An exampleof how the UN spreads norms is through UNESCO. From the 1950s, both UNESCO andthe OECD actively promoted science policy innovation among UN member states –even those without the desire or resources to create their own science policyorganisations (Finnemore, 1993: 576). Sewell writes that UNESCO’s interest inspreading these norms came about after the science community demonstrated theirability to influence global affairs at Hiroshima (Sewell, 1975: 241). UNESCOfelt the need to keep the science community under a close watch out of fear forwhat they could do next, stating: “it is important that they should be linkedclosely with the humanities and UNESCO” (UNESCO, 1946: 24).
UNESCO declared”states should make it their businessto coordinate and direct science” (Auger, 1963: 220) and that their promotionof science norms “is formulated on the basis of the principle that the planningof science policy is indispensable”(UNESCO, 1966: 1). The language used by UNESCO implicitly made science policy anorm, thus states began to look for ways to improve their research anddevelopment. UNESCO maintained that they would keep a passive role in aiding statesin improving and expanding their science development, however their actions canbe seen as anything but passive.
A suitable case that highlights the powerof the UN and its agencies in spreading norms is Lebanon. UNESCO achieved greatsuccess in imposing its beliefs regarding science development in the MiddleEastern state, later becoming a model for future UNESCO norm-spreadingmissions. A moredetailed examination of the Lebanese case reveals the extent of UNESCO’sinfluence on the construction of a science bureaucracy there.
UNESCO officialsdid not just sit on the sidelines and make suggestions the head of the UNESCONatural Sciences Department actually drafted the enabling legislation for the newbureaucracy, while other members of the secretariat staff lobbied relevantLebanese politicians to get it passed. In so doing they squelched a conflict inLebanese proposal for the new bureaucracy which they considered inappropriateand inadequate. A report carried out by UNESCO’s MiddleEastern office in Cairo publicised that Lebanese research lacked any practical orientationand that coordination of research was almost non-existent.
This prompted the scientificsecretary to the director of the UNESCO Natural Sciences Department, Yvan deHemptinne, to send a team of experts to Lebanon to help establish a sciencepolicy body – without Lebanon’s request. This caused some disputes, which wereswiftly solved when René Maheu, the Director-General of UNESCO, mediated adiscussion with the President of Lebanon who agreed to set up a scienceresearch council. This is a clear case of the UN not just spreading, but ratherimposing norms upon states. de Hemptinne immediately began composing a draftlegislation for the council which included some arguably strict rules: the organisationof research in any scientific discipline must be centralised under the council;the council was under no condition allowed to run any kind of laboratory orresearch facility itself (Finnemore, 1994: 588). In the meantime, Lebanon hadset up its own scientific commission to aid in setting up the new council, andhad their own ideas for the council that differed from de Hemptinne’s plans.
Once again, higher UNESCO authorities were called in to solve a dispute withthe Lebanese commission, and de Hemptinne was able to submit a draftlegislation proposal to the Lebanese Parliament. These actions strengthenSills’ argument that the UN uses “an array of methods tofacilitate…regulate…and influence state behaviour” (Sills, 2002: 2). Thesemethods included UNESCO officials lobbying members of the Lebanese parliamentto consider their proposal over the state commission’s proposal. While this maybe seen as overstepping the boundaries from a supposedly passive organisation,the UN were determined to make Lebanon the first of many states to succumb tothe pressure and follow their standards and rules. The lobbying paid off, asthe UNESCO proposal for a Lebanese Scientific Research Council was unanimouslyapproved in parliament. Despite the success and establishment of the Council,UNESCO continued to play a heavy role and regularly sent experts to Lebanon toconduct reviews to ensure the Council was headed in the direction they desired.