Deloffre, Maryam Zarnegar (2022) The Sphere Project: Imagining Better Humanitarian Action through Reflective Accountability Institutions and Practices in Imagining Pathways for Global Cooperation, Katja Freistein, Bettina Mahlert, Sigrid Quack, and Christine Unrau (editors). Edward Elgar. Download here.
Abstract: This chapter examines standard-setting for quality and accountability in the humanitarian sector, specifically the Sphere Project. Prior to standard-setting efforts in the late 1990s, the humanitarian field had weak coordination and standards were set at the organizational level. I show how reflexivity produced new pathways to cooperation and collective action through a critical emotional event. This shared emotional experience created a reflective space at the global level where humanitarian actors convened to collectively address perceived problems in humanitarian activity. This reflective process produced shared understandings and knowledge and consolidated a collective ‘we’ or community motivated to cooperate and coordinate their activity.¬†The outcome of these processes was a reflective accountability system characterized by three features: collective action, reflective practices, and transformative goals. Instead of eliminating reflection and emotion, standard-setting in the humanitarian sector embedded reflexivity and learning.
“Metagovernance Norms and Polycentricity in Global Humanitarian Governance.” International Studies Review. Online first view. Download here.
Abstract: Scholarship on polycentric governance, particularly the work of the Ostroms, assumes an “organized chaos” where actors recognize and are aware of each other, coordinate their activities, and operate under a set of overarching rules (Ostrom 2010a, b; 2014). However, when polycentricity is applied to global policy areas—which lack a formal central authority—it is unclear which shared understandings, rules, or laws coordinate actors. I examine the role of metagovernance norms in generating shared obligations, relationships, and regulatory effects in polycentric fields. Metagovernance norms specify an aspirational vision for the governance of a policy area and generate shared expectations for actor behavior. I discuss two metagovernance norms–providing humanitarian assistance in ways that do no harm (DNH) and accountability to affected populations (AAP)–that produce regulatory effects in the humanitarian field.
Essay in the ISR Forum:
Maria Koinova, Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre, Frank Gadinger, Zeynep Sahin Mencutek, Jan Aart Scholte, Jens Steffek, It’s Ordered Chaos: What Really Makes Polycentrism Work, International Studies Review, 2021;, viab030, https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/viab030
Abstract: This forum reimagines polycentric governance. It develops ideas of “ordered polycentrism” that can help international relations scholarship make fuller sense of contemporary governance of global affairs. How can we theorize the implicit bonding forces that bring deeper order to the surface disorganization of polycentric governance? We offer a key corrective to actor-focused institutionalist understandings by showing how polycentrism also involves deeper relations and structures. Six contributions offer various avenues to theorize deeper order in polycentric governance, each with reference to a substantive issue area. Jens Steffek draws upon constructivist theory of “norms” to argue that standards acquire autonomous ordering power in polycentric governance of global business. Maryam Deloffre adopts a “metagovernance” perspective to identify norms as aspirational visions structuring the regulation of humanitarian assistance. Next, Frank Gadinger explores polycentrism through the lens of “practices” that organize the everyday activities by multiple actors such as negotiating as well as the objects, technologies and expertise they use in these governance efforts. Zeynep Mencutek highlights “techniques” as micro-carriers of ordering practices in polycentric governance of irregular migration, stretching the limits of institutional rules. Maria Koinova discusses “informality” as a deeper structuring force in the governance of transit migration and diasporas, and how it is shaped by state capacities, political regimes, and regional dynamics. Finally, Jan Aart Scholte adds “underlying order” through macro-frameworks and, with illustrations from Internet governance, suggests that polycentrism is structured through a threefold combination of norms, practices, and underlying orders. Together, the six commentaries offer a menu of ways that future research can explore order in what institutionalism has depicted as chaos.
