You are hereby kindly invited to the presentation of the MSc thesis of Bernadette van Doorn entitled 'Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The rules of the game in complex decision-making processes during the negotiations of the WTO ninth Ministerial Conference.'
The colloquium will be held Thursday, 21 August 2014, at 13.00, room C68, Leeuwenborch, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen.
Supervisor: Otto Hospes
Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The rules of the game in complex decision-making processes during the negotiations of the WTO ninth Ministerial Conference
At the ninth Ministerial Conference (MC9) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), December 2013, member states reached for the first time in the organization’s history a multilateral trade deal, referred as the ‘Bali Package’. The conclusion of the agreements went against all odds, as the negotiations had reached another deadlock in June 2013. This thesis aimed to unravel the ‘rules of the game’ as used in the interactions between the participants by analysing the extent in which these ‘rules of the game’ changed the decision-making processes in the final four negotiation months and if these changes could possibly explain the breakthrough in these negotiations. The thesis further aimed to contribute to the academic debates on complex decision-making within both the scholarly disciplines of International Relations and Sociology.
This analysis was based on the sociological concept of policy networks, games and rules. By using newspaper articles and field notes (of the attended WTO meetings during the final four negotiation months), the study revealed that there were important changes in the use of the ‘rules of the game’ that contributed to the breakthrough. For example, the increasing power of the newly installed WTO Director-General seemed to be pivotal, which contributed to more inclusive and transparent negotiations. Furthermore, the exceptional concessions and political engagement that member states showed in the final negotiation weeks seemed to be decisive for reaching an agreement. The case study further showed that decision-making at the multilateral level is really complex. It is therefore argued that it is needed to combine the scholarly discipline of International Relations with sociological concepts in order to analyse and understand interactions in complex decision-making processes.