T06P09 - “Learning from Abroad” and Policy Implementation: Actors, Processes and Effects

Topic : Policy Implementation

Panel Chair : Federica Infantino - federica.infantino@ulb.ac.be

Panel Second Chair : Tobias Eule - tobias.eule@oefre.unibe.ch

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Call for papers

Session 1


Federica Infantino - federica.infantino@ulb.ac.be - University of Oxford/Université Libre de Bruxelles - Belgium

Citizen co-production in the development of Uganda’s emerging urban centres: exploring local administrative practices in the implementation of a Cities Alliance Country Programme

Eva Schindler - eva.schindler@uni-potsdam.de - University of Potsdam

Informal settlements are wicked problems for sub-Saharan Africa’s emerging urban centres. Their challenges are multidimensional, spanning from questions about tenure security and land ownership to a lack of even the most basic services such as water and sanitation. The multitude of problem dimensions makes them complex policy problems. When addressing informal settlements, actors are faced with ambiguity in the goals of different stakeholders and consequently with contested solutions.


These challenges are not new. The international development community has worked on them for decades and co-operative approaches have long formed an important part of the international agenda on urban development. Participation and multi-stakeholder partnerships are promoted by donors as a means to strengthen institutional capacities, achieve inclusive decision-making and mobilise citizens for co-production. In 2016, UN Habitat’s New Urban Agenda set inclusive urban governance and co-production as a goal for international urban development activities in the upcoming 20 years. These type of interventions have, however, been notoriously difficult to implement.


My dissertation project contends that the importance of the local state in these programmes has been underexposed in the literature. It thus approaches participation in urban governance from the perspective of the local bureaucracy, arguing that it is important to understand how the globally coined concept of co-production travels to the local level in countries of the global south and becomes translated by local bureaucrats to fit the context. Building on Czarniawska and Sevón’s theory of translation (Czarniawska and Sevón, 1996, 2005) and Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan’s concept of practical norms (Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan, 2014), the dissertation study seeks to understand the context-specific meanings attached to slum dweller participation and co-production in urban development and to explore the translation of these ideas from policy to everyday practice.


The proposed paper will take the Cities Alliance programme “Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU)” as a case study. TSUPU aims at collaboratively managing urban growth and formulating inclusive urban development policies that benefit the poor. Among the programme’s instruments to ensure the participation of citizens in programme implementation are local platforms – called Municipal Development Forums (MDFs) – where urban poor organisations, local government, and other stakeholders meet regularly to exchange views, debate priorities and agree on common actions. The paper will specifically address the following questions:

1.       How are ideas of participation and co-production in urban development understood in local administrations in Uganda?

2.       Which translations of externally induced programmes into everyday practices can be observed?    


Taking a constructivist-interpretive perspective and drawing on the methodological toolkit of organisational ethnography, the paper will present a first analysis of empirical data collected in three months of fieldwork, conducted from January to April 2017. The observation of everyday practices of implementation of the Municipal Development Forums as well as of the interaction between members of the MDFs and local administrations serves as the main method of data generation, complemented by interviews.

The transfer of careful urban renewal from Berlin to Yangzhou: learning from abroad and its challenges

Giulia Romano - giulia.romano@sciencespo.fr - Sciences Po - Paris - France

This paper, based on a doctoral research focused on the transfer of “careful urban renewal” to the city of Yangzhou (China), proposes an overview of this case through looking into the process of transfer and adaptation of this model. Developed in Berlin in the 1970s-1980s, careful urban renewal stresses on the importance of preserving the existing urban structures, the relationship within the neighbourhoods, and the existing uses of space as a means to promote a socially- and environmentally-oriented renewal of the inner city. This model was proposed to the city of Yangzhou in the early 2000s by the German cooperation agency GTZ (now GIZ). In this paper, we address the local process of translation, focusing on the actors involved in this process and on their day-to-day work to adapt and implement careful urban renewal in the local context (namely, how is the foreign model translated and adapted locally? Who are the main actors of transfer and what are their sociological characteristics? What are the main factors impacting on the local process of transfer?). This focus evidences, on one side, the importance of the foreign cooperation agency in promoting the transfer of the model, acting as a “network organisation” (Metcalfe 1976). This organisation supported Yangzhou government in conducting a thorough analysis of the local situation, in proposing policy alternatives, as well as in fostering the cooperation of the various actors/departments of the local administration involved in the field of urban renewal. On the other side, such focus on the local process of adaptation underlines the importance of the local context in defining the outcomes of transfer. In particular, formal and informal institutions play an important role in facilitating or hindering adaptation. In the case of Yangzhou, these institutions blocked the implementation of the new model of urban renewal that emerged from the adaptation of careful urban renewal, limiting the capacities of the local administration to promote the implementation of the new model and continue learning from its experimentation.


