International bureaucracies – highly visible, far-reaching actors of global governance in areas that range from finance to the environment – are often derided as ineffective, inefficient, and unresponsive. Yet despite their prominence in many debates on world politics, little scholarly attention has been given to their actual influence in recent years. Managers of Global Change fills this gap, offering conceptual analysis and case studies of the role and relevance of international bureaucracies in the area of environmental governance – one of the most institutionally dynamic areas of world politics.
Managers of Global Change seeks to resolve a puzzling disparity: although most international bureaucracies resemble each other in terms of their institutional and legal settings (their mandate, the countries to which they report, their general function), the roles they play and their actual influence vary greatly. The chapters investigate the type and degree of influence that international environmental bureaucracies exert and whether external or internal factors account for variations. After a discussion of theoretical context, research design, and empirical methodology, Managers of Global Change presents nine in-depth case studies of bureaucracies ranging from the environment department of the World Bank to the United Nations' climate and desertification secretariats.
Managers of Global Change points the way to a better understanding of the role of international bureaucracies, which could improve the legitimacy of global decision making and resolve policy debates about the reform of the United Nations and other bodies.
Frank Biermann is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Policy Sciences at VU University Amsterdam and Visiting Professor of Earth System Governance at Lund University. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of fifteen books, including Managers of Global Change: The Influence of International Environmental Bureaucracies (coedited with Bernd Siebenhuner) and Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered (coedited with Philipp Pattberg), both published by the MIT Press.
Bernd Siebenhuner is Professor of Ecological Economics at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.
"This volume investigates the circumstances under which international secretariats exercise an independent influence on international environmental politics. Its midlevel theoretical stance distinguishes it for its empirical and theoretical advancement in the study of international institutions."
- Peter M. Haas, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"Managers of Global Change reveals deep insights on international bureaucracy combining perspectives from sociological institutionalism, organization theory, and international relations. Students, scholars, and practitioners alike will benefit from this comprehensive study of environmental governance. A must-read!"
- Norichika Kanie, Department of Value and Decision Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology