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178. Examples of such processes widely range in scope and in the extent to which they have specific links to policy processes, and are described further in Annex R). At the same time a number of MEAs have taken steps to improve the effectiveness of their assessment of and response to emerging policy issues (e.g. by Ramsar’s STRP and the CBD SBSTTA), so that their scientific advisory bodies and processes can more effectively deal with new issues not previously on their agendas. 118

179. However, there remain significant challenges for processes interfacing science and policy in addressing emerging issues, which are often of complex, contentious or controversial nature: 118

180. Among the key gaps apparent from a review of current horizon scanning processes and futures techniques are the following. The implication of not addressing such gaps is a reduced preparedness for issues that might arise in the future. The key gaps are: 118

181. It is also important to ensure that when new issues emerge the scientific community is able to respond rapidly to information of scientific advisory bodies and processes rising from these emerging issues, so that they are better able to inform policy development and decision making. 119

182. There may also be value in exploring the potential for increased coordination between existing horizon scanning and futures initiatives supporting biodiversity science-policy processes, and for coordination in use of the outcomes of these processes. This is true across the range of scales and sectors. 119

183. In addition to improving the use of horizon scanning and futures techniques in identifying potential future issues, it is important to also ensure that scientific advisory bodies and processes are able to effectively use this information in their deliberations. This may involve changing their terms of reference, as happened for CBD SBSTTA in 2006 (decision VIII/10).  119

B.10. Increasing Synergies and Effectiveness Through Coordination 119


184. It is apparent from earlier sections in this analysis that there is a wide range of institutions, processes, networks and programmes at all levels and within different sectors that address, or are relevant to, one or other part of the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services. 119

185. This fragmentation is in part structural and to a certain degree unavoidable, as the issues are far reaching, cross-cutting and multi-scale, while institutions have to focus on specific missions to ensure some degree of effectiveness and efficiency. Indeed, studies have shown that it is often collaborative networks of a range of science-policy interfaces of different institutional types, functions and focus with complex, partly redundant, and layered institutional arrangements that constitute the most effective way in managing complex interrelations between science and politics. 119

186. But the fragmentation is also historical, as institutions have been created step by step to address problems as they have emerged. Particularly in the case of the issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services this has resulted in an array of conventions, institutions, networks and programmes with overlapping remits, differing objectives, interests and modus operandi, and often poorly defined boundaries between them. This in turn results in the potential for uncoordinated action, gaps, unnecessary duplication, and for a multitude of different messages and solutions, unless there is good coordination. 119

187. Coordination - or promoting and facilitating improved coordination - is a crucial cross-cutting and inherent aspect of the science-policy interface. There exists a wide range of mechanisms established to improve coordination of different parts of this fragmented institutional landscape, and a range of examples are included in the following text and associated annexes. However, while in part advances have been made, lack of coherence remains in many areas, with the resulting potential for gaps, mismatches, duplications and missed opportunities. 119


188. One potential solution is to attempt to establish improved coordination across all aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services, thereby ensuring significantly support for decision making. While such a solution may be desirable, a more pragmatic solution, at least in the first instance, will be to gradually improve and build on existing coordination approaches, examples of which are described in the following sections. 119

189. While the following text primarily uses examples from the international level, the messages are relevant at all levels. 119

B.10.1 Coordination within and across functional elements of a science-policy interface 120

190. Given the inextricable interrelations between research, monitoring, models and scenarios, assessments capacity building and policy development on the one hand, and the partly inherent functional fragmentation of the institutional landscape on the other, coordination is not only fundamental within but also across each of the functional categories (or areas of work) of the science-policy interface. 120

191. In each of the sections on the knowledge base, on communication of science into policy making, and on capacity building, and on the specific subsections within them, a range of organizations and/or programmes has been referred to. It is axiomatic that improved coordination between them will improve efficiency: 120

192. There are good examples of ongoing efforts that address the coordination of a range of the different functional aspects of the science-policy interface, among the most relevant of which are the MA and the MA follow-up process (Annex B), and the proposals for the Regular Process in the marine environment (Annex C). These addressed and continue to address all the aspects of a science-policy interface in that within a specified policy area they provided a knowledge base, policy oriented products based on that knowledge base, and capacity building to help others augment the knowledge base and derive further products. 120


