Synergy and Contradiction in the Global Regulation of Trade, Development and the Environment

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW1.1.01 (Tower One)
Lars Niklasson, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Are the ambitions of trade policy, environmental policy and economic development policy (“aid”) compatible or conflictual? This is the basic question in relation to a large number of international initiatives and strategies which aim to integrate these three policy areas. Organizations like the UN and the EU stand behind some of these initiatives. The highest profile document is the concluding document of the latest Rio-conference, known as “Rio+20”.

The purpose of my paper is to begin a discussion of overlapping policies (institutions, regulatory frameworks), where they lead and (later) why they are chosen. I want to contribute to theories about “policy integration” through a comparison of several related literatures and an analysis of the causal relations stated and implied in the Rio+20 document.

One set of literature analyses conflicts in the design and implementation of regulation at the global level, as well as collaboration to overcome these conflicts. They use concepts like “institutional integration”, “joined-up government” and “transgovernmental networks”. An example is Oberthür & Stokke (eds): Managing institutional complexity, 2011.

Another type of literature analyses the competition and step-by-step development of global policies (institutions, regulation) at the large conferences organized by the UN , focusing on the interaction of ideas and development of vague and/or contradictory concepts which almost everyone can agree on (sustainable development, green economy etc). An example is Steven Bernstein: The compromise of liberal environmentalism (2001).

I will use these literatures to reconstruct a so-called program theory of how the policies are designed to achieve their goals (or not!). A valuable contribution of a program theory is to point out hidden assumptions in the causal mechanisms. Synergies and contradictions should become more obvious.