Observing the landscape of Policy Advisory System: Trends and the fluctuating influences
On 12 th and 13 th of October, Department of Public Policy did hosted the international Workshop on the subject of “Policy Advice in the comparative practice: From Shaping Political Discourse to Policy Change in Transitional and Developing Countries”. The event was planned in the closest collaboration with the IPSA and under the direct supervision of Prof Michael Howlett, the internationally acclaimed author and the Burnabay Mountain Chair, Department of Political Science at Simon Frazer University, Canada. Prof. Michael Howlett’s engagement with the Department of Public Policy is quite a long one and he has been the prominent member of the academic council of Public Policy Department.
The beginning of the conference did with the opening remark by the academic supervisor of the program Prof Nina Belyaeva who did welcome the participants and did discuss on the increasing importance of the Policy Advice and Advisory Systems in different social and political models. The key proponent of the theory on this subject is of Prof Howlett and it was a great educational experience to listen the giant of the policy science elucidating the subject with such precise yet highly comprehensible manner by taking the theme of “The Politics of Expertise and Influence” in the advisory system. His highly educative discussion was followed after by our colleague of the department Prof Dmitry Zayetsev who had explained the subject with his highly detailed case study of Russia with the titled theme “Policy Advice in Russia in 1990s-2000s: From Shaping Political Discourse to Policy Change”. These papers went for a detailed discussion and was followed up by the paper presentation of Prof Belyaeva who did draw upon her decade long work on the subject of the “Think Tanks or Intellectual Communities? How Different Forms of Self-Organized Policy Analysts Adapt to a Changing Political Regime in the Russian Federation”.
Prof Belyaeva did note in her arguments an important cleavage has emerged between the Moscow-based ‘analytical elite’ belonging to stable and well-funded organizations and seeking to influence Federal-level policymaking, and their regional counterparts that serve the interests of local clients such as the regional governor’s office, business associations or political parties. Arnab Roy Chaudhary followed the discourse by bringing the international dimension to this subject with his theme namely “The Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Assessing the Roles of Intergovernmental Expert Organisations in Myanmar” discussing in detail the role overlap of the international advisory and support organizations dealing with the refugee issue.
Rob Manwaring from Flinders University, Australia did discuss about the new dynamics in the PAS and a new type of policy actor (the “thinker in residence”) to better understand the relational dynamics of a PAS and compare why some actors achieve greater impact than others. While Casper van de Berg (Leiden, Netherlands) drew upon the literature explaining about A gradually evolving policy advisory system in the Netherlands: externalization, politicization and the legacy of pillarization. Drawing on the different stages of the evolution of the PAS in the Netherlands, the paper did discuss the externalization and the politicization of the dynamics. Following that there were two India centric discussions first by Nihit Goyal from National University of Singapore who did touch upon the rich historicity of the Policy advisory institutions in India in his paper “Think Tanks and Policy Advice in India. What are they thinking? An exploratory study of think tank policy advice in economic, energy, and environment policy in India” explaining the increasing role of the experts in the policy formulation and in the influencing the discourse space while Sanjay Rajhans did present the comparative characteristics of the two different policy space namely India and Russia ” The Technological Community Impact on Policy Decisions in the Field of the Science and Technology Sector (Case of India and Russia)outlining and examining the trajectory of growth that is predicated by the different kind of policy implementation in Russia and India in a certain sector.
The second day of the event started by Prof Victor Albert who did speak about the multi-ranged space of the policy discussion space namely Ideologies,beliefs and power: lay and expert perspectives in participatory fora in Santo André, Brazil’ explaining further in the paper that state structures, and the moves of state-based actors, are rationalised, supported and critiqued, both by lay participants and from within the administration itself. Prof Caroline Schlaufer did touch on the issue of the international organziations and their shifting roles with her paper “The role of international organizations in policy advisory systems: technocratic, decisionist or pragmatic?” discussing in detail about the advice that needs to respond to political priorities at the international and national levels and consider public acceptance.
The paper was followed by Artem Uldanov did follow on the subject by : Urban transportation policies in Moscow and Beijing from 2010s: policy advice in an authoritarian environment”explaining further how policy advice in particular sphere public transportation, are working on practice in specific authoritarian environment and how experts could shape decision-making process in such circumstances. The last paper of the two day conference was read by Anastasia Rogacheva (National University of Singapore on the topic of “The Politics of expertise in the European Union: Applying Policy Advisory System approach.
At the end of this two day event the learning and research space on the PAS that is led by Prof Howlett and the adherents of his writings had assembled under one roof in HSE and had the distinctive opportunity to present their paper and cases before the leading scholars assembled from different parts of the world.