The 2. What is the mechanism of EC?
The Influence of Epistemic Communities on International Institutions 1. Definition •Network of professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain and an authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge within that domain or issue-area •Networks of knowledge-based expertsfrom a variety of disciplines and backgrounds •EC oShare a set of normative and principled beliefs, which provide a value-based rationale for social action of community members oShare casual beliefs: contributing to a central set of problems in their domain: desired outcomes oShared notions of validity A common policy enterprise Reason of existence •Growing technical uncertainties and complexities of problems of global concern > increasingly difficult •Decision makers need professionals on specific issues in order to provide them with information about the subject •Uncertainty: Information is needed to define state interests on one subject and define solutions Difference EC to Constructivism, Realism, Neoliberalism •Constructivism does not necessarily contradict realism and neoliberalism. It is more of a social theory that explains the actions of states and actors belonging to these states. While neoliberalism points out the importance of material interests in political interaction, constructivism sees the main significance of political interaction in shared ideas. •Constructivism tends to explain political actions.
All social actions emerge from social structures which can be reproduced and changed. These actions are motivated through values and norms. Constructivism claims to, in contrary to realism, be able to explain changes. Realism assumes that actions follow rational patterns. 2. What is the mechanism of EC? EC have exerted their influence on decision makers in a wide variety of issue-areas. •Helping states identify their interests, framing the issues for collective debate, proposing specific policies, and identifying salient points for negotiation.
•Information is product of human interpretations of social and physical phenomena •Control over knowledge and information is an important dimension of power •Generally called upon for advice under conditions of uncertainty, they have often proved to be significant actors in shaping patterns of international policy coordinationHow can EC gain influence? •In international policy coordination, the forms of uncertainty that tend to stimulate demands for information are those which arise from the strong dependence of states on each other’s policy choices for success in obtaining goals and those which involve multiple consequences of action •Major dynamics: oUncertainty oInterpretation oInstitutionalization •Members of transnational EC can influence state interests either by directly identifying for decision makers or by highlighting an issue from which the decision makers may then deduce their interests. Decision maker in one state may, in turn, influence the interests and state behavior of other states 3. Case study: The Mediterranean Action Plan •The Med Plan is an exemplary case of interstate cooperation. (collective goods problem, many countries) •Extensive pollution of the Mediterranean Sea as a result of intense coastal population pressures and largely unregulated industrial, municipal and agricultural emission practices. •Governments did not know the extent of the problem, nor the future impacts of the pollution.They turned to regional ecologists, marine scientists and the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) for information.
Epistemic community •-High-ranking UNEP officials and mid-level government officials from various countries formed an epistemic community, which acted as a lobbying group and believed that all governments should actively cooperate. •-By funding scientific research, regional scientists were supported by the UNEP to enhance their domestic prestige and strengthen their political base. When consulted, they provided the norms and principles of the Med Plan and led them to be more active internationally.
-In most of the countries environmental ministries were established and staffed by members of the ecological epistemic community. •The epistemic community formed foreign and domestic environmental policies. The highest support for the Med Plan came from the countries where the epistemic communities were the strongest. Impacts •-Algeria was strongly opposed to the Med Plan, they had put industrial development over environmental protection and they thought France wanted to weaken their economy by the plan.But they followed regional marine scientists, who were supported by the UNEP, and Algerian government interests were transformed. Because of the information gained, the government learned and changed their domestic and foreign policy. •-In France the influence of the epistemic community was limited.
The community members redirected the domestic planning policy. But the foreign environmental policy was only weak influenced, because of the strong foreign ministry in France. Further the UNEP did not want to work closely with France to not scare the LDCs. Low Developed Countries) •-In Libya, Syria and Morocco the epistemic community was unable to influence the government and hence the pollution control is much less than in the other countries. Conclusion =>> Three common explanations for convergent state policies: foreign pressure, public opinion and the rational anticipation of the future benefits. Case study showed, that a regime (UNEP) can not only be a stable form to order international behavior, but introduce and empower a new actor (epistemic community) to influence government behavior. Common principles and norms of the scientists formed the epistemic community, which gained omestic power by teaching the government which coordinated policies are necessary to reach their goals.
4. The Lomborg-Debate The Skeptical Environmentalist •Critic on mainstream opinion on climate change •Rates global warming down on the list of world priorities •environment is important and has to be protected, but there are non-environmental issues which might be more important for civilization •Bjorn Lomborg: environmental debate is only a Litany (about how bad the situation is), wrong numbers und rhetoric misguidance are used in order to make people mindful of environmental problems. Important to know the real state of the world: best possible information to make the best possible decisions •Is it normal that scientist push too hard in an issue in order to succeed in their concerns. •If environment is protected, it is not because of the environment owns that right, but people decidedthat environment worth it to be protected •“Politics that disregard science and knowledge will not stand the test of time.