193. There are other examples of organizations, programmes or networks that de facto coordinate activities that contribute to the science-policy interface, therefore contributing to improving its effectiveness. 120

194. These are not the only examples, and not necessarily the best examples, but in each case there is an organization or a group organizations that is working together through a network, partnership or collaborative effort to improve the current situation, to reduce gaps, and to reduce duplication of effort. This is experience that can be built upon in fostering and creating opportunities for increased coordination. 120

195. At a higher level within the biodiversity-related MEAs, there are ongoing efforts to increase coordination and sharing of experience that address in part the coordination of the different functional aspects of the science-policy interface (although the science-policy interface is not necessarily their primary focus). Among the most relevant are the following, which are described in more detail in Annex I): 120

196. Most of the initiatives described demonstrate the potential of increased coordination, and examples of approaches and structures that can be built upon. 121

B.10.2 Coordination within thematic areas 121

197. Steps to improve coordination can be particularly effective when focussed on specific topics, themes or issues, and this is usually the case where a strong network or consortium already exists that can take the issue forward, or is formed specifically to do so. 121

198. Invasive alien species are widely seen as one of the key threats to biodiversity, and have been discussed on several occasions by the scientific advisory bodies of a number of conventions including all of the global biodiversity-related agreements. As is described in more detail in Annex T, the Global Invasive Species Programme was established to gather the best minds and organizations working on issue of invasive alien species, to consolidate available scientific and management information, to raise awareness of the issue and to present best management practices. Through the use of thematic working groups GISP focused on key issues such as pathways, management, socioeconomics, while simultaneously engaging national agencies and experts through a series of regional workshops. This model helped to funnel information developed by the international working groups down to the national level, while raising national level priorities and capacity needs to the global level. Information from both efforts was also channelled into the CBD. GISP has not been the only contributor (the IUCN Invasive Alien Species Group has also been significantly involved), but having a group coordinating inputs has played a significant role in helping to shape discussions and decisions within the CBD in particular. GISP have also been involved in discussions under other conventions, also bringing a degree of synergy. 121


199. There is a range of other examples where specific initiatives provide coordination across a range of organizations, networks and programmes working on a particular theme, and deliver information or analysis relevant to policy development and implementation. Examples include the following. 121

200. The point is not what each of these organizations or processes does, but the fact that there are many examples of coordination that can be built upon. Meanwhile organizations and programmes such as ICSU, DIVERSITAS and IUCN have a range of thematic working groups, networks and committees. Some of these are established for short periods of time to address particular issues, others, such as the IUCN Commissions, are long standing and well known. 122

201. Given the nature of biodiversity, the complex governance landscape and the relatively independent nature of the different governance bodies, it is inevitable that the needs of one policy making body are not completely different from the needs of other governance bodies, yet no obvious mechanism exists to review the needs of a range of governance bodies and their advisory bodies and advise on research priorities based on an integrated review. However there are the following examples of where such cooperation and collaboration has occurred and is beneficial, and where the experience can be built upon. 122

202. At a higher level there are processes which improve inter-institutional cooperation of key thematic issues, and these can also have implications for improving the science-policy interface. For example, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which is a voluntary arrangement among 14 international organizations and secretariats with substantial programmes on forests (see Annex I), has a range of initiatives which are concerned with increasing collaboration in order to deliver improved management, conservation and sustainable management of forests. 122


203. Again, most of the initiatives described demonstrate the potential of increased coordination, and examples of approaches and structures that can be built upon. Perhaps an analysis of the overlaps between different mandates of, for example, the biodiversity-related MEAs could provide the basis for identifying those areas where increased coordination would provide most effective? 122