“Global Accountability Communities: NGO Self-Regulation in the Humanitarian Sector,” Review of International Studies, 42 (4): 724-747 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210515000601
Abstract: How do humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) define and institutionalize global accountability standards? This article process-traces the case of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership-International (HAP-I), a voluntary, self-regulatory collective accountability initiative, to investigate the processes through which NGOs define collective rules, standards, and practices for accountability. This article shows the limitations of traditional representative and principal-agent models of NGO accountability when applied to the global inter-organizational realm and argues that mutual accountability better conceptualizes these relationships. In this important case, the article finds that transnational coordination of NGO accountability practices results from social learning that generates a global accountability community (GAC) constituted by mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire of practices. Data from the process tracing shows a collaborative not hierarchical or coercive relationship between NGOs and states, where salient donors changed their understandings and practices of accountability during the process of developing the HAP-I benchmarks. Thus, GACs both regulate the behavior of members and constitute their social identities, interests, and practices.
“Human Security Governance: Is UNMEER the Way Forward?” Global Health Governance: The Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm, Vol. X, No. 1: 41-60 (Spring, 2016). Download here.
Abstract: United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2177 (2014) was politically salient because it labeled the Ebola crisis as a threat to international peace and security and created UNMEER, the first-ever UN system-wide emergency health mission. This article considers the implications of the UNSC’s resolution and establishment of UNMEER for the future of humanitarian action. It conceptualizes national and human security approaches to humanitarian intervention, discusses the implications for policy and then examines UNMEER using this lens. It finds that while the UNSC’s securitization of the Ebola outbreak incentivized cooperative behavior, UNMEER used a traditional security approach in its response to the Ebola outbreak: it was primarily organized around a health mandate and focused on the technical and medical aspects of disease containment; major donors contributed significant amounts in bilateral assistance to affected countries; and it emphasized compliance with financial and legal accountability standards. UNMEER’s exceptional power to assign responsibilities to implementing partners, fund mission critical activities, and maintain an accountability chain, nonetheless granted it the authority to both lead and oversee the intervention. Better coordination and standardization between health and humanitarian sectors, development of mutual accountability principles, and integration of a human rights perspective would improve human security outcomes in future global responses.
“Human Security, Humanitarian Response and Ebola.” PS: Political Science and Politics 48 (01): 13-14, (2015). Download here.
“NGO Accountability Clubs in the Humanitarian Sector: Social Dimensions of Club Emergence and Design.” In Mary Kay Gugerty and Aseem Prakash (Eds.) Nonprofit Clubs: Voluntary Regulation of Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations. Cambridge University Press, pp. 169-200, (2010). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511778933.009
Abstract: This chapter considers the social factors—cultural context and ethical arguments—that shaped the development of collective accountability standards for humanitarian NGOs. I conduct two case studies of the international responses to humanitarian crises in Biafra and Rwanda and show that NGO understandings of their moral duty and principles of humanitarianism evolved over time and shaped how NGOs defined and institutionalized collective accountability standards starting in the late 1990s.
“Non-governmental Organizations and the Peace, Security, and Development Nexus” in Routledge Handbook of Peace, Security, and Development Fen Osler Hampson, Alpaslan Ozerdem, Jonathan Kent (Eds.). Taylor and Francis (2020), pp. 420-432. Link to book.
Abstract: This chapter considers the role of NGOs in the peace-security-development nexus. It begins by discussing the history of the triple nexus, focusing on important paradigm shifts to human security and rights-based approaches to peace, development and security. Next, I examine the implications of human security and rights-based approaches (RBAs) for NGO policies and practices and particularly how the political requirements of RBAs affect NGO service delivery and accountability. Finally, I discuss how the institutional and political challenges NGOs face generate constraints and limitations on their ability to implement nexus policies. Therefore, while NGOs are ideal partners in navigating the nexus, they are no ‘magic bullet’ (Edwards and Hulme 1996).
“Legitimacy of International NGOs” in Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations Thomas Davies (Ed.). Taylor and Francis (2019) with Hans Peter Schmitz, pp. 606-620. Link to book.
