IEA Training Manual - Module 5

6.1.2 Understanding policy actors

Policy requires shaping and managing people’s behaviour, so understandably those groups of persons affected by policy, either positively or negatively, are important actors to be consulted in the policy formulation process. Policy actors can be categorized broadly into three sectors of society: State, Market and Citizen (Najam 1996, Najam 1999).

Discussion Questions

Q. What is an environmental issue of concern in your region?
A:   
  
  
Q. Who are the government actors involved in addressing the issue?
A:   
  
  
Q. How do you get multiple stakeholders involved in the policy analysis to ensure that policy choices are more robust?
A:   
 

Who are the policy-makers? Policies are made (i.e., they are formulated) by a wide range of players called policy-makers. In most countries, public policy-makers are usually elected officials or their appointees.

In the private sector, policy-makers are CEOs, Boards of Directors and other top-ranking corporate officials. Policy-makers usually are influenced by special interest groups (i.e., entities that do not have the power to make or enforce policy themselves, but who influence development of a particular policy for their own interests or for the interests of third parties). Special interest groups include lobbyists, political groups, individuals, corporations, donors, NGOs and many others (Najam 2000). A second group important in setting policy consists of technical advisors or policy analysts; they advise and inform policy-makers on alternative options, and likely on the effects of those alternatives. In democratic societies, a third group that influences decisions is the general public, who elect policy-makers.

Discussion Questions

Q. For the environmental issue you previously identified, name the one policy or policy instrument, which is currently the most influential, or the most talked about?
A:   
  
  
Q. Which actors are aligned with the goals of the policy, and which are not?
A:   
  
  
  

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Module 5 - Integrated analysis of environmental trends and policies
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