B.10.3 Coordination across different sectors 122

204. The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is relevant to a wide range of different sectors from forestry to fisheries, and provides services ranging from carbon storage to protection of water supplies. Meanwhile many other sectors have a potential impact on biodiversity, whether transport, energy or mining. Data and information on biodiversity can therefore be of as great an importance to decision making in these sectors as is it in the biodiversity sector. The difference this time is that the case for taking account of impacts on biodiversity is rather less well understood, and the need for effective communication is rather higher. 122

205. There are some well established and successful examples of cross-sectoral coordination relevant for the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, some fixed term with time-bound mandates, and others ongoing. These include, for example, between the MEAs the following (all except the first being described further in Annex I): 122

206. Meanwhile there are other examples of coordinatory bodies within the UN system, again not usually specifically focus on the science-policy interface, but certainly relevant to if appropriate issues are brought to their attention: 123


207. In a way the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), aimed at reducing poverty, improving the quality people's lives and ensuring environmental sustainability, draw attention to cross-sectoral needs in achievement of targets on which partnerships are formed and policy responses formulated for progress towards sustainable development, especially in developing countries, and which involve cooperation across intergovernmental organisations (WHO, UNDP, UNEP, the World Bank), MEA secretariats, international NGOs, and global and regional business groupings. Substantial constraints similar to those faced by MEA implementation in developing countries apply to meeting MDGs at national level. They include poor integration of environment and development policies, lack of horizontal structures for inter-ministerial consultation and cooperation, and the lack of regional framework to coordinate sharing of experience from implementation and new policy responses. 123

208. There also exist a range of specific and ad hoc cross-sectoral institutional arrangements between various different UN bodies and agencies. For example, the joint work of WHO and UNEP regarding the interrelations between ecosystems and human health. Following the MA findings highlighting the link between the quality of ecosystems and human health, WHO and UNEP jointly agreed to use these recommendations as basis to inform policy in a cross-sectoral spirit. Since then, regional policy fora at ministerial level have discussed the issue involving ministers responsible for both health and environment. The initiation and consolidation of such coordination mechanisms within the UN that bring science together to inform policy have the potential to foster synergetic national policies both on health and the environment. 123

209. The Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE), was established under the World Trade Organization (WTO), with a twofold broad mandate: to identify the relationship between trade and environmental measures, and to make appropriate recommendations in harmonising WTO rules with the principle of sustainable development. The CTE has greatly contributed to the identification and understanding of the complex relationships between trade, environmental and development measures such as seen in the Doha Round. The Committee co-operates with international organisations and leading international NGOs in building capacity of developing countries to manage WTO negotiations on environmental services. However, it would appear that the CTE still has a relatively low profile with WTO, and this may explain why current limited progress towards environmental policy and action remains. 123


210. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) aims to provide a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies, with a particular focus on democracy and the market economy. The OECD Working Group on Economic Aspects of Biodiversity (WGEAB) has been actively working with the CBD on issues such as incentive measures and access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, and also on valuation. Working together the CBD and OECD can approach an issue from different perspectives, and communicate support on addressing issues at the national level through different channels, increasing cross-sectoral reach 124

211. However, despite these and many other coordination and networking efforts there are still considerable gaps in cross-sectoral coordination relevant to interfacing science and policy at the global level, and these are almost certainly reflected at the national level in many parts of the world. Key concerns that lack of coordination can bring about are: 124

212. In fact the currently ongoing discussions on REDD provide an interesting example of the need for cross-sectoral collaboration and coordination, because of the opportunities for synergies it brings. As is described further in Annex V in improving conservation and management of tropical forests there is potential to simultaneously address not only the carbon agenda of the UNFCCC, but also biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, poverty and human livelihoods, water conservation and quality management, and so on. Annex V describes some of this evolving collaboration, in particular as it relates to the science-policy interface. 124

B.10.4 Coordination at and across levels of governance 124


213. Although levels of governance overlap and interlink in many ways, they are essentially different. Institutional arrangements are considerably influenced by a range of scale-dependent features, including: differences in the broader socio-economic and political setting in which institutional arrangements operate; differences in the policy instruments and compliance systems available; and differences in the type of knowledge systems that actors use. In other words, depending on the level at which particular aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services are addressed, the types of problems that can be addressed, the actors involved, the modes of explanation that are needed, and the solutions that are likely to come about will change significantly. 124

