The Effects of Transnational Partnerships on the Implementation Of global Marine Policy
The architecture of global governance has undergone significant changes in recent decades. Extensive research demonstrates that non-state actors, such as international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), business associations, transnational companies, and consultancies, are not only participating and shaping policy-making within international organizations, but also increasingly creating new collaborative arrangements in order to address a multitude of environmental and societal challenges. Such arrangements include public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships created by governmental agencies, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-state actors, as well as political alliances, coalitions and private transnational regulatory organizations created by different kinds of non-state actors. The role of transnational partnerships has also gained significant attention by the research community. Previous studies have added to our knowledge about different kinds of partnerships, by developing typologies of partnerships, functions and policy outputs, but we still know relatively little about these new collaborative arrangements and how they may shape the implementation of global policy objectives.
This paper focuses specifically on the policy area associated with Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. This is a complex policy area that is truly transnational in nature, as fish stocks and the fishing operators transcends national borders, and since the institutional landscape dealing with IUU policy is highly fragmented and characterized by a multitude of global governance institutions as well as by both international and national legal frameworks. Eliminating IUU fishing is currently high on the international political agenda, being put forward both within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and formulated as a specific target to be achieved by 2020 in the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). In this context, the international community is increasingly promoting transnational partnerships, between public actors, the private sector and civil society, as way to mobilize and share resources, expertise, and capacities, and ultimately, as a strategy to implement the SDGs. However, despite these increasing calls for transnational partnerships, we still know little about they may shape the implementation of global policy goals like the SDGs.
In this study, I propose that in order to better understand the effects of transnational partnerships, is it important to first understand their behavior and address questions like, what strategies do transnational partnerships use, and through which pathways do transnational partnerships attempt to shape implementation of IUU policies? The paper aims to address these questions by constructing a theoretical framework that combines insights from the interest groups literature and the literature on the role and agency of INGOs in global governance. The paper uses original data collected through semi-structured interviews with representatives of 12 transnational partnerships in global IUU policy-making. Partnerships were identified using existing case study literature and lists of participants in international organizations addressing IUU fishing, and then corroborated with 5 experts in global IUU policy-making, from academia, IGOs, INGOs and the fishing industry. This paper end by discussing its contributes to the literature on global environmental governance and the emergence of new collaborative arrangements beyond the state, to the interest group literature by applying theoretical expectation in a global context, as well as to the ongoing discussion about the role of partnerships for implementing the SDGs.