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

Topic : Policy Implementation

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

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

General Objectives, Research Questions and Scientific Relevance

Call for papers

Session 1

Friday, June 30th 08:15 to 10:15 (CJK 1 - 2)


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


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

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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).

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.


The role of the CEDAW Committee in the implementation of public policies on gender issues. Spain in the face of CEDAW Committee decisions: the case of young girls

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

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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.


Session 2

Friday, June 30th 10:30 to 12:30 (CJK 1 - 2)


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

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.    


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

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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.


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

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

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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

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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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