Explaining continuity and change in international policies: issue linkage, venue change, and learning on policies for the river Scheldt estuary 1967 – 2005
Meijerink, S.V. (2008). Explaining continuity and change in international policies: issue linkage, venue change, and learning on policies for the river Scheldt estuary 1967 – 2005. Environ. Plann. A 40(4): 848-866. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1068/a3911
This paper aims to assess the explanatory power and to explore the compatibility of three major accounts of policy continuity and change in cross-border policy domains: negotiation analysis (NA), the advocacy coalition framework (ACF), and the punctuated-equilibrium (PE) framework. These frameworks are used to analyze policies for the river Scheldt estuary between 1967 and 2005. The estuary of the river Scheldt is situated partly in the Belgian region of Flanders and partly in the Netherlands. Major international policy issues in this estuary are the maritime access to the port of Antwerp, water and sediment pollution, and estuarine rehabilitation. It will be shown that the negotiations on these issues are characterized by complex issue linkages, and that NA does very well in explaining both deadlocks and international policy agreement. However, unlike the ACF, NA does not specify how actors come to define their interests. Moreover, we will argue that learning across the prodevelopment Antwerp coalition and the cross-border environmentalist coalition accounts for a gradual convergence of Dutch and Flemish perceived interests. Finally, PE offers useful complementary insights as Scheldt estuary policies cannot be understood without addressing the interrelations between the processes of negotiation, learning, the creation and enforcement of game rules, which have been going on in different venues simultaneously.
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