. In was introduced by three papers, followed by a lively discussion on problems related to the pandemic.

Afterwards, an additional 16 papers on a variety of topics were presented in five session (see programme below), three on Monday and two on Tuesday. The conference was attended by around 20 persons.

The first day ended with a music show by our member and former chair, Prof. Steve Déry, who demonstrated his talent as a singer, texter and composer. The first part comprised his own creations (essentially in French), in the second part he performed classic songs and evergreens as far back as the 1960s, in both English and French.

The conference ended with a business meeting on Tuesday afternoon, which included both a record of past achievements and an outlook on our future activities.


Panel: The global impact of COVID-19 pandemic and local responses

Etienne Nel

Exacerbating marginalization: COVID-19’s impact on peripheral, tourism- dependent regions in New Zealand and local responses

Dolores Sánchez-Aguilera, Ángela Martínez-Rivas, Jaime Martínez-Ruiz

Pandemic as a driver of marginality in the heart of the city. New dynamics in the Ramblas in Barcelona (Spain)

Paulo Nossa, Anabela Mota-Pinto, Julio Masquete, Alice Freia, Fernanda Cravidão

A geographical reading of the diffusion of covid19 from hyperconnectivity territories and the way they impact marginal regions: the case of Lichinga, Northern Mozambique

Paper session 1: Opportunities and challenges in rural area

Toivo Muilu, Olli Voutilainen

Rural proofing as a method and practice – experiences from Finland

Chhabi Lal Chidi

Population dynamics and agricultural land abandonment in the mountains and the hills of Nepal

Lelia Papp, Ana-Maria Pop

Turning constraints into opportunities: farming activities and labelling agricultural and food products in the Romanian mountain area

Paper session 2: Gendered and cultural inequalities and vulnerabilities

Marinela Istrate, Andreea Fedor, Corneliu Iaţu

European citizens’ perception of women’s involvement in political life. Evidence for Romania and other central and eastern European countries

Elena-Manuela Bîrsănuc

Gendered vulnerability to energy poverty in Romania

Hugo Capellà Miternique

Solitude: a lost voice in the desert

Paper session 3: Economic and social inequalities and disparities in the globalized world

Ibolya Török, József Benedek

Measuring the spatial dimension of income inequality: evidence from Romania

Steve Déry, Claudia Currado, Marcel Lefebvre, Weldy Saint-Fleur, Arnaud Vigouroux

Reduire les inegalites pour sauver la planete : par quel bout commencer ?

Ştefana Rotaru

Three Seas Initiative – between geography, economy and politics. The strategic importance of the U.S.’ engagement

Paper session 4: Land use management and change in marginal areas

Mohd Salleh Daim, Jamalunlaili Abdullah

Protected area as a source of livelihood: analysis on the perspectives of the local stakeholders to Taman Negara National Park (TNNP), Pahang, Malaysia

Andreea Costea, Ştefan Bilaşco

Evaluation of the risk induced by erosion on the land use. Case study: Guruslău depression

Uttam Sagar Shrestha

Population growth and land use change in the Tamakoshi river basin of central mountain region, Nepal

Paper session 5: Ways out of marginality. Accessibility, mobility and urban development

Walter Leimgruber

“I knew early on I wanted to be a plumber. And it worked out.” Education as a way out of marginality

Raularian Rusu, Titus-Cristian Man, Ciprian-Sandu Moldovan, Bogdan-Eugen Dolean

Accessibility and marginality of settlements in Cluj county (Romania)

Ciprian-Sandu Moldovan, Raularian Rusu, Titus-Cristian Man, Elena-Manuela Bîrsănuc, Iulia Hărănguş, Bogdan-Eugen Dolean

Towards smart transportation. Mobility and urban development in Cluj metropolitan area

Cosmina-Daniela Ursu

The evolution of impervious surfaces based on Copernicus high resolution layers. Case study: growth poles and their metropolitan areas, Romania

Business meeting of August 10, 2021


· Publication matters

· Conferences

· Any other business


· Information was given as to our publication schedule. Volume 7, edited by Pushkar Pradhan & Walter Leimgruber, includes chapters based on the 2019 Kathmandu conference. The volume is in preparation and should be ready this year. Volume 8 will be dedicated to the COVID-19 issues (as suggested by the publishers); there are currently 11 chapters waiting, more will come from the panel session during this conference and from the COVID-19 session at the IGC next week.

· The future of the IGU Centennial book is still uncertain. The sudden passing away of Prof. R.B. Singh (the designated editor) and discussions about the publishers delay the process.

· The presentations of this conference should be part of volume 9 of our series. Details will be discussed later.


· We have registered for a session at the special IGC in Paris, 2022 and are waiting for a reply. Preceding this, we shall meet for a pre-congress conference in Reims (France) where our colleague Céline Burger has agreed to host us. We all hope to be able to meet in person, not only for socializing but also for an exciting field trip.

· For 2023, we have a confirmed invitation to come together in Malaysia, where Proffs. Firuza Begham Binti Mustafa (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur) and Jamalunlaili Abdullah (UiTM Shah Alam) will host us.

· The next ‘official’ IGC will take place in Dublin, Ireland in 2024. The secretary will try to establish contact with a colleague in Ireland about the organization of a pre-congress conference.

· Prof. Raularian Rusu also proposed and invited to the next in vivo conference (hopefully) in Cluj-Napoca in 2024.

Other business

· It has been suggested that future Commission conferences should be held in hybrid form (in person and virtual) to open them to participants who for some reason cannnot travel

· Small seminars can be organized spontaneously by members in an online format. As to cost, the organizer should contact the secretary.

· SC members suggest to open some of their online lectures to the marginality commission, thus producing digital certificates for students and professors.

· Prof. Daichi Kohmoto’s proposal to create and manage a Facebook page of the Commission was welcomed. The page has already been created: https://www.facebook.com/GeographicalMarginality

· Prof. Raularian Rusu informs that the Zoom-platform, acquired for the virtual conference, can be used for seminars during the next 12 months as he has paid for it. Anybody who is interested should contact the secretary or the chair.

WL-BFB 10/08/2021

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2021/4

Passing away of the IGU General Secretary

Dear members,

The acting IGU General Secretary, Prof. R.B. Singh, has unexpectedly passed away on July 21, 2021 at the age of 66. Professor Singh taught at Delhi University in the fields of Environmental Geography and GIS applications. He was elected Vice-President of the IGU and, in 2018, took over the office of General Secretary.

In our Commission we remember him for having participated in the 1989 conference in Fribourg/Switzerland organized by the Subcommission on Development in Highlands and Nigh-Latitude Zones, and for having agreed to publish the papers of our Study Group 1994 Conference in Cesky Krumlow (Czech Republic). In 1994, he also organized a conference on disaster management in Delhi where several of our members participated.

May he rest in peace.

Kind regards

Walter Leimgruber

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2021/3

Passing away of the IGU General Secretary

The acting IGU General Secretary, Prof. R. B. Singh, has unexpectedly passed away on July 21, 2021 at the age of 66. Professor Singh taught at Delhi University in the fields of Environmental Geography and GIS applications. He was elected Vice-President of the IGU and, in 2018, took over the office of General Secretary.

In our Commission we remember him for having participated in the 1989 conference in Fribourg/Switzerland organized by the Subcommission on Development in Highlands and High-Latitude Zones, and for having agreed to publish the papers of our Study Group 1994 Conference in Cesky Krumlow (Czechia). In 1994, he also organized a conference on disaster management in Delhi where several of our members participated.

May he rest in peace.

