Bridging Knowledge and Action: The Role of Epistemic Communities in International Cooperation

Knowledge, information, evidence, and findings have a very important position in the agenda of international cooperation.

Knowledge, information, evidence, and findings have a very important position in the agenda of international cooperation. Knowledge production is actually not only intended in the making of international cooperation, more than that the whole instrument of life requires knowledge as the main reference. Everything can run more optimally than doing something not based on information or knowledge. In the making of an international cooperation, knowledge can be used as the main basis or the main reason an actor finally chooses to make or join the international cooperation, one of the sources of knowledge or actors who produce knowledge is the Epistemic Community.

Peter Haas defines the Epistemic Community simply as actors who have responsibility for the development of a causal idea as well as normative beliefs related to something that is directly and indirectly related. The epistemic community assists the state in the creation of certain interests and preferences, then this will develop into providing assistance to the state in identifying the most efficient and legitimate participation options in a policy formation mechanism and influencing the results of negotiations on efforts to resolve a conflict of interest that occurs.

In its contribution to the making of international cooperation, the epistemic community has several fundamental values as well as values that emphasize its overall role and function. According to Peter Haas, these fundamental values are as follows:

  1. Consisting of a set or set of normative beliefs and principles that are jointly embraced, this will become one of the main bases of value for the overall social actions of members of a particular community group;
  2. Their analysis of a wide range of practices that lead to or indirectly contribute to a set of major problems in a region results in a “shared causality belief”. These causal beliefs are then used as the basis for explaining the interrelationships between possible actions and their implications for desired outcomes;
  3. A mutually agreed central notion of validity. This is based on internally produced intersubjective criteria that are intended to weigh and validate certain knowledge, especially based on their specific expertise.
  4. There is an attempt to create a common policy. A common set of practices related to the issues that are the main focus of their expertise, or professional competence. This often stems from the belief that human welfare will be the main implication.

The epistemic community in the dynamics of international cooperation is actually bound and can be said to contribute optimally through one main word, namely “Professionalism”. The existing international cooperation scheme may not be attractive for certain professional experts to produce knowledge intended to support the creation of certain “Public Goods”, but through this professionalism scheme an epistemic community plays a strategic role in making international cooperation. The professionalization of an epistemic community in its contribution to international co-creation consists of three main variables: (1) the selection and training agenda that occurs; (2) the existence of professional norms that are massively adopted; (3) an indication of the quality and frequency of meetings that occur; (4) the existence of a shared culture.

The first variable of the selection and training agenda is actively correlated to the origin of the epistemic community’s membership so that it will also be actively correlated to a profession and achievement. The high level of competence that results from the rigor of competitive selection. Cohesive standards of creation, based on competitive levels of creation, will have an impact on the trustworthiness of an epistemic community as a source of good international cooperation formation.

Second variable on the importance of the strengthening of professional norms that occur with regard to consensus-building standards, protocols, and procedures in the epistemic community. These norms will eventually become their tools for compromise in an effort to achieve a certain consensus.

The third variable on the indication of causality and the frequency of meetings that occur emphasizes the overall interaction that occurs in the membership of the epistemic community. The cultivation of strong bonding values, the strengthening of professional norms positions, and the creation of indications of a shared culture stem from the high level of interaction that occurs.

The fourth variable regarding shared culture is mainly related to a shared culture consisting of ownership of a sense of common purpose, identity, symbolism and the main heritage of the epistemic community. This will be the main reinforcement for the epistemic community to continue carrying out its duties in contributing to knowledge. This will also relate to the integrity that the epistemic community builds, especially in its main contribution to the formation of an international cooperation. Overall, the main focus of an epistemic community work scheme that plays a major role in the formation of international cooperation focuses on the level of “Professionalism” that exists in the epistemic community so that the production of knowledge which is the main basis for the formation of cooperation is truly effective as the main reference for the formation of cooperation.

In conclusion, why is the epistemic community so important in the dynamics of the formation of international cooperation? This is based on the continuing development of the world, the level of globalization, and the uncertainty of the conditions faced by countries forcing them to continue to get updated knowledge and information in order to at least reduce the uncertainty faced. Epistemic communities will always be oriented towards real realities that require various kinds of solutions including policies and international cooperation agendas. The main combination between global governance and knowledge produced by experts must continue to develop at least so that the framework for international cooperation is made from something that has gone through a scientific process as the main support for arguments, perceptions, and measurable actions in the dynamics of international cooperation.

Iqbal Tawakal
Iqbal Tawakal
M.Iqbal Tawakal Al Akbar, Postgraduate Student in the Master Of International Relations program, University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta.