Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Visara Kraiwatanapong

The role of policy networks in governing transnational environmental issues in Southeast Asia

Photo of Visara Kraiwatanapong

Environmental problems are posing great challenges for states in solving and managing them effectively. These issues seem cause difficulties for developing countries where governments have limited capacity and resources. The civil society, as a consequence, takes the role in problem solving process.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have formed networks, sometimes with intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), to provide more effective solutions through public policy processes. To obtain a more preferable environmental result, networks create communicative structure and strategies to influence policy outputs and policy outcomes in policy processes: agenda setting, policy formation, policy implementation, and policy monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, from this perspective, cooperative efforts through policy networks have provided an alternative means to help states deal with environmental problems as well as improve the quality of international environmental governance.

In Southeast Asia, although the existing environmental problems (such as the haze pollution, the loss of natural biodiversity, and the destruction of coral reefs) are considered as a failure to establish an effective regional cooperative effort in terms of problem-solving evaluation, the cooperative activities are not absence. The continuity of programmes to prevent and reduce the problems has revealed the development of international cooperation in the region to some extent. In addition, civil-society actors are gaining more attention in filling environmental governance gaps. 

By focusing on the impacts of policy networks- especially environmental NGOs, and epistemic communities- on transnational environmental issues, my research examines the patterns of relationships among NGOs, IGOs and states to attain better environmental consequences. It also investigates how the quality of international cooperation can be improved by looking at the operation of policy networks.  The influential role of policy networks in the policy development process will be analysed and then concluded whether policy networks are a necessary strategy leading to the more effective states’ cooperation on environmental governance in the region.


I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (International Relations) at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand in 2005. As I was interested in regional cooperation in Southeast Asia, I completed an International Masters in ASEAN Studies at Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya in Malaysia and graduated in 2007. Before starting my PhD at Leeds I undertook a teaching position at the Faculty of Political Science, Ubon Ratchathani University in Thailand.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I have got the Royal Thai Government Scholarship which does human resource development in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Thai higher education. Therefore I plan to work as a lecturer at Ubon Ratchathani University once I have completed my PhD. I perceive this as a great chance to develop and fulfil my long-term professional goals and to become an expert in politics and international relations in Southeast Asia.

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