This paper, which broadly aims at shedding light on the transfer and adaptation of foreign models of sustainable urban development in the context of urban China, tries to answer to a series of questions raised by this panel. Through reporting the experience of Yangzhou in the transfer and adaptation of careful urban renewal, it focuses on the actors involved in this process, on the process itself, on the effects of transfers and on the factors impacting on the same very process of transfer. These questions have been explored through a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews conducted in Yangzhou and in Berlin, as well as on the consultation of policy documents issued by Yangzhou administration and of documents prepared by GTZ. The enquiry aimed at recording the process of international cooperation as well as the local process of adaptation of careful urban renewal. The study was supported by a theoretical approach based on “actor-centred institutionalism” (Mayntz and Scharpf 2001; Crozier and Friedberg 1977) and on theories of organisational learning (Argyris 1976).

Policy Transfer through KSP: A Comparative Analysis of Policy Transfer Effects in Public Policy across Countries

Boram Hong - sophiahong85@gmail.com - College of Law, Seoul National University - Korea, (South) Republic of

Boram Hong - sophiahong85@gmail.com - College of Law, Seoul National University - Korea, (South) Republic of

   'Knowledge Sharing Program(KSP) of South Korea is a policy-oriented development cooperation program in which Korea shares its development experience to support the institutional and capacity building of partner countries through a series of collaborative research works, policy consultations, and technical assistance. KSP was launched on the year 2004 and 861 policy consultation has been conducted until 2015 for 55 countries.

   Policy transfer is a process of solving problems through learning and transferring policy cases in other countries in order to cope with the problems or issues faced by one country. In fact, most policy makers and actors try to avoid the risk of making policy decisions at low cost by referring to or analyzing successful policy cases in the past or in other countries, rather than solving them solely through their own analysis of the problem itself. In this perspective, KSP can be defined as a representative case of policy transfer.

   This paper examines actors, characteristics of the policy transfer phenomenon at implementation stage and policy effects at the process of policy transfer with cases of Vietnam, Cambodia and Uzbekistan among the countries that achieved policy enforcement and social development through KSP. In order to analyze, this paper conducted a comparative study of three countries and an analysis framework of the comparison was constructed based on the following criteria; main actors, evaluation variables in the policy transfer processes and the effectiveness and effects of policy transfer. The main actors in the process of policy transfer are researchers in policy exporting countries and local experts in policy importing countries. The evaluation variables in the policy transfer process include the effectiveness of demand survey, the effectiveness of local experts, the effectiveness of the KSP major procedures including the interim reporting workshop and policy seminars, the final report and the policy dialogue between high-level of two countries. The effectiveness of policy transfer is evaluated by the evaluation of consultation output, the degree of policy reflectance and policy reflection, the effect of reflection policy and the learning effect.

   As a result of the comparative analysis, it was found that the main actors are researchers of policy exporting countries, not local officials of policy importing countries. Wide variety of policy transfer forms featured in KSP. Policy transfer forms include transforming the previous policy case of policy exporting country, mix and accommodation, and only bring policy ideas from exporting country. As a result of analyzing the effects, it can be seen that the case of KSP policy transfer is quite successful. This is because policy-exporting country prepared well in order to understand the socio-economic and political context of policy-importing countries and it was not 'uniformed transfer' or 'inappropriate transfer'.


Keywords: Policy transfer, KSP, Policy Actors, Policy Process, KSP Effects


Urban Diplomacy

Mary Alice Haddad - mahaddad@wesleyan.edu - Wesleyan University - United States

This paper examines the role that policy exchange across municipalities in different countries plays in policy implementation at the local level.


Urban diplomacy—negotiations conducted by municipal-level officials across national boundaries—is on the rise across the world, but policy scholars have few tools with which to understand this rising phenomenon.  A google search for “mayor visit China” generates more than 17 million hits, and the more generic “mayor travel abroad” gets 34 million.  A brief glance at the top results of the first search shows that mayors from giant and tiny cities alike go abroad and come back with trade agreements, transportation plans, disaster management strategies, and joint medical research projects to name a few.  Some cities—large ones like Singapore and small ones like Kitakyushu in Japan—have even made city-to-city policymaking a focal point of their own economies, aiming to help other municipalities succeed by copying their successful models of development.  Municipal officials engaging in urban diplomacy are usually not acting alone; global organizations such as Metropolis, ICLEI, CityNet, Sister Cities International and others bring municipal-level officials from different countries together to share policy solutions to common urban problems.


