An International Policy Dialogue aims at creating strategies for a sustainable future of humankind. A strong interrelation between environment and society results in the need for a global approach to meet common challenges of the future that affect society as a whole. The concept of International Policy Dialogue can be embedded in the context of a bio political approach which is compatible with specific demands of a globalized world where geographical borders lose significance. Especially for problems related to Climate Change it becomes evident that former political, geographical and technical approaches are insufficient to find solutions. It is this current globalized context that asks for new ways to connect nations, markets and civil society to be able to bridge the gaps created by an ever growing complexity. International Policy Dialogues is proposed as a method to find solutions for the problems affecting the world society.
In general international policy dialogues
- bring diverse interest groups to the table,
- focus on a regulatory, policy, or planning issue that is of common interest,
- seek to formulate practical solutions to complex problems.
policy dialogue [is] a way of working with partner countries to explore and implement policies that accelerate sustainable and equitable growth, improve the allocation of the entire budget, and enable a broad cross-section of stakeholders to engage in policymaking.
The two main characteristics of this definition are on the one hand the process of the dialogue and on the other hand its results. While OED’s understanding of dialogue puts emphasize on “working with partner countries”, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) regards the process of dialogue rather as a
mechanism to incorporate the interchange of ideas and information whereby either viewpoints or both can change to bridge the initial differences between the two.
Comparing the understanding of the result of the dialogue OED regards it as “acceleration growths” and USAID from the point of view of seeing
the aid recipient [coming] to view the policy advice as genuinely in the interest of its own economic progress.
Both have in common that the value of shared knowledge is a main aspect of the international policy dialogue in the sense that ideas from different perspectives and viewpoints are being communicated and exchanged. With regard to the value of International Policy Dialogue the United Nations Research Institute for Social Change (UNRISD) focuses at the fact that
Policy dialogue is defined as organized deliberation between two or more actors on the allocation of values that is likely to result in new policies or modification of existing ones.
Globalization, Environment and International Policy Dialogue
The idea of International Policy Dialogue is strongly related to the development of Globalization. To benefit from its positive effects open and innovative approaches are needed which include transnational and local actors and therefore meet the demands of mutual learning. Since policy defines the dimension of political content an international policy dialogue fosters the exchange of cross-sectoral (effective inclusion of civil society and economy) knowledge in an international context. Furthermore an approach across different levels is pursued, namely across local, national, regional and international level (multi-level approach). The motivation of an International Policy Dialogue is in times of globalization problems can only be solved in a collaborative way. Complexity forces new kinds of knowledge that may only be gained by an exchange, made possible by a dialogue that includes different international actors.
The problem of Climate Change shows most evidently the fact that due to the increasing interdependence a sustainable development of globalization is only possible by means of large-scale cooperation. In the last years many policy proposals have been made targeting at the question of how to deal with Climate Change and Global Warming but only few of them have had successful outcomes. It is therefore important to understand the impact of Climate Change to be able to develop policies being appropriate to it. It is important to note that the impact of Climate Change is not restricted to national borders but affects regions itself:
The attendant social and economic effects of global warming could well cancel out any "privileges" experienced by an advantageous location of societies and regions of the world. In as much as time and place may be relative, amelioration of the impact of climate change requires coordinated global action.
Climate Change, Water Management and International Policy Dialogue
Climate Change does have an extremely strong impact on natural resources such as water. Therefore the design of concepts for water management need to adapt to Climate Change. A very clear example presents the case of the MENA region because it is said to be the region in the world where water is most precious. Climate change in combination with additional socio-economic factors put pressure on the region to react on this development. Fundamental impacts to nature and society are caused and need to be dealt with. The cope with this threat to society an international and multilevel and -stakeholder approach is urgently needed. The MENA region, being constituted by different states, is affected as a whole on a large scale. Cooperation between different sectors is crucial to react appropriately to the challenges ahead.
International Policy Dialogue meets the requirements that future challenges demand, such as new approaches to problems that haven’t been existing before in the complexity that we are currently facing. The example of the threat of climate change on water management in the MENA region is a very clear phenomenon that shows that policies in this context need to respond to an international demand. The ACCWaM program of the German Agency of International Cooperation (GIZ) gives important insights into this problematic and approach.
Designing an International Policy Dialogue
Peter S. Adler form the Keystone Center developed 16 major factors that lead to a successful policy dialogue. Those factors can be applied to a policy dialogue in an international context since its basic principles meet the challenge of a dialogue itself
1. Exploratory Contacts. Preliminary calls or letters to knowledgeable individuals in the public, private, and civic sectors to examine the viability and timing of a dialogic approach to a specific issue.
2. Issue Framing. The development of a key policy, planning, or regulatory question, or set of questions, to which the dialogue will then seek to develop consensus answers.
