Olivier Nay

This paper focuses on the causal factors, implementati on, and side eff ects of administrati ve reforms launched within the United Nati ons system, in the fi eld of HIV and AIDS. It is based on an empirical analysis of the UNAIDS Programme, an interorganizati onal system bringing together ten UN agencies to combat the worldwide epidemic, with the support of a Secretariat. Firstly, the paper argues that the administrati ve reform of UNAIDS was unlikely to have come from the UN organizati ons themselves, although the Programme was expected to lead these organizati ons to bett er coordinate and harmonize their AIDS strategies. Secondly, it identi fi es three external factors that have led UN organizati ons to reform their governance mechanisms and procedures. Thirdly, it explores the conditi ons under which the reform of UNAIDS has been implemented since 2005, with parti cular att enti on to the Secretariat that has become involved as an acti ve “reform entrepreneur.” Finally, it identi fi es some of the unexpected eff ects of the reform, with a parti cular emphasis on competi ti on between UN agencies, organizati onal complexity, and bureaucrati zati on. The concluding remarks argue that when analyzing administrati ve reforms within internati onal organizati ons, one should investi gate the interrelati ons between the external pressures that drive reforms and the acti vity of reform entrepreneurs.

Olivier Nay

This paper focuses on the circulation of policy ideas within the United Nations (UN) system. Based upon a study of UNAIDS, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, it shows how international bureaucracies can capitalize on policy-oriented information and knowledge to strengthen their autonomy and consolidate their authority within their own environment. Using a policy transfer approach as its analytical framework, the paper draws particular attention to the UNAIDS Secretariat, considered as a “transfer entrepreneur.” It argues that in the 2000s, the Secretariat has demonstrated a capacity to collect, develop and disseminate policy ideas on the epidemic and, consequently, has gradually participated in UN policy development. It thus suggests that the Secretariat has extended its authority within the UN system despite a restricted mandate and low resources. In conclusion, the paper points out the need to examine policy transfer among international organizations through actors, interests, and strategies, as a complement to holistic approaches.

Anne Daguerre

The social policy of the US welfare state is based on a liberal model of social protection. The social contract is based on the idea that individuals of working age individuals should support themselves and their dependants thanks to their earned income. However, to have a job is no longer sufficient in protecting individuals against main social risks. President Obama has been elected on the promise that he will restore the American dream, whereby individual work is rewarded by upward social mobility. However, the Obama administration faces the challenge of rising social inequality and poverty, in an extremely difficult economic context. The Great Recession has laid bare the gaps of the safety net: a growing proportion of families must choose between paying for food or rent. To understand the inadequacies of the US social protection system, it is necessary to study the structure of public assistance programmes, as well as labour market trends and the impact of the recession on low-income households. This analysis will shed light on the main characteristics of the Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis.

“Natural” risks and catastrophes appeared in the international arena in the early 1990s. A real « world » of “natural” catastrophes has emerged internationally and has become more and more institutionalized. This study raises questions such as: how has this space been built? How do actors legitimize its necessity? What does it tell us about the way the contemporary world manages fears globally? A diachronic approach of this double process of internationalization and institutionalization allows the author to situate the phenomenon in the historical and global context, and notably of a context of transformation of the notion of security. The sociological analysis of the main multilateral organizations that contribute to forming this space invites us to apprehend the various lines of tension that cross over, and to foresee its complexity. Despite the many attempts to make this space appear as a “community” of sense and practices, strong disparities characterize the actors’ approaches.