To Harmonize or Not to Harmonize? The Case of Cross-national Biotechnology Governance in Southern Africa
AbstractThis paper is based on a study which investigated both existing and new regulatory responses to food emergencies and bigger challenges presented by modern gene-based biotechnologies. In particular, this paper looks at the challenge of cross-national cooperation in regulation of these technologies in southern Africa. One response to this challenge which has dominated policy agendas in the region for a long time, and with more prominence after the 2002-2003 food emergency, is that of harmonization of national biosafety regulatory systems. Harmonisation is touted by its promoters as one way in which countries can buttress weaker national and sub-national regulatory capacities, and develop synergies that will place them in a strong position to deal with the dynamic challenges presented by modern biotechnologies. The desire for cross-national cooperation in biotechnology management was investigated from the broader perspective of policy convergence, with harmonization being but one of the mechanisms towards the policy convergence. A number of factors facilitating or inhibiting policy convergence were identified, including but not limited to cultural, institutional, socio-economic and policy community attributes. The paper concludes that an understanding of these factors is crucial if grounded empirical and theoretical proposals on cross-national policy convergence are to be advanced.
BENNETT, C. J. (1991). What is policy convergence and what causes it? British Journal of Political Science, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 215 - 223.
BIRNER, R. and Linacre, N. (2008). Regional biotechnology regulations: Design options and implications for good governance, International Food Policy Research Institute Discussion Paper 00753.
BORUP, M., Brown, N., Konrad, K. and Van Lente, H. (2006). The sociology of expectations in science and technology, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, vol., 18, nos. 3-4, pp. 285 - 298.
BOTCHEVA L. and Martin L. L. (2001). Institutional effects on state behaviour: convergence and divergence, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 45, pp. 1- 26.
BUSCH, P-O. and Jorgens, H. (2005). The international sources of policy convergence: explaining the spread of environmental policy innovations. Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 860 - 884.
CLARK, N., Mugabe, J. and Smith J. (2005).Governing agricultural biotechnology in Africa: Building public confidence and capacity for policy-making. African Centre for Technology Studies Press, Nairobi, Kenya.
CONSIDINE, M. (2005). Making public policy. Polity Press, Cambridge (UK) and Malden (USA).
DIMAGGIO, P. J. and Powell, W. W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organisational fields. American Sociological Review, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 147 - 160.
DREZNER, D.W. (2001). Globalisation and policy convergence. The International Studies Review, vol. 3, no.1, pp. 53 - 78.
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (2006). Assessing regional integration in Africa II: Rationalising Regional Economic Communities. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and African Union.
EVANS, M. and Davies, J. (1999). Understanding Policy Transfer: A Multi-level, Multi-disciplinary perspective, Public Administration, vol. 77, no 2, pp. 361 - 385.
GERTLER, M.S. (2001). Best practice? Geography, learning and the institutional limits to strong convergence. Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 1, pp. 5 - 26.
HAAS, P. M. (1992). Introduction: epistemic communities and international policy coordination, Interrnational Organisation, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 1- 35.
HASENCLEVER, A., Mayer, P. and Rittberger, V. (2000). Integrating theories of international regimes. Review of International Studies, vol. 26, pp. 3 - 33.
HERRICK, C. (2008). The Southern African Famine and Genetically Modified Food Aid: The Ramifications for the United States and European Union's Trade War, Review of Radical Political Economics, Volume 40, No. 1, Winter 2008, 50-66
HILGARTNER, S. and Bosk, C. L. (1988). The rise and fall of social problems: A public arenas model, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 94, no. 1, pp. 53 - 78.
LENSCHOW, A., Liefferink, D. and Veenman, S. (2005). When the birds sing. A framework for analysing domestic factors behind policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, vol.12, no. 5, pp. 797 - 816.
LEVY, D. A. (1997). Regulating digital broadcasting in Europe: The limits of policy convergence, Western Union Politics, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 24 - 32.
MAFA, A. (2004). Managing biotechnology in Zimbabwe; paper presented at a national stakeholders' workshop to present the Draft National Biotechnology Policy and National Biotechnology Management Authority Bill, Sheraton Hotel, Harare, December 9 - 10.
MILLER, G. and Dingwall, R. (eds.) (1997) Context and method in qualitative research, SAGE Publications, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi.
MOOLA, S. and Munnik, V. (2007). GMOs in Africa: food and agriculture, Status report 2007, African Centre for Biosafety.
MUGABE, J. (2001). Biotechnology and sustainable development in Africa: Towards regional consensus and common strategy, Paper prepared for the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology.
NEWMARK, A. J. (2002). An integrated approach to policy transfer and diffusion. The Review of Policy Research, Summer 2002, vol.19, no. 2, pp.151 - 178.
OMAMO, S.W. and von Grebmer, K. (eds). Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Security in Southern Africa, Washington DC and Harare: IFPRI and FANRPAN, 2005.
PANOS REPORT (2005). The GM debate - Who decides?An analysis of decision-making about genetically modified crops in developing countries, Report No. 49, Panos, London.
RADAELLI, C. M. (2000). Policy transfer in the European Union: institutional isomorphism as a source of legitimacy. Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, vol. 13, no.1, pp. 25 - 43.
ROSE, R. (1991). What is lesson drawing? Journal of Public Policy, vol.11, pp. 3 - 30.
ROTHSTEIN, H., Huber, M. and Gaskell, G. (2006). A theory of risk colonisation: the spiralling regulatory logics of societal and institutional risks, Economy and Society, vol. 35, no.1, pp. 91 - 112.
STONE, D. (2000). Learning Lessons, Policy Transfer and the International Diffusion of Policy Ideas, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, Working Paper No 69/01, The University of Warwick.
USHEWOKUNZE-OBATOLU, U. (2005). Biosafety policy: in Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Security in Southern Africa; eds. Omamo, SW and von Grebmer, K (2005). IFPRI and FANRPAN, Washington and Harare.
WILSON, G. (2007). Knowledge, innovation and reinventing technical assistance for development, Progress in Development Studies, 7, 3, pp. 183-99.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).