These types of policy negotiations do not fit well into international relations scholarship, which tends to focus on nation-states rather than municipalities as units.  The new public administration literature does address these urban policy issues, but that literature focuses on domestic politics, concerned primarily with how urban policy fits into national policy frameworks rather than how it fits into international policy networks.


This paper aims to provide an empirical overview of urban diplomacy as it is practiced in the world today—its participants, scope, geographic distribution, and policy foci.  Furthermore, it seeks to begin developing some theoretical tools that we can use to understand why urban diplomacy is being utilized by some municipal officials, the conditions under which it is effective, and how it should fit into a broader understanding of policymaking and implementation.


To begin its inquiry, this study examines twelve cities in the two world’s two largest economies, the United States and China.  Using a matched case-study design, this paper will seek to uncover the ways that cities in the United States and China are using urban diplomacy and how it affects their local policymaking.  This paper examines three cities in the Unites States (small,  medium, and  large) that have engaged in urban diplomacy and three comparable cities (e.g., similar region, size, income, industry structure, etc.) that have not engaged in urban diplomacy.  Additionally, it selects three cities in China (small, medium, and large) that have engaged in urban diplomacy and three comparable cities that have not engaged urban diplomacy. 


By analyzing these twelve cities, this study will offer new empirical information about the ways that municipalities are utilizing international sources in their policy making processes.  Additionally, it aims to develop new theoretical tools that will enable scholars and policymakers to understand how global contexts are influencing local policymaking in the 21st century.

Traveling knowledge in Governing the Bangkok Khlong system

Wanida Aaltonen - w.aaltonen@ucl.ac.uk - University College London - United Kingdom

Daniel Hogendoorn - d.hogendoorn@ucl.ac.uk - University College London - United Kingdom

This study employed actor-network theory as theoretical framework to describe how actors (i.e. canal residents, government officers, NGOs, international knowledge networks, and public) react differently to environmental degradation and flood prevention of Bangkok’s canals system when encountering a number of flood events and polluted water quality. The aim is to examine the governance of environmental degradation and flood prevention management of Bangkok’s canals (or khlongs) system, matured through a set of extended global relations. Water governance in the Bangkok’s canals system concerns the relationship between human and non-human dimensions covering the natural, social, politics and economics aspects. These relations led to the transfer of concepts (or ways of categorising and formulating problems), and technology, such as radar-technology, flood forecasting methodologies, garbage-disposal machines and pumping systems. One point emphasised in Actor-Network-Theory, as applied to governance, is that networks describe how organisations assemble perceptions. Similarly, by tracing the tools and networks of around Bangkok’s canal system management, we get a view of the types of perceptions and inferences that are explicitly made for policies. The analysis carried out through the use of discourse analysis of interview-transcripts and documents. Interviews were held with designated organisations. Documents included investments and public events in relation to the implementation of canals’ environmental and flood protection programmes during the year 2011-2017, as such period covered the successions of Bangkok governors, Thailand’s prime ministers and Kings.


The findings compare the acquired tools and concepts (that allow local organisations managing the khlongs to formulate problems) with possible bottlenecks in the implementation phase, where disparate actors meet, but perhaps falling outside the view of these networked concepts and tools. This way, we may assess to what extent the environmental degradation and flood prevention management is due to a lack of science-driven and technocratic capacity, and to what extend it consists of issues that need to be addressed in other ways. Apart from the complications that commonly arise in implementation (e.g. the unintended consequences of the actions of other actors, and the diverging interests of such actors) the study examines, for example, whether ties to monarchical and religious concepts led to more successful implementation in practice. Carrying out a survey of tools, concepts and local practices should help formulate a sustainable pathway to improve tackling environmental degradation and flood prevention management.