Kind regards

Walter Leimgruber

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2021/2

Romania virtual conference, August 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over and an increasing number of people are suffering. It also slows down many activities. Although restrictions have been lifted or relaxed in some places, they are maintained or even reinforced in others – the future is unpredictable. We have been reflecting on our commission conference in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) that has been shifted from August 2020 to this year. The local organizing committee and the Commission steering committee have jointly decided to hold our conference as a virtual event on Zoom. The decision by the Istanbul organizers to hold the IGC online has made this decision easy.

Please note the following details, which can also be found on the conference website:

  • Conference Date August 9 and 10, 2021

  • Deadline to submit abstract or panel proposals 25 May 2021

  • Proposal notification (acceptance/rejection) 1 June 2021

  • Payment for conference fee upon acceptance

  • Registration fee deadline 15 June 2021

  • Full conference programme 1 July 2021

The registration fee has been fixed at 20€ (20 Euros), to be paid once your paper has been accepted.

More information can be obtained on the website https://georeg.conference.ubbcluj.ro.

It is a pity that we cannot meet in person and be able to discover an exciting region. The organizers had prepared field trips, but the current situation prevents us from making this experience.

Kind regards


Secretary: Prof. Walter Leimgruber, walter.leimgruber@unifr.ch

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2021/1

Extract from the IGU Annual Report 2020

IGU Virtual General Assembly (21st August 2020, 7:30-11:30 GMT)

The General Assembly was hosted on the Zoom platform and chaired by President Yukio Himiyama who presided over representatives from 37 IGU National Committees along with 20 or so other online delegates. A further 700 participants joined the General Assembly via the dedicated YouTube channel. The results of the previously held e-ballot for positions on the Executive Committee were announced as follows: Professor Michael Meadows (South Africa) was elected as President; Vice-Presidents Professor Nathalie Lemarchand (re- elected), Holly Barcus, Barbaros Gönençgil (reelected), and Professor Céline Rozenblat were confirmed as new members of the IGU ExecutiveCommittee.

Major items of business at the General Assembly included discussion on EC recommendations for continuation of IGU Commissions and Task Forces. All were confirmed to continue to 2024 with changes in identities of the chairpersons and steering committee members where this was required according to the IGU Statutes. Two new Commissions, Mountain Studies and Research Methods in Geography were established. Reports by the President Secretary-General and Acting Treasurer were all accepted by the assembly by concensus. Fulll membership of the Dominican Republic was approved and the re-application of Colombia was accepted pending clarification of their National Committee membership. A discussion on IGU priorities was followed by items relating to IGU relations with external bodies such as the International Science Council. There were votes of thanks to outgoing members of the Executive Committee, Past-President Vladimir Kolosov, Vice-Presidents Joos Droogleever-Fortuijn and comments by incoming new members who will serve office for the period 2020-24, viz. President Michael Meadows, and Vice-Presidents Holly Barcus and Céline Rozenblat.

The full report can be consulted from the IGU website:


Kind regards


NEWS – Flash Nr. 2020/6

Dear friends and colleagues,

COVID-19 is still around and wreaking havoc in the second wave. Everybody is waiting for the pandemic to end, but nobody knows when that will be. The IGU is optimistic and has announced a new deadline for the International Geographical Congress, scheduled in Istanbul for 16-20 August, 2021. The new Abstract deadline is January 11, 2021.

Our Commission has reserved one slot in the special COVID-19 session, called

Bridging in a Covidian World (of still Increasing Inequalities

Construire des ponts dans un monde covidien aux inegalites (toujours) croissantes

Your papers must clearly refer to the current pandemic, which should not be too difficult given that all aspects of life have been struck. Apart from reflecting on the current pandemic you can also look at the past or attempt to forecast the future (‘after’ the pandemic, without knowing when ‘after’ will be). Please let us know if you intend to present a paper and on what topic. Thank you.

I take this opportunity to invite you to send me details of your own publications to be diffused through our next newsletter. My address can be found below. Thank you.

The next Newsletter is under preparation and will arrive shortly.

Kind regards. Take care and stay healthy.

