What is the added value of coordination?:an institutional analysis of the United Nations' response to national and regional coordination of human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion

by Miller, Rebecca Janine

Abstract (Summary)
Since the 1990s, complex global problems such as HIV/AIDS, humanitarian crises, environmental degradation, and human trafficking have presented challenges at scales that transcend the nation-state as a focus for development initiatives. These challenges, in concert with the emergence of new public management rationalities and good governance discourses, have altered the mandates and capacities of different development agencies from NGOs to governments and United Nations (UN) agencies. The UN has the potential to become a leader for coordinated responses, which are seen as a prerequisite for resolving these issues. However, the marketisation and fragmentation of the development field has engendered an environment fraught with complexity, instability, and heightened competitiveness over scarce resources. The problematic nature of coordinating the activities of stakeholders in such an environment is not well understood. Effective coordination must marry ideals of cooperation to the different and often competing interests of stakeholders and to field-based development practices structured along marketised and disaggregated lines. In this thesis I explore what is meant by coordination, how it is being institutionalised, and what can be done to make initiatives more effective. This thesis examines the institutional arrangements devised to coordinate the practices of agencies working to combat human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion. It analyses the institutional forms themselves and the practices that have emerged from them. Using an ethnographic institutional approach, I focus on the workings of a UN Inter-Agency Project (UNIAP) designed to facilitate a coordinated response to human trafficking. My research draws on over 70 interviews with practitioners and government representatives from six countries, as well as close examination of project documents. To analyse this material and the institutional contexts in which they are embedded, I draw upon strands of new institutionalism and the conceptual tools of Pierre Bourdieu. I argue that the structure of the development field itself is not conducive to coordination. However, realising the potential that does exist will require that consultative platforms be built more on incentives (accumulation and exchange of resources) than on trust, equal participation, and neutral power relations. The findings suggest moving beyond the processes of market exchange toward a more realistic appraisal of hierarchies, markets, and networks as modes of governance and coordination.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:David Craig; Nick Lewis

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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