BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Pesticide risk regulation in two distinct policy subsystems: Investigating policy actors in Uganda and policy output in Costa Rica

Wiedemann, Ruth (2022). Pesticide risk regulation in two distinct policy subsystems: Investigating policy actors in Uganda and policy output in Costa Rica. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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Pesticide use and associated risks challenges transformations in the agri-food sector. First, pesticide use is associated with economic development and demographic growth as well as with negative effects on human health and the environment. Second, agricultural policy is a highly politicized policy subsystem including differing problem frames, interests as well as priorities, and a myriad of involved and affected stakeholders. To address this complex problem, pesticides need to be regulated at different points in their life cycle. To date, various international initiatives exist to address pesticide use, but on a national and regional level, pesticide regulation varies widely. To explain these regulatory differences, the literature proposes to investigate the policy process. This dissertation takes a step back and focuses on the policy subsystem to better grasp (the potential) for pesticide regulation within two distinct contexts. Using the policy subsystem perspective as a point of departure, the present dissertation examines decision-making related to pesticide regulation in a nascent subsystem (Uganda) and a mature subsystem (Costa Rica). This maturation-based approach promises to enhance our understanding of decision-making and of problem-solving drivers and barriers. Furthermore, by investigating pesticide regulation in nascent and mature agri-food subsystems, the dissertation contributes to future policy design and to a transformation toward targeted pesticide risk reduction. To that end, the dissertation addresses the following overarching research question: How can we enhance pesticide regulation in nascent and mature subsystems? To answer the research question and to develop practical insights for policymakers, the dissertation investigates policy actors in a nascent subsystem and policy output in a mature subsystem. The first part of this dissertation focuses on Uganda as a nascent subsystem, where pesticide risk-related issues have only recently entered the political agenda, and decision-making is shaped by the conflicts and uncertainties associated with pesticide risks. To understand decision-making on pesticide regulation in a nascent subsystem, the idea that participation in the agri-food subsystem is confined to a few privileged policy actors must be replaced by a more inclusive stakeholder perspective. To that end, the first part of the dissertation focuses on three policy actor-related issues: problem understanding (article 1), policy preferences (article 2), and coalition building (article 3) in Uganda. The second part of the dissertation investigates pesticide regulation in a mature subsystem. While mature subsystems have produced policy outputs over decades, decision-makers may overlook the problem’s dimensions across different scales and levels, so reducing a complex problem to an unduly simplistic account. A cross-sectoral perspective is thus needed in policymaking, and the second part of the dissertation addresses policy output performance addressing pesticide risks in Costa Rica, including legislation, ordinances, and action plans (article 4). The combined perspectives in this dissertation show that pesticide regulation can be enhanced by triggering various impulses in nascent and mature subsystems. In a nascent subsystem, both the individual attributes of policy actors and their links to others are likely to shape decision-making and influence regulatory outputs. In a mature subsystem, existing policy output can be understood in terms of the dominant coalition’s policy objectives. However, this output may be too weak in terms of restrictiveness and binding or authoritative state power to significantly reduce pesticide risks. To conclude, policy issues in the agri-food sector demand inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to identify problems, identify desirable futures, and consider pathways for transition. To that end, public policy research must be participatory and stakeholder-centered to enhance mutual understanding of problem contexts. Where public and private stakeholders shape decision-making, problem-solving can be enhanced through participation, exchange, and consultation that includes local communities.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 25 August 2022
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
Institute / Center: 03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science
Depositing User: Sarah Stalder
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2022 10:05
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 22:25

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