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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Ad hoc crisis response and international organisations

Alternative title: Ad hoc kriseløsninger og internasjonale organisasjoner (ADHOCISM)

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

International organisations (IOs) are created with the aim of solving collective action problems when a crisis arises. Yet, member states have repeatedly established ad hoc crisis responses in situations where IOs might be expected to play a central role. ADHOCISM asks what is the impact of ad hoc crisis responses on international organisations? In this way, ADHOCISM wants to contribute to filling this knowledge gap through a systematic study of ad hoc crisis responses in two policy domains: security and health. With this paired comparison, ADHOCISM wants to tap into a broader empirical governance phenomenon. Ad hoc crisis responses are here understood as loose groups of actors that agree to solve a particular crisis at a given time and location outside of an existing international organisation in the same policy domain. Ad hoc crisis reponses can, in the short-term, lead to more rapid and effective crisis responses among like-minded states, but if international organisations are no longer seen as the principal instruments to confront global challenges, the risk is also that the relevance of these international organisations will diminish, and similar trends may unfold in other domains. To advance knowledge on ad hoc crisis responses, ADHOCISM will establish a dataset on ad hoc crisis responses in global health and security. In health, the case study will be on the relationship between the World Health Organization (WHO - IO) and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the joint COVAX project. In the security domain our case studies will be the AU African Standby Force and EU Battlegroups (IOs) and the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram (MNJTF); and the Joint Force of the Group of Five Sahel (JF-G5S) and Barkhane, primarily in Mali.

Most international organisations (IOs) are created with the aim of solving collective action problems when a crisis arises. Yet, member states have repeatedly established ad hoc crisis responses (AHCRs) in situations where IOs might be expected to play a central role. AHCRs are here understood as loose groups of actors that agree to solve a particular crisis at a given time and location outside of an existing IO in the same policy domain. Surprisingly, this key characteristic of current-day global governance has so far attracted little scholarly attention. ADHOCISM asks what is the impact of ad hoc crisis responses on international organisations and on international crisis response mechanisms in particular? ADHOCISM wants to contribute to filling this gap through a systematic study of ad hoc crisis responses in two policy domains: security and health. In both domains, crises occur which often require immediate and coordinated responses. However, while security is characterized by a high politics logic – where states are prone to guard their portfolios and hesitant to share sensitive information – health is often considered low politics where state and non-state actors have established formal arrangements for cooperation. With this paired comparison, ADHOCISM wants to tap into a broader empirical governance phenomenon. If IOs are no longer seen as the principal instruments to confront global challenges, the risk is also that the relevance of these IOs will diminish, and similar trends may unfold in other domains. Bringing a gender-balanced team with a proven academic track record on IOs and inter-organisational relations, ADHOCISM examines a diverse and robust set of cases to offer possible explanations for this puzzle, drawing from three distinct theoretical International Relations (IR) schools – rational institutionalism, sociological institutionalism and power-based explanations.

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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam