The Role of Germany’s Epistemic Community in Driving Colombia’s Development

Colombia is a developing country that is focusing on building recovery from various sectors ranging from infrastructure, human resources, and political systems.

Colombia is a developing country that is focusing on building recovery from various sectors ranging from infrastructure, human resources, and political systems. However, there is a lack of experts such as professionals, technologists, and academics in Colombia, so Colombia began to improve human resources by conducting student exchanges abroad and improving through findings and expertise in the field of knowledge through research.

In launching this plan, Colombia decided to cooperate in the field of science, one of which is with Germany because the country is advanced in the field of academics and research. Germany plans to prioritize economic development for Colombia, starting with improving human resources and discovering new knowledge for development in Colombia. This cooperation process involves various groups including the epistemic community.

Epistemic communities are characterized by shared knowledge and values. An epistemic community refers to a community of professionals who have recognised expertise and authority in a particular field that usually consists of academics, researchers and those who are experts in a particular field then united by a common mind to provide advice and guidance on policy-making and decision-making processes. Epistemic communities can influence policy decisions in various ways, including providing expert advice, conducting research, participating in diplomatic efforts, shaping policy decisions, and building consensus.

States or policymakers can create a soft power strategy from the ideas and contributions of epistemic groups. When policymakers plan to achieve international policy coordination that is uncertain and requires interpretation of the conditions, epistemic groups are needed to be involved. Epistemic communities generally emerge in countries with good research capacity and support from the government so that scientists can enjoy autonomy from their country, namely to engage in the implementation of cooperation, one of which is through cooperation in the field of science.

The main focus of science cooperation in developing countries is access to capacity building and resource exchange. For developing countries, access to developments resulting from scientific research is not always available, including access to research and human resource issues. Science cooperation also supports economic development. Promoting such cooperation requires official instruments such as policy-making or strategies. This emphasizes the need to include non-traditional actors in co-operation schemes.

The relationship between Colombia and Germany is well established and has developed significantly, especially in the field of education because both countries believe that education and research can enhance the development of a country. On 13 April 2011, President Santos of Colombia paid a visit to Berlin to expand cooperation, one of which was to establish cooperation in the fields of education, science, research and innovation. 

The epistemic community is given an opening by the German government to contribute to creating and developing development through research. The first German epistemic community to collaborate with Colombia was the German Academic Exchange Service or Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), an educational organization. DAAD assists developing countries in promoting the German education system. In cooperation with Colombia, DAAD collaborates through research projects, especially in the fields of peace and marine science. DAAD also negotiates German academic and political representation in collaboration with Colombia and co-operation between institutions from both countries.

The next Epistemic Community is Alexander Von Humboldth, this organization mediates cultural and foreign education policy in Germany and joins policy-making in Colombia. Involving epistemic groups in policy making is necessary to obtain scientific input that can be used to support the policy to be made. The creation of a convention or other technical regime also requires contributions from epistemic groups because the state or policymakers are not experts in the context of the policy. Therefore, the scientific cooperation between Germany and Colombia is the result of the interaction between the epistemic community and the government for Colombia’s development, especially human resource development, by enhancing academic cooperation, supporting the implementation of academic activities in government agencies, and making recommendations in the research sector related to development policies.

The collaboration is mutually beneficial, with Germany expanding its influence in the South American region and Colombia gaining access to the latest science and technology for the country’s development. Epistemic groups help shape the understanding of the actors involved and guide the course of decision-making and contribute to the development of research.

Epistemic groups have a very important role in the development of developing countries. They serve as catalysts in driving social, economic and technological progress through various effective and sustainable mechanisms. Epistemic groups provide analyses and recommendations that can help governments formulate more effective and targeted policies. Epistemic groups play a key role in knowledge transfer and facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices from developed countries to developing countries. Epistemic groups not only transfer knowledge and technology, but also develop local capacity, encourage research and innovation, and support evidence-based policy making. With this multifaceted role, epistemic groups can help developing countries achieve sustainable and inclusive development, build public trust, and strengthen international diplomacy.

Collaboration and support from the international community are needed to strengthen the role of epistemic groups in global development. The government needs to support and empower epistemic groups so that they can play a full role in national development by providing funding for research and activities of epistemic groups, ensuring that epistemic groups have access to the data and information they need, and encouraging the participation of epistemic groups in policy-making processes.

Rizqi Sari Dewi Girsang
Rizqi Sari Dewi Girsang
Rizqi Sari Dewi Girsang is a Master’s student of International Relations at Universitas Gadjah Mada with an interest in human right studies, diaspora and international migrations, and migrant workers topic.