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Policy Diffusion and Authority of International Organizations: the Case of the United Nations in the fight against AIDS

Olivier Nay
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
Olivier Nay
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
Open Panel

Abstract

This communication will focus on the circulation of policy ideas within the UN system. Based upon a study of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, it shows how international bureaucracies can capitalize on policy-oriented information and expert knowledge to strengthen their autonomy and consolidate their authority within their own environment. Using a policy transfer approach as its analytical framework, the communication will draw particular attention to the UNAIDS Secretariat, considered as a “transfer entrepreneur” who has demonstrated a capacity to collect, develop and disseminate policy ideas on the epidemic since its creation in 1996. It will suggest that the Secretariat has extended its authority within the UN system despite a restricted mandate and low resources. In conclusion, the paper points out the need to examine policy transfer among international organizations through actors, interests, and strategies, as a complement to holistic approaches.