National Resilience through a Regional Alignment: The Case of the Pacific Alliance

Recent research indicates that complexity, diversity and regular change are the elements that constitute structure within the international system. International institutions established to respond to such challenges are structurally stable; consequently, they are unable to adjust easily to their ever-changing environment. Understanding the environmental–institutional relationship is essential, while conceptualising this relationship from a resilience perspective has utility. A review of the resilience literature supports construction of a national resilience framework, which is used to test our hypothesis that regional alignments contribute to member (national) resilience through an adaptation strategy and an adaptability or transformation strategy.

The Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) provides data to test this hypothesis, as it is not a regional association but rather an alignment (it is not legally incorporated, and has no central budget or secretariat). The Pacific Alliance operates with a collaborative-hierarchical structure and a collaborative-networked system focused on a simple long-term vision at the institutional level, continual planning at the regional level and incremental implementation of innovation at the national level. We conclude that a regional alignment can contribute to resilience through an adaptation strategy, but not an adaptability strategy. Based on case data, we empirically construct a set of principles for building international institutions that support national resilience, and argue that the Pacific Alliance presents an example of an institution that has both stability and agility. We recommend that other developing nations experiment with this low-cost, self-help institutional strategy.

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Author: Larry Crump
Full document: 2018, Crump, National Resilience through a Regional Alignment- The Case of the Pacific Alliance