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Political Research Exchange

Improving Their Standing: How Regional Hegemons make use of Institutional Design

Presenter
Susanna Campbell
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Authors
Susanna Campbell
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Stephanie Hofmann
University of Geneva

Abstract
Are regional hegemons more effective when they use International Organizations or Regional Organizations to achieve their peacemaking and peacebuilding policies? What are the inherent tradeoffs in the institutional design of Regional and International Organizations, and what is the influence on peacemaking and peacebuilding outcomes? This paper explores these questions through case studies of Brazil and South Africa. In the last decade, Brazil has dedicated significant political and financial resources to the UN System’s peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts, while South Africa has focused on building the capacity of the African Union and SADC to maintain regional peace and security. These two countries have made different strategic choices about how to use the potential institutional alliances available to them. How does the design of these institutions affect these emerging powers’ peacemaking and peacebuilding outcomes? And, how will South Africa’s and Brazil’s decisions to strengthen regional versus international institutions, in turn, influence the design and effectiveness of these institutions? For example, South Africa’s and Brazil’s choice to focus peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts on regional versus international institutions, respectively, may have a counterintuitive impact on their relationship with Northern hegemons. Even though South Africa concentrates on regional organizations, it is very open to discussions and knowledge transfer with Northern countries that could provide desperately needed expertise and hardware. Brazil, on the other hand, participates most actively in the UN, but uses this multilateral platform to push its own political agenda, resulting in an antagonistic relationship with many Northern states.
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