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Project description


Since the end of the Cold War, international organizations and states have developed programs to promote (good) governance in third countries. Regional organizations also have received a broad mandate allowing them to actively promote the development of legitimate governance institutions in their member states and third countries. Thereby, they may not only foster the evolution of regional but also induce the transformation of national order.

The project “Governance Export by Regional Organizations” investigates the transfer of governance institutions by regional organizations in and to areas of limited statehood. In a first step, we map the objectives, approaches and instruments these external actors use to promote the creation and transformation of legitimate governance institutions in target countries. Do regional organizations demand and promote similar criteria for ‘good’ governance institutions, or do regional and local practices prevail? Our final goal is to account for similarities and differences within and between regional organizations and gain first insights into the effectiveness and legitimacy of regional governance transfer.

In order to answer these questions, we analyze nine regional organizations with the help of experts:

Regional Organization Expert Institution
African Union (AU) Julia Leininger German Development Institute
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Christof Hartmann Universität Duisburg-Essen
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Merran Hulse, Anna van der Vleuten Radboud University Nijmegen
Mercado Común del Sur (Merocsur) Andrea Ribeiro-Hoffmann Universität Erfurt
Andean Community (CAN) Osvaldo Saldías Freie Universität Berlin
Nordamerikanisches Freihandelsabkommen (NAFTA) Francesco Duina Bates College
Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Anja Jetschke Universität Freiburg
League of Arab States (LAS) Vera van Hüllen Freie Universität Berlin
European Union (EU) Carina Breschke Freie Universität Berlin

Preliminary findings indicate a global trend towards the active transfer of governance institutions by regional organizations. However, looking more closely, regional organizations prescribe different standards and use different instruments to promote them more or less actively. While the content of standards set by ASEAN, for example, remain vague, ECOWAS has very strict and binding criteria for legitimate governance institutions in its member states. Through election observation missions, the suspension of membership, and even military intervention ECOWAS aims at enforcing these standards.

Next to mapping the governance export of major regional organization across the globe, the B2 project also seeks to determine the extent and conditions under which regional organizations are willing, capable, and successful in inducing change of governance institutions in their member states.