3. Product Framing. An initial conceptualization of possible products, i.e., joint policy recommendations, delineation of issues and options, guidance to government, etc., and possible linkages to formal decision-making.
4. Concept Paper. The creation of a brief proposal and call for participation that is circulated to prospective participants and funders.
5. Financial Commitments. Multilateral pledges to help underwrite a dialogue and its associated costs.
6. Co-Conveners. For some projects, it is useful to identify and invite two respected and leading authorities to serve as "Co-Conveners." Conveners often come to the issue at hand with different histories and viewpoints but are committed to a search for common ground and the exploration of break-through solutions. They lend their name and intellectual leadership.
7. Representation. Ensuring that a broad spectrum of voices and viewpoints are invited to participate and that those invited are, as a condition of participation, committed to disciplined give-and-take discussions.
8. Work Plan. A detailed but flexible work plan that corresponds to the needs of the project and that outlines budget and timelines.
9. Venue. A meeting setting that is comfortable and business-like, usually with state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities if such is available. For some projects, it is useful to organize brief field trips to examine first hand a relevant on-the-ground example of the topic under discussion, i.e., an industrial plant, an eco-system, a meeting with regulators, etc.
10. Briefing Book. A notebook of background materials is compiled and given to participants in advance of the first meeting. Usually, the briefing book contains issue summaries, a multi-disciplinary history of the issue, position papers, summaries of pertinent research, and other materials that help ground and prepare participants for discussions.
11. Protocols. An initial set of ground rules which are negotiated at the first meeting (or prior) and which create common rules of engagement regarding project organization, group decision-making, participation by others, ground rules for media contacts and the use of data and technical information, and table manners.
12. Working Groups. Many dialogues often require smaller working groups and cross-sector teams that meet between plenary sessions. This allows more in-depth examination of specific sub-issues, contacts with wider audiences, and the development of proposals for the full group.
13. Use of Experts. Certain issues -- climate change, chemical weapons destruction, and watershed restoration -- may need a great deal offact-finding and technical information and, in some cases, new modeling or research roundups. It is useful to work with all participants to define and secure the level of information that is needed to work on the issue at hand, to identify acceptable independent experts when those are appropriate, and to help secure state-of-the-art information.
14. Individual Meetings. Policy dialogues typically span a number of months and, in a few cases, more than a year. Facilitators and co-conveners may need to spend a considerable amount of time talking with participants between meetings to ensure that information is being exchanged, commitments to do between-meeting work are being honored, and to help solve procedural, substantive, or relationship problems that may arise.
15. Reporting and Roll Out. Typically, most dialogues produce a set of recommendations, guidance to government, or a report on future directions. It is important that leaders play an active role in distributing such reports and ensuring the widest possible logical policy relevance and use. For example, diverse dialogue representatives may testify in front of Congress regarding consensus recommendations.
16. Feedback and Continuous Excellence. All dialogues are participant-driven, that is, the deliberation group sets the agenda, charts course corrections, and makes key decisions regarding the substance and process of the issue under discussion. However, it is crucial that co- conveners and/or facilitators solicit ongoing evaluation of the work, both during and after the life of a specific dialogue.
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stieglitz has found the “Initiative for Policy Dialogue” in 2000, which aims at initiating a policy dialogue on the main questions of international development:
The Initiative for Policy Dialogue works to broaden dialogue and explore trade-offs in development policy by bringing the best ideas in development to policymakers facing globalization’s complex challenges and opportunities. We strive to contribute to a more equitably governed world by democratizing the production and use of knowledge.
The WIEGO (Womenin Informal Employment – Globalization and Organization) has implemented a successful International Policy Dialogue in Ghana about Health Policy.
Policy Analysis Matrix
Review of Literature and International Practice in Policy Dialogue: http://www.ode.ausaid.gov.au/current_work/documents/review-policy-dialogue.pdf
Global Change Research in Germany 2011: in Germany 2011.pdf http://www.nkgcf.org/files/downloads/GC-Research in Germany 2011.pdf
International Policy Dialogue 2.0: http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/resources/models-and-software/podiumsim/
- ↑ USAID (1982).
- ↑ USAID (1982).
- ↑ UNRISD (1997).
- ↑ Stehr, et.al. (1992).
- ↑ http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/policy-dialogue
- ↑ Joseph Stieglitz et al. (2008), Capital Market Liberalization and Development (Initiative for Policy Dialogue), Oxford University Press, USA.
Michael Barzeley (2001), The New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue (Wildavsky Forum Series), University of California Press, California
Maryann K. Cusimano (2000), The Challenge to Institutions, in: dies. (edit.) Beyond Sovereignty. Issues for a Global Agenda (Boston/New York)
William D. Eggers & Paul Macmillan (2013), Harvard Business Review Press, Boston