Session 2


Federica Infantino - federica.infantino@ulb.ac.be - University of Oxford/Université Libre de Bruxelles - Belgium

Policy transfer and aid supported-administrative reform in developing countries: The Case of Western Balkans

Artan Karini - akarini@fulbrightmail.org - The American University (Cairo)/ Carleton University (Ottawa) - United States

Following the OECD-supported highlight events such as Paris Declaration (2005), Accra Agenda for Action (2008), Busan Partnership (2011) and as practitioners from donors and recipient countries prepare to launch the Mexico survey (2014), the recent shift in donor policy paradigms or, as referred to in the media as ‘the rise in development (rather than aid) effectiveness’ is being increasingly debated (Guardian 2013). Yet, the literature and academic circles are falling somewhat behind on such debate. Thus, there is certainly a very limited number of case studies looking into the role of ‘aid effectiveness’ institutions and mechanisms especially in the developing world. The purpose of this article is to explore the role of such institutions and mechanisms in the context of the Western Balkans. Drawing on some of the theoretical underpinnings surrounding the role of aid organizations in international policy transfer (Common 2001, Evans 2009) as well as the Europeanization theory (Hoffman 2005, Dimitrova 2006), it presents the results of a research study carried out by its author in the field intermittently during the period of 2009 to 2012. Even though the role of two specific organizations, the OSCE and the OECD in the aid coordination and effectiveness occupies a considerable part of the discussion, which includes the creation and operationalization of various 'aid effectiveness' institutions and mechanisms, the thrust of the article lies in empirical findings surrounding the intended (and unintended) effects of policy transfer through such institutions and mechanisms on the implementation of administrative reform as a key conditionality for EU accession and aid.


In addition, by specifically looking at the interaction of donors and public servants in administrative capacity building through policy learning, the paper will explore both the macro-, meso- and micro-levels of policy transfer through 'agency' and 'structure' as defined in the original conceptual framework (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996), specifically by looking at ‘donor-bureaucrat-contract’ networks. Essentially, the paper will argue that: a) the role of such networks as part global aid effectiveness mechanisms is predominantly concerned with EU accession rather than development processes; b) overreliance on such networks and more specifically NGOs might be conductive to the ‘acquis’ process but not necessarily to the success of donor-funded policy learning in the long run; c) the “powerful nature’ of such networks may have both affected donor behavior and ultimately resulted in non-occurrence of policy transfer in the given context.

El papel de Comité sobre la eliminación de discriminación contra la mujer en la implementación de políticas públicas dirigidas a las cuestiones de género: España ante decisiones CEDAW

ruth abril - rabril@uchceu.es - UCHCEU - Spain

The Convention of the Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the most widely ratified convention in history.The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the CEDAW.The Committee is mandated to help states to fulfill their obligations through: concluding observations (including observations and recommendations) to periodic reports of State Parties, decission to individual comunications against states and general recommendations on issues related to women rights.

As a consequence, we can assume that its influence on public policies should be very large.

On the other hand, as an international body, that guarantees the fulfilment of the convention in all countries around the world, we can boast that it will ask for the minimun standard of implementation of the obligations of this convention.

Finally, as there is a legal obligation to follow CEDAW provisions and a polítical commitment follow  all of the decissions taken by its committee, we can assume that States will take steps to improve women right as they are enshrined in CEDAW.

We will try to se if and how Spain follows this decissions. We will  seek to see if the decissions of this international body has any real impact in Spain public policies.

In order to be able to arrive to an answer we will study the reaction of spain to CEDAW decissions in which it is constated that Spain has violated any right of the convention. We will study also, the different reports presented by Spain to the Committee of the CEDAW trying to see if the previous concluding observations have had any impact in Spain public policies.


to sum up we will try to see:

- If this international body has any real impact in Spanish public policies towards gender issues.

-If and how this international body reflects and pushes the elimination of gender discrimination in Spain.

We will try to conclude:

If the answer can be translated to other states or if , on the contrary, it is due to an specific attitude of spanish authorities towards this decissions.


How does the division of labour shape policy implementation in local settings? A comparison between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) projects implementation in the Horn of Afri

Sabine Dini - sabine.dini@gmail.com - Université Paris 13 - France


This contribution analyses the mundane dimension of IOM policy implementation in the Horn of Africa based on 11 months of participant observation, between 2012 and 2013, in the East African micro-State of Djibouti,  as a civil servant, both in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


The IOM is an intergovernmental organization whose jurisdiction revolves around globally implementing migration management projects. It is a peerless example of a supra national institution, which operates on an extreme fragmentation of projects implemented in cooperation with a complex stratification of actors and institutions within partner host States. How does the organization manage to overcome the two main pitfalls that lie in wait? How does the organization manage to avoid both the incoherence due to the fragmentation of its action and its corollary the lack of jurisdictional legitimacy?


