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b) the lack of sufficient reference to socio-economic perspectives in discussion on biodiversity and ecosystem services on a regular basis, and the lack of reference to the relevance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in other sectors even when biodiversity is directly relevant; 124

c) the lack of full understanding of the value of biodiversity, a gap that is partly addressed by, for example, ongoing follow-up to the MA at the sub-global level and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project; and 124


d) the small scope and relatively low priority of environmental issues as compared to development and trade related issues in discussions at all levels. 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

a) thematic approaches, such as the MA and its follow-up, which are supporting and guiding processes which involve a range of sub-global activities, with the guidance provided helping moves towards the outputs and outcomes being cross-scalar in nature; 125

b) regional approaches, such as the EPBRS on development of research strategies, or SEBI2010 which is working toward indicators scalable from national to regional level, both of which are intended to increase collaboration and understanding across scales; and 125

c) functional approaches, such as moves to create distributed databases, and tools that draw on data and information from across a range of scales, as is the case with GBIF, for example, working with a wide range of data at national and institutional levels. 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

a) the capacity for the production of relevant knowledge to contribute to the common knowledge base, and for the effective communication of this knowledge to decision makers and larger public; 125

b) the capacity for effective use of this knowledge and other knowledge in the formulation of and critical reflection on policy choices and their implementation; and 125

c) the capacity for effectively brokering knowledge so that it is used appropriately in decision making, including through identification of implications of different policy options. 126


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

a) capacity of individuals to address complex phenomena in an interdisciplinary manner, reflecting the need for more interdisciplinary understanding to be taught and practiced; and 126

b) institutional capacity to encourage and allow for scientists and other knowledge holders to collaborate, promoting collective and discursive learning and knowledge-producing processes. 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

226. It was also identified earlier that there was a need for the scientific community to go beyond the presentation of scientifically unambiguous statements of status and trends, and engage more actively in policy analysis facilitating the creation of new and innovative policy alternatives along with expression of the implications of those alternatives where that is possible. There is therefore also a need for a more systematic approach to ensuring capacity at all levels to interpret and broker knowledge in the interface between science and policy. This would suggest that: 126

a) training and practice is also needed to develop interpretation and knowledge brokering skills in researchers and relevant staff in government departments and agencies; and 126

b) tools and needed to which support and enable all relevant actors to broker knowledge and interface science and policy need to be developed. 126


227. To some extent such needs are being addressed by existing institutions such as ICSU (see Annex J) and the MA and its follow-up strategy (see Annex B). Interdisciplinarity and knowledge brokering are also key elements of the proposed GRAME and UNEP’s proposed science strategy. However, many of these efforts have been ad hoc and one off, and are limited in scope or resources, and a more systematic approach to build capacity building on interdisciplinarity and knowledge brokering is needed. 126

B.11.1 The North-South capacity divide 126

228. There are many institutions, programmes and processes supporting capacity building in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, including UNDP, the World Bank, UNEP and FAO, GEF and a wide range of other multilateral and bilateral development assistance agencies, most of the MEAs, as well as some assessment processes. For example: 127

a) The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which describes how UN agencies and programmes working at the national level can coherently respond to the priorities identified in national development frameworks supporting countries in achieving MDG-related national priorities; 127

b) The UNEP Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building, providing for a framework and systematic measures for technological support and capacity building based on national or regional priorities and needs, 127

c) The UNDP/GEF National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) programme for environmental management, established to identify capacity needs of developing countries to effectively meet the challenges of national and global sustainable development and environmental governance, and to strategically enhance their capacity 127


229. Many of these and other capacity-building efforts relate to strengthening of abilities also relevant for the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Other initiatives include the work of ICSU and the MA follow up strategy referred to in the previous section. However, despite these efforts, there remain significant gaps in capacity relevant for the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services in developing countries, and the capacity divide continues to be a severe obstacle to equitable participation of developing countries and those with economies under transition in the processes relevant to the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. 127

230. According to a review of a representative sample of completed National Capacity Self Assessments (NCSAs), a significant number of developing countries continue to lack among other things the personal and institutional capacity: 127

a) for effective reconciliation of demand and supply of policy relevant scientific knowledge, as they often lack academies of sciences or scientific councils vital to provide guidance and coordination for the identification of knowledge needs, and research programmes; 127

b) for effective production of policy relevant scientific knowledge, as they often lack sufficient individual, institutional and financial capacity for conducting research, show gaps in inventory data collection and documentation, and have inadequate management and assessment of knowledge and information; 127

c) to effectively communicate knowledge to decision makers and larger public, including the lack of institutional capacity for assessing and contributing to policy-making effectively, and lack of institutional frameworks that incorporate all stakeholders; and 127

d) to effectively use knowledge in formulation policy choices and implementation, as they often lack sufficient individual, institutional and financial capacity to understand and effectively use provided knowledge. 127


231. The analysis of existing capacity-building efforts suggests that the gaps related to capacity for building and effectively using the science in policy setting and decision making rest at least in part on: 127

a) a lack of focus and priority providing clearer definition of the knowledge and research needed, clearer understanding of how this will support decision making, and increased priority afforded to capacity development in these areas; 127

b) insufficient long-term capacity building strategies established to support long-term processes of sustainably building capacity needed to fully engage in all relevant processed interfacing science and policy reaching from public education, to research programmes, to specific training of decision-makers; but above all 128

c) a lack of coordination among existing capacity building efforts on the priorities and objectives identified to enhance the capacity needed to fully engage in all relevant processed interfacing science and policy. 128



232. The pronounced lack of capacity in developing countries has considerable implications for the effectiveness of the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Not only does this affect the decision making processes at the national level, and ability to, for example, fully and effectively implement MEAs at the national level (see for example Annex U on CBD national biodiversity strategies and action plans), it also reduces national potential to contribute to the common knowledge base, and potentially also to fully participate in scientific advisory bodies and process at regional and global levels. 128

233. More profoundly, in an international governance system that aims to rely on scientific knowledge to make political claims through scientific advisory bodies and processes, developing country can be disadvantaged with respect to the expression and negotiation of their environmental perspectives and interests. Given that the legitimacy of the global environmental processes seems to be a major concern of many developing countries, this underlines the absolute importance of ensuring an equitable capacity of all relevant stakeholder and knowledge holders. 128

A. International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity consultative process 191


234. Following the International Conference Biodiversity: Science and Governance held January 2005, in Paris, France, an international consultation process was launched to assess the need, scope and possible forms of an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB). An Executive Secretariat was established, and an Executive Committee and an International Steering Committee, including representatives of a range of key stakeholders, were appointed to guide and support the process. 191

235