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Does Multiple Streams Theory Justify Judicial Activism? Advocacy Policy and Strategies for CSOs in Mexico

Fri, July 13, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Room, 2A-00


Public policy designs must address problems from a comprehensive perspective, setting the future as a goal, considering agents such as government, intergovernmental relations and civil society, and taking into account the actions that have been taken historically regarding this problem. "The importance of the study of organizations and the non-profit sector falls into three points in particular: Increasing the economic importance of the sector; the opening of political opportunities outside or beyond political parties; and the rise of the "New Policy Agenda" that emphasizes the role of non-governmental organizations as part of an emerging system of global governance "(Anheier, 2014).These considerations are fundamental when creating public policy that addresses a problem of such scale, as is the strengthening of civil societies in Mexico.
In Mexico there is an existing and active public policy aimed at recognizing the importance of the participation of civil society in public policy processes. However, the efforts made so far have not been sufficient to consider a real influence and participation of these actors in public policies. Hence, a public policy analysis should consider not only the well-known stages of public policy processes and actors but also new elements that political analysts have recently been including in their studies. (Sabatier, 1991)
As a result, this study will use John Kingdon's Policy Streams analysis framework or theory, which indicates that the process of creating public policy, specifically its inclusion in the agenda, is the consequence of the joining of three "streams" or flows (problems, policy streams and political streams). Kingdon (1991) shows that when there is an "opportunity window" that brings together these three streams, a public policy (new or modified) arises.
Civil society currently presents this "opportunity window" or situation for public policy change, due to the growing investigation and importance of its impact on democratic processes, the current reforms in legislation, and the government's insufficiency to adequately address local public problems, which has prioritized the issue of CSOs influence and capacity on the Mexican political agenda. More specifically, it introduces the window for judicial activism by CSOs through the use of strategic litigation as an innovative concept in Mexico; it is an effective and creative use of the judiciary branch of government as a powerful tool for creating change with great impact.
It is important to take into account the political, social and legal context of a country in order to asses if social change can be achieved through the use of strategic litigation; the design of the legal actions, communications and alliance strategies are key elements to the effectiveness of this method. These elements will be analyzed through the case study of SMART (Mexican society in favor of responsible and tolerable self-regulation) that focuses on the use of strategic litigation to advance the legalizations of narcotics in Mexico for the first time in this country. Finally, we hold that the use of strategic litigation by CSOs advances the modernization and strengthening of democratic institutions and processes in Mexico.