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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

a) Coordination amongst those responsible for building the common knowledge base, and between them and those wanting to use the knowledge base, helps to ensure a more relevant, more credible and more legitimate knowledge base, more efficiently produced with fewer gaps and duplications. 120

b) Coordination amongst those drawing on the knowledge base and informing policy helps to ensure that a more consistent use is made of science in informing policy (including speaking with one voice), and a more coordinated approach to identifying the implications of different options. 120

c) Coordination amongst those helping to build capacity, whether by developing tools and standards, or by facilitation and training, inevitably leads to a more efficient use of resources in building capacity, and hopefully also to a more consistent and integrated approach to using science in development and implementation of policy. 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

a) Indicators: The 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership is providing a degree of coordination across those organizations working on biodiversity indicators, bringing together UN initiatives, MEAs, IGOs, international active NGOs and university scientists. 120

b) Long term research: The International Long Term Ecological Research network is promoting and facilitating site-based research and monitoring programmes, drawing on the experience of research sites and networks in a wide range of member countries, and the scientists that work there. 120

c) Access to data: The GEO Biodiversity Observation Network and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility are both working with a wide range of organizations to facilitate increased access to biodiversity data so that it can be more easily used. 120

d) Research policy: Policy research platforms such as the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy provide fora at which natural and social scientists, policy-makers and other stakeholders identify structure and focus the strategically important research for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. 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

a) Biodiversity Liaison Group (BLG): The purpose of the BLG, which consists of the heads of the secretariats of the global biodiversity-related agreements, is to enhance coherence and cooperation in the implementation of those conventions in general. In summary, the BLG has addressed a small number of items related to the conventions’ use of science, such as the 2010 biodiversity target and the related 2010 biodiversity indicators, and the use of standardized species nomenclature and taxonomy. It has also discussed possible ways for all participating MEAs to contribute to related activities, such as the Global Biodiversity Outlook. It has therefore provided some of the impetus for ensuring a more coordinated approach to issues where there are strong scientific interests, and could potentially so more in the future. 121


b) Meetings of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions: These can be seen as complementary to those of the BLG, from which they have been mandated. The first meeting in 2007 and was attended by representatives of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), IUCN, UNFCCC, UNEP, the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, and WWF International in addition to representatives of CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar Convention and World Heritage Convention. These meetings provide a forum for initiating discussion on areas of cooperation and collaboration on the scientific issues of the various convention processes and their translation into policy. The meetings so far have identified a small number of issues where the biodiversity-related conventions could cooperate in improving the scientific advice to their bodies and to Parties, including mapping the guidance developed by the individual conventions and coordination in the requests for scientific advice on various topics. 121


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

a) Synthesis and review: The Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) is an interdisciplinary worldwide network of natural and social scientists and scientific institutions focused on environmental issues, using workshops and consultations to provide synthesis and review on current and potential environmental issues intended to help inform policy and decision making. 121

b) Research: The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is a network of more than 1600 scientists from 200 institutions which coordinates and promotes marine research on the marine environment in the North Atlantic. Their advice supports, amongst other things, policy development on fisheries (discussed in more detail in Annex W) and implementation of the OSPAR Convention. 121

c) Access to data: ReefBase, which is a project of the WorldFish Centre, works with a wide range of coral reef scientists and institutions to improve the sharing and use of data, information and knowledge in support of research and management of coral reefs. In doing so it works actively with both the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and the International Coral Reef Action Network. 122


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

a) Inland waters: There is agreement between the CBD and the Ramsar Convention regarding how they cooperate on the issue of inland waters, leading to coordinated programming and decision making, and to a certain extent collaboration on how science is used to support these processes. 122

b) Species taxonomies: There is agreement between CITES and CMS to work towards standardization in species taxonomies so as to move away from the current situation where the taxonomies used differ. This will include jointly approaching relevant scientists for advice, and drawing on the same literature. 122

c) Wildlife diseases: The Ramsar Convention, CMS and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) all support and participate in the work of the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, with the strong endorsement of their governing bodies. 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

a) An Ad hoc Technical Expert Groups on Biodiversity and Climate Change established under the CBD to provide biodiversity related information to the UNFCCC through the provision of scientific and technical advice and assessment on the integration of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, in particularly as regards the mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) currently being discussed in the context of the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol (see also Annex Von REDD). 122

b) The Joint Liaison Group (JLG), a joint body of the CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD, established in 2001 as an informal forum for exchanging information, exploring opportunities for synergistic activities and increasing coordination. The JLG comprises the officers of the conventions’ scientific subsidiary bodies, the Executive Secretaries, and members of the secretariats. In summary, the JLG of the Rio Conventions has addressed a wide range of issues of relevance to the three conventions, including several relating to the coordination of scientific advice, such as collaboration among the scientific advisory bodies to the conventions, and cooperation in the development of advice, methodologies and tools (see Annex I). 123

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

a) The Environmental Management Group (EMG), a UN System-wide coordination body established under the auspices of UNEP to serve as a platform (i) to identify, address and resolve collectively specific problems, issues and tasks on the environmental and human settlements agenda and (ii) to provide a forum for an early discussion and sharing of information on emerging problems and issues in the field of environment and human settlements geared at finding collectively the most effective coordinated approach to the solution of new tasks (see Annex I). 123

b) The UN Chief Executives Board (CEB), which furthers coordination and cooperation on a whole range of substantive and management issues facing UN system organizations. CEB has established three High Level Committees, including the High Level Committee on Programme (HLCP) promoting global policy coherence and the UN Development Group (UNDG) promotes coherent and effective oversight, provision of guidance and capacity building with country level partners, coordination of UN development operations at country level (see Annex I). 123

c) The Common County Assessment/UN Development Assistance Framework processes, which aims to bring about a more coordinated UN approach to supporting achievement of national objectives within each country. Under which UNEP and UNDP have started to assist developing countries in preparing national reports on the implementation of MEAs; establishing thematic committees and coordinating; and sharing best practices among bodies using GEF funding such as the National Capacity Self-Assessments (NCSA), the National Dialogue Initiative and UNDP Country Support Programme. 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

a) the sometimes ad hoc and late in time nature of such interrelationships, as in the case of cross-sectoral collaboration related to REDD; 124




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