Abstract: The first part of this chapter elaborates how international non-governmental organization (INGO) legitimacy challenges are ultimately tied to questions about their basic purpose. The second part introduces the “4 Ps” model of legitimacy practices focused on purpose, people, practices, and performance. The model offers an attempt to conceptualize legitimacy in a way that enables empirical analysis across disciplines. The third section provides insights into some recent sector- and organizational-level efforts by INGOs focused on addressing legitimacy challenges in the four areas identified. We conclude that INGOs cannot neglect legitimacy issues since doing so will put them at greater risk for co-optation by states and corporate actors who are capable of controlling access to resources and venues.
“Making Change-makers: Integrating Project-based Learning in NGO Management Courses,” In Agnieszka Paczynska and Susan F. Hirsch (Eds.) Conflict Zone, Comfort Zone: Ethics, Pedagogy, and Effecting Change in Field Based Courses. Ohio University Press (2019), pp. 159-179. Link to book.
Abstract: This chapter begins by defining service learning and discussing its benefits for student learning and professional growth in four areas: academic development, civic responsibility, practical skills, and interpersonal skills. Next, I explain how to design a course with a service learning component, specifically showcasing my experience with AFSC, and consider how two critical elements—multiple sites of interaction and reflection—optimize student learning. I then draw on data collected from surveys of students and project supervisors, as well as de-identified and anonymous excerpts of students’ reflective journals, to assess the impacts of the service learning project on both students and AFSC. I find the program positively impacts student learning and creates value for AFSC. Finally, I discuss the challenges and constraints of service learning projects and proffer four essential ingredients—project relevance to the course, student empowerment, expanded time, and reflective practice—for effective project-based courses.
“What role for Political Scientists? Civic engagement, citizen empowerment, advocacy and activism,” edited Symposium and Introduction, with Carrie Booth Walling, PS: Political Science and Politics, 50 (4): 985-989 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096517001111
Abstract: The current political and social context in the United States is in part characterized by divisive trends such as partisan polarization, a surge in populist nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment, a more fragmentary media landscape, and deep distrust in government and civil institutions. The confluence of these divisions and trends, some of them longstanding, contribute to make campuses sites of contentious politics. This symposium asks three questions: What role should political scientists play in this current period of contentious politics? How can we build campuses to be both bastions of free expression and safe places for exploration? How should we engage our neighbors, communities, students and the public? What we offer in response is a series of reflections on civic participation and the role of education, written for educators seeking to navigate these challenges. Drawing on empirical political science research and teaching best practices, symposium authors offer insights on ways to foster political participation; promote critical thinking through pedagogical interventions in the classroom and on the syllabus; and use social media to counteract the negative impact of fake news. Authors offer suggestions for citizens seeking to build majoritarian social movements, increase civic engagement, and prevent bias incidents in their communities.
“Policymaking in the Global Context: Training Students to Build Effective Strategic Partnerships with Nongovernmental Organizations,” Journal of Public Affairs Education 21(3): 417-434, (2015) with Cristina M. Balboa. https://doi.org/10.1080/15236803.2015.12002207
Abstract: In this article, we define policy-making as global, which requires an expanded view of who governs—both public and private actors—and how governance occurs in the global realm—via cross-border and multi-sectoral partnerships and collective action. We examine how to make Master’s in Public Administration and Policy programs (MPA and MPP) more policy relevant and suggest incorporating courses on NGOs that carry out global public policy-making. We conducted a content analysis of websites for MPA and MPP programs that self-report global concentrations using a codebook to standardize descriptive data on each program and found that although many MPA and MPP programs have the faculty expertise and capacity to teach core courses on NGOs, few do. We argue MPA and MPP programs should include core courses on NGOs given their increased influence, presence and impact on global policymaking and make recommendations on how to incorporate NGOs in the classroom.