This contribution tackles the substantive dimension of the devolution of power from the host State to a supra national institution. It acknowledges the fact that the division of labor within the project implementation is the corner stone of coherent plurality and legitimacy for the International Mobility Regime. For the argument, the contribution builds on an ethnographic comparison between UNHCR and IOM opposite type of policy implementation at the local level. The contribution demonstrates that the division of labor based on the norm of national community- as it is in IOM- instead of being based on policy issues- as it is in UNHCR- veils the devolution of power from the host State to the supra national institution while generating a sense of coherence and a legitimacy to the greater public.  This general process thus decreases the power of the central State and fosters the power of a few individual State actors. It conveys a general sense of legitimacy to IOM’s action and designs a feature of sovereignty-based action widely appreciated by the host State ‘s actors. Conversely, UNHCR’s action based on policy issues and associated with ethical and universal goals leads to a general distrust and gladiatorial relationship with the host State’s actors and the general population.


The contribution will present two ideal typical divisions of labor within both institutions: the first one based on universal policy issues and the second one based on a national-cultural identity perspective. Is then described how the form of division of labor builds the local actors’ subjectivity and how finally it impacts the cooperation process with the various actors involved.    

New Members and the Basel Committee: International Organisations, Improvements in Capacity and Institutions

Mehmet Kerem Coban - coban.kerem@gmail.com - LKYSPP, NUS - Singapore

This article explores the effect of membership to an international organisation on improvements in capacity-building and institutional infrastructure that regulates the relations between the independent banking regulatory agency and the banking sector in Turkey. In the international political economy, it is argued that globalisation results in either constraints on domestic sovereignty in the regulation of domestic actors (Cerny 1994) or enable States that adhere to the international standards transferred by international organisations to build better capacities and improve institutions (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996). The "obligated transfer" following the membership of Turkey to an "old" and "rigid" Basel Committee in 2009 (Dolowitz and Marsh 2000) is shown in this article to pose challenges on the policy capacity (Levi-Faur and Vigoda-Gadot 2006) of the country. On the other hand, the article argues that membership seems to have triggered dynamism in capacity-building and improvements in the institutional infrastructure in the public and private sectors. Therefore, the article shows the positive effect of membership to an international organisation on capacity-building and institutional development especially when the public and private sector share common preferences towards the transfer of regulatory standards which also shed light on the weaknesses in the institutional structure and policy capacity and where the international organisation has a legitimate role and mandate in a given policy area.

How do state and non-state actors influence the implementation of national forest moratorium in East Kalimantan, Indonesia?

Reonaldus Reonaldus - reonaldus.reonaldus@wur.nl - Wageningen University

In recent years, the Indonesian government actively launches national policies that highly influenced by global discourses particularly the discourse to balance the economic growth and environmental protection, for instance the Indonesian forest moratorium. Forest moratorium was issued in 2011 and aims to postpone the issuance of new licenses on primary forest and peatlands for two years. It has been extended two times in 2013 and in 2015. Forest moratorium is a follow up the Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Indonesian government and Norway to implement REDD+ programme in Indonesia.


However, implementation literature suggest the implementation process is a political process. It means state and non-state actors at the local level may follow or unfollow national policies depending on their interest, culture and discourses not only because of their lack of knowledge, capacity and budget. In light with that context, this study aims to explore how state and non-state actors from different level (national, provincial and local level) influence the implementation of forest moratorium in East Kalimantan province.


The implementation process in East Kalimantan can be a complex political process. On the one hand, East Kalimantan economy still relies on natural resources and in the near future, this province planned to expand the palm oil plantation to three million acre in 2025. On the other hand, the provincial government committed to shifting the development paradigm toward low carbon development.


Using advocacy coalition framework, this study aims to answer following research questions:

1.      How does forest moratorium translate into specific provincial policy, programme, structure and other development plans?

2.      Who involve in the implementation process and what advocacy coalitions have emerged during the implementation process in East Kalimantan?

3.      What strategies do advocacy coalitions use to influence the implementation of forest moratorium in East Kalimantan?


This study applies an interpretative approach which positions human meaning-making at the centre of the inquiry. It investigates actors’ experiences and perspective in specific places and times. Moreover, data are generated through semi-structure interview and literature review. With the assistance of computer software Atlas ti, we applied content analysis to reduce the primary and secondary data by grouping them in certain categories, to search the pattern in those data categories, and to ask why those patterns are dominant.


This paper is with the topic, objective and focuses of the panel “Learning from Abroad” and Policy Implementation: Actors, Processes and Effects because of three reasons:

1.      The implementation of Indonesian forest moratorium is a good example representing the contested global-national-local knowledge, agenda and interest.  

2.      Using advocacy coalition framework, this paper will describe the agent of policy transfer and strategy in influencing the implementation process.

3.      This paper will present the effects of the complex political process in the form of local policy, programmes and other plans.


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