Walter Leimgruber


NEWS - Flash Nr. 2020/5

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope that you all get well through the current Covid-19 crisis and manage to survive under these difficult circumstances. Life has become challenging, at least on the material basis, but our intellectual capacities continue to flourish. To help you stay active, this NewsFlash is accompanied by two flyers that I received from our member Prof. Sarah Halvorson in Montana (USA). They invite you to hand in papers on the two topics of ‘conservation area management’ and ‘nature-based tourism’, to be published in the open access journal ‘Sustainability’. Please contact the guest editors Sarah and Keith directly; they are both members of our Commission.

I take this opportunity to invite you to send me details of your own publications to be diffused through our next newsletter My address can be found below. Thank you.

I wish you a good summer (northern hemisphere) or winter (southern hemisphere). Take care and stay healthy.

Kind regards

Walter Leimgruber


NEWS – Flash Nr. 2020/4

Romania conference postponed

Dear friends and colleagues,

As you may have heard, the Istanbul IGU Congress has been deferred to August 16-20, 2021, as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions.

This affects our planning as well. Our local organizer in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) had timed our annual conference for the week before the IGC. Since nobody can foretell when the current pandemic and all the restrictions that go along with it will end, the Steering Committee of our Commission has decided to do the same and hold the conference in the week preceding the IGC. The new date is therefore August 8 – 13, 2021. Further information will follow in the appropriate moment.

Thank you for taking notice. I am looking forward to seeing many of you next year under (hopefully) better circumstances.

Kind regards

Walter Leimgruber

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2020/3

Proposed Book on Covid-19 and Marginality

Dear Commission Members,

The publisher of our Commission Book Series, Springer, have approached us to see if we, as a commission, can develop an edited book focusing on Covid-19 and Marginality.

As editors we have met and feel that, while it might at this stage be too early to develop a formal proposal given the evolving situation, we do however feel that, in due course, a book should be written about how marginal areas have been impacted and responded. In addition, getting a true global perspective is ideal, given widely different national impact rates and national responses. Ultimately though our interest will be more in the impact and implications for marginal places and of local responses within nations (or between nations). Issues which may be worth exploring include:

  • demographic impacts

  • impacts on welfare and wellbeing

  • impacts on housing / food supply / employment etc.

  • impact of national and local policy changes and interventions

  • environmental impacts

  • local responses including volunteerism, new or alternate economic activity, networking (or the opposite)

  • society has adapted.

At this stage we are looking for expressions of interest from potential chapter contributors. It is too early to ask for formal proposals, but we would be interested to know if, in principle, you would like to submit a chapter, and if so what part of the world would it focus on and, as far as possible, what issues might you hope to discuss. Please contact one of us: bornafb@geog.pmf.unizg.hr; etienne.nel@otago.ac.nz; stanko.pelc@guest.arnes.si; walter.leimgruber@unifr.ch

Best Wishes

Borna, Etienne, Stanko & Walter

NEWS – Flash Nr. 2020/2

Annual conference 2020, Cluj-Napoca (Romania)

Dear members, friends and colleagues

Our next annual conference will take place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, August 9-14, organized by Professor Raularian Rusu and colleagues at Babeş-Bolyai University. I am happy to send you some information about registration and also attach the first circular.

The registration form will be available on the conference website (address on the circular). This website is currently under construction and should be operational from February 5 onwards. Please do not use it before, you might end up with a previous conference.

This promises to become another exciting conference week, and I am looking forward to meeting many of you in the Carpathian mountains.

Kind regards


NEWS – Flash Nr. 2020/1

Dear members,

In December we had a most successful conference in Kathmandu with an adventurous field trip to the Pokhara region, Sirubari (local homestay tourism initiative) and Bandipur. I am pleased to send you the report of this event, hoping that it encourages some of you to continue to support our work with papers and your presence.

The next newsletter will follow shortly, delayed because of the late date of our annual 2019 meeting.

Kind regards

Walter Leimgruber