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To harmonise or not to harmonise?
The Case of Biosafety in Southern Africa
This thesis analyses cross-national convergence of regulatory systems for modern biotechnology in southern Africa as mediated by the African Union (AU), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Research was guided by a three factor conceptualisation of Busch and Jorgens (2005), which proposes harmonisation, diffusion and coercive imposition as three distinct mechanisms causing policy convergence. Different stakeholder understandings of policy convergence, and fluctuating motivations regarding its emergence were observed. Minimal convergence had occurred in entire regulatory systems, while policy scopes, objectives, institutional arrangements and regulations had converged to varying extents. The three SNOs had played different roles in this, singly or collectively, particularly via ideational and epistemic influence exerted through interplay between the three mechanisms proposed by Busch and Jorgens. The three mechanisms were not mutually exclusive. The thesis introduces the notion of layered convergence as one feasible outcome of the cross-national processes.