Annex: Step by Step approach to an EO Advocacy process

Step 1: Identify the problem the EO wants to change
What is the problem? Outline in detail what exactly the EO has a problem with (e.g. how legislation is specifically impacting on firms’ operations )
What brings it to attention? Is the issue new? Has something changed which has highlighted the issue?
Why does the problem occur? Explain in operational terms.  For example if the issue is skills mismatches can you point to deficiencies in the education systems and curricula?
What conditions led to it? Were there other contributing factors? What were other stakeholders seeking to maintain/change?
Step 2: Identify the stakeholders
Whose behaviour is affected or whose concerns are relevant? Which types of firms? Large or small or both? Which sectors? Firms in certain geographical locations? Firms owned by women?
Who are the target beneficiaries of the EO’s solution to the problem? Obviously its members – but outline wider beneficiaries such as consumers (e.g., lower prices), workers (e.g., securer jobs by growing firms), other enterprises (e.g., increased trade), government (through tax revenue)
What stakes do each (affected groups, target beneficiaries, implementers of policy) have in the problem? Outline who potentially wins and who loses from the issue as it is and as it would be under the EO’s proposal
How does each stakeholder define the problem? Examine how fundamental the issue is to each of the identified stakeholders. How committed will they be to changing/persevering the status quo?
What ideals or values (equity, liberty, efficiency, security, loyalty) or ideologies (vision of how the world is or how it should be) are expressed in each definition? And what conflicts of value or ideology are evident among stakeholders? This exercise will help in identifying possible bridges on the issue (e.g. job preservation and creation) – and major obstacles to collaboration.
Step 3: Specify alternative solutions and relevant criteria for evaluating them.
What are the goals/objectives of the EO’s policy to rectify the issue? Are these realistic in a given timeframe?
What tools should the EO use to advance its proposal? For example: research report on the current impact of the status quo/projected impact of policy change; survey of businesses impacted; information campaign in media
What policy instruments might achieve the goals/objectives? For example: change in legislation/application of current legislation
Describe at least one (alternative) policy to meet the need. The EO for example may be seeking to stop a piece of legislation – this can be its first goal. Failing that it will advocate a code of practice to regulate voluntarily on the issue. Failing that it will seek to temper the legislative proposals by government.
Step 4: Recommend an alternative and explain your reasoning (if you are making a recommendation)
What is the basis for the EO’s recommendation? For example,: regulation could stifle small enterprise growth and is unnecessary. A code of conduct can address the issue and the EO can point to all the main firms who are enthusiastic about a code.
What type of analysis supports the proposal? EO carried out cases studies/surveys of members/looked at best practice from other jurisdictions.
On what conditions (political, organizational) does successful implementation of your choice depend? Government buy-in – other stakeholder acceptance.

The example below outlines how the EO can work through above methodology.

Step 1: Identify the problem
The garment sector in the fictional country of Erlandi is of extreme importance to the national economy, employing 280,000 workers and generating $3 billion in annual revenue – nearly half of which is generated from Erlandi’s principal export Market EtatLand. This sector has also driven wider growth in the economy.
Much of this success is due to the government following sound macroeconomic policies while the country is reasonably politically stable, it is open to investment, and the government vigorously seeks to attract growing numbers of investors.
Erlandi is currently negotiating a new Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with its   largest export Market for Garments: EtatLand.
Due to domestic pressures in EtatLand its negotiators are insisting on inserting a number of ‘labour provisions’ in the FTA. These provisions would entail a number of changes to the Labour legislation and Industrial Relations framework in Erlandi.
Erlandi has a poor industrial relations climate with sporadic and frequent strike action. There are multiple unions and this has made dispute resolution more challenging.
The EO has been making some progress on improving the IR climate and relations with some of the unions are making slow but steady headway.
The EO feels that if the issues in the FTA came into the political discourse they could set back this steady progress, complicate the situation further, and potentially make a bad situation worse.
There are four stages of govt-to-govt consultation before an expected final FTA in 18 months. This is now the preliminary stage.
Step 2: Identify the stakeholders
  • Attitude of Government - Erlandi’s National Government in its analysis is in favour of the FTA, probably at any price, such is the importance to the economy of the garment sector. Elements of the government such as the Trade Ministry are aware of the potentially polarizing impact the labour provisions could have. If all the provisions as envisaged in the FTA came into force it would definitely impact on Erlandi’s competitive position and could drive investors to other markets
  • Erlandi’s trade unions are in favour of ‘Labour provisions’ and are using the debate to increase their own profile and individual agendas.
  • The Government in Etatland is sympathetic to unions (as they are a major political contributor) and is following their agenda to a large extent.
  • Unions in Etatland – they are the catalyst for the action, due to the perceived threat to unionised jobs in Etatland. In a number of sectors unions feel that through labour provisions in FTAs they can protect jobs in Etatland and have used this approach successfully in another FTA negotiation with another trading partner of Etatland.
Step 3: Specify alternative solutions and relevant criteria for evaluating them
The EO commissions a report on the likely impact of the labour provisions – this requires some international technical help. This is decided as the best tool to articulate its concerns. It requires an investment by the EO but such is the fundamental importance to the economy that it is considered essential. It works closely with allies in the Trade Ministry in this endeavour and the Chambers of Commerce. A national business coalition is initiated by the EO bringing all business groups into an alliance.
  • The reports’ main conclusions are that a potentially major negative impact on competiveness and jobs will occur if the provisions go ahead.
  • It outlines the potentially negative financial impact on the economy
  • Its main recommendation is technical help to help to repair the country’s damaged IR framework.
The EO considers an aggressive and loud media campaign against the provisions to highlight their protectionist nature.
Step 4: Recommend an alternative and explain the reasoning
The EO’s counter proposal is for increased technical help to improve the IR framework, and improve relations and conditions in the workplace where there is a need.
The counter proposal aims to do the following:
  • It recognizes the powerful position of its opponents. The EO will not be credible by simply opposing the provisions in the draft FTA flatly, if such is the political pressure.
  • By suggesting  technical  assistance from international authorities (the ILO and others) it will help the current situation and potentially address a policy goal of the EO.
  • Timing: the EO did not wait until later in the negotiations to promote a counter proposal. It looked at trends in other countries that have negotiated similar agreements and decided to get its case into the domain as quickly as possible. By doing so, the ‘facts’ on the ground and the need for technical assistance to help resolve them as an alternative to a legislative approach would have a better chance of securing buy-in from Etatland’s negotiators.
  • Secures some buy in from other stakeholders. The EO’s recommendation has chances of getting acceptance or endorsement from government and possibly even trade unions.
The EO additionally works with sympathetic arms of government (Trade Ministry and the investment authority) in promoting a view in the international media of the protectionist nature of the provisions.