Policy As Warrant: Environment and Development in the Himalayan Region

by Piers Blaikie and Joshua Muldavin

East-West Center Working Papers, Environmental Change, Vulnerability, and Governance Series, No. 59

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: April 2004
Binding: paper
Pages: 29
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Much of the environmental policy process in the Himalayan-Hindu Kush (HKH) region occurs at interfaces between international agendas promoted by various actors and national governments. These interfaces are frontiers of negotiation, skirmishing, and compromise, becoming a confused space for different development fashions (e.g. economic approaches to the environment, community natural resource management, democratization of policy making, the livelihoods approach or a retrenched and militarized "fortress conservation"). These fashions engage with a range of national policies, politics, administrative capacities and local institutions. There are many analytical tools for understanding policymaking and here we introduce the notion of “warrant” which combines four elements — the claim (based on, for example, scientific knowledge or human rights), the positionality of the warrant maker, its audience (as represented by actors in the political network) and the warrant outcome. It is considered alongside some other approaches to understanding the policy process and its usefulness is evaluated as an overarching framework for not only understanding but also improving the negotiation process in policy making. This is explained with illustrations of policy making in the Himalayan region. Lastly, elements of a future research agenda are proposed.