214. Given the multi-level nature of biodiversity and ecosystem services, effective governance has to accommodate different concepts and principles at each level, and at the same time provide a conceptual and institutional framework that allows for coherence across levels to reduce redundancies, gaps and mismatches on the one hand, and to increase synergies on the other. 124

215. Scientific advisory bodies and processes at national, regional and global level are central elements in such a conceptual and institutional framework, fostering networking, coordination and orchestration across levels of governance, potentially providing the mechanisms not only for the coordination of the interface between science and policy at a given level and context, but also in terms of the nodes in a network of science-policy interfaces necessary for the constant dialogue and translation from national to global scale. 125

216. It is worth noting her that coordination between levels should be seen not only in terms of working together to apply processes (e.g. indicators, assessments, data capture) that are meaningful in a cross-scalar way, and the associated guidelines, tools, and so on, but also in terms of people interrelating so that lessons are learnt, and moves towards consistency are made. The positive benefit of people working together should not be under-estimated. 125


217. There is a range of different institutional arrangements engaged, at least in part, in interfacing science and policy at regional and national levels. Relevant institutions at the regional level include a set of regional intergovernmental bodies such as the ASEAN-ACB, AU/STRC, CCAD, CEC, EEA, the regional offices of ICSU, which assisting in strengthening science and capacity-building in developing countries and promoting their increased participation in ICSU programmes and activities, and regional information networks such IABIN and others. Relevant institutions at the national level include the various MEA focal points, relevant government agencies and other national non-state actors. 125

218. However, despite this range of different institutional arrangements at global, regional and national levels, arrangements that coordinate (or network) the range of institutions at a given level are still largely missing, especially in many parts of lesser developed areas of the world. This may in part be due to the lack of a widely accepted conceptual and institutional framework for systematically and coherently addressing the different levels of governance and the interrelations in between them in and adequate manner. 125

219. There are no globally concerted efforts to systematically address the coordination of the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services across scales. Partial approaches that exist include: 125

220. Each of these is an example that can be built upon and promoted further. 125

B.11. Providing Fundamental Capacity 125

Finding #6. Numerous institutions and processes are helping to build capacity to use science effectively in decision-making at all levels. Further efforts, however, are required to integrate multiple disciplines and knowledge systems to produce relevant knowledge effectively; to translate knowledge into policy action and to coordinate these processes; and to build the capacities of developing countries to use science more effectively in decision-making and to participate fully in the science-policy dialogue. 125


221. The capacity for enabling full, equitable and active participation of all relevant stakeholders and knowledge-holders is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their governance. But capacity is constantly changing and evolving, and capacity-building, be it at individual, institutional or systemic levels, is inherently a continuous effort. Providing the capacity fundamental for an effective science-policy interface requires at least the following three aspects be addressed: 125

222. Two issues are addressed further in this section, the broad need for building capacity for interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge production and the more effective brokering of knowledge, and the critical concern of geographical differences in capacity. 126

Improved production and use of knowledge 126



Finding #6.1. Notwithstanding continuing efforts and improvements in capacity building supporting the various processes of interfacing science and policy, there remains a significant and widespread lack of capacity in interdisciplinary approaches for knowledge production relevant to biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being and governance that draw upon a variety of knowledge systems. 126

223. In an earlier section it was noted that an analysis of interdisciplinary scientific assessment for environmental governance emphasized the mismatch between the emerging understandings of the complexity of reality, the ways scientists were coming to understand this complexity, and the way science connects to politics, policy, and management. 126

224. It would therefore appear that there are significant gaps in capacity for using interdisciplinary approaches for knowledge production relevant to biodiversity and ecosystem services for human well-being and governance. At individual, institutional or systemic level there is need to improve the capacity to approach the production of knowledge in more interdisciplinary terms, in particular as concerns: 126

225. Such efforts should build on and learn from the existing interdisciplinary approaches gradually being discussed and developed within a number of the organizations already referred to in this paper, and also adding to their capability and potential. 126



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