Behind the Scenes: Mapping the Role of Treaty Secretariats in International Environmental Policy-Making (ENVIPA)

The project explores how and to what extent international public administrations (IPAs) interact with political and non-political actors of various levels during and in-between major international conferences.

The project seeks to identify to what extent and under which conditions convention secretariats can act as partially autonomous actors. By exploring the mechanisms that enhance an administrative actor’s ability to communicate and interact with policy-makers, the project contributes to a better understanding of the working of IPAs at the intersection of public administration and world politics.

Theoretically, the project draws on hypotheses and concepts developed in accounts of IPA activity rooted in principal-agent theory, sociological institutionalism, and organisational theory. Our study will put assumed causal mechanisms to an empirical test and thus contribute to further theory building. From a methodological point of view, the project seeks to develop a new approach to measure the interaction between different actors at the international level. By using Social Network Analysis (SNA) as our main methodological approach, we go beyond previous research in this area. Data for social network analysis will be gathered with respect to two multilateral treaties by implementing egocentric SNA. In order to achieve the highest possible accuracy, we will develop a multi-tiered approach, drawing not only on measures of SNA, but also on hierarchical cluster analysis of the matrix of Euclidean and correlational distance measures, fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), regression analysis, and analysis of Twitter data. We expect our findings to allow for a more detailed and comprehensive mapping of the complex actor networks in selected areas of global environmental policy-making.

This project is affiliated with the Earth System Governance Project.

Dr. Helge Jörgens Project Co-head
Prof. Dr. Nina Kolleck Project Co-head
Dr. Barbara Saerbeck Researcher
Mareike Well Researcher