Going with the flow or swimming against the current?
: The influence of rules and norms on advocacy strategies of NGO coalitions along the Mekong River

  • Yumiko Yasuda

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have come to play a major role in contemporary governance systems, and particularly in the fields of water and the environment. Adopting a new institutional theoretical perspective, this thesis examines how rules and norms affect the advocacy strategies of coalitions of NGOs in Vietnam and Cambodia, utilising a comparative case study analysis of the Xayaburi hydropower dam planned on the Mekong River in Laos. The comparison was conducted between the Rivers Coalition in Cambodia and the Vietnam Rivers Network during the planning period for the dams in 2011-2013.
    The main findings of the study is that rules, norms, actors, biophysical and material conditions interact with each other in creating influence over advocacy strategies. Different patterns of interactions were identified; these are 1) complementary interactions between formal rules, informal rules and norms 2) competing interactions between formal rules, informal rules and norms. Actors play important roles in both of these forms of interactions. Through identification of the barriers and opportunities NGO actors face within the Mekong region, the thesis concludes with two recommendations: 1) modifications to the formal rules which could facilitate further integration of NGOs and civil society actors into decision-making processes of transboundary water governance and 2) use of analytical framework by NGO and civil society actors in identifying windows of opportunities for advocacy strategies.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsWorld Bank & Endeavour Research Fellowship
    SupervisorGeoffrey Gooch (Supervisor) & Alistair Rieu-Clarke (Supervisor)


    • Mekong
    • River
    • Rule
    • Norm
    • Formal
    • Informal
    • Xayaburi
    • Hydropower dam
    • NGO
    • Civil society
    • Cambodia
    • Vietnam
    • Advocacy strategy
    • Actors
    • New institutionalism
    • IAD framework

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