The role of the public and knowledge management as determinants of environmental policy formulation in developing countries: The case of Egypt
This research attempts to answer the question of what role the public plays in the policy formulation process in developing countries. It addresses the specific questions of who is the public, how and when do they influence policy formulation, and whether knowledge management has an impact on this role. It looks at the process of environmental policy formulation in developing countries as being similar to the diffusion of an innovation and develops a comprehensive framework, or adapted model, for how the environmental policy formulation process is likely to proceed in developing countries. This framework allows a closer analysis of the role of the public and knowledge management, an integral part of the diffusion process, based on the characteristics of three different categories of environmental policies: development of the institutional and regulatory framework, policies for pollution control and policies for environmental quality.
The analytical framework of the adapted model is applied to the case of Egypt, utilizing data from interviews with key persons and survey interviewing of a sample of the Egyptian public, in addition to content analysis of newspaper articles and secondary sources. The application looks in detail at the development of the environmental institutional and regulatory framework in Egypt; air quality and the seasonal air pollution episodes in Cairo as policies for pollution control; and policies for biodiversity conservation and energy efficiency as environmental quality policies. The adapted model is found to provide a satisfactory explanation of Egypt's environmental policy formulation.
The public is determined to be the segmentation of society into early and late adopters, with the early adopters influencing key policy elites to chose environmental policies, while the later adopters influence legislators and other bureaucratic entities involved in the bureaucratic bargaining and negotiation process. This role is seen most clearly in the development of the institutional and regulatory framework, but is not as evident in policies related to pollution control, unless there is a crisis pollution incident. It is determined that although the role of the public is a significant factor in environmental policy formulation, it is knowledge management that has a greater impact on the final outcome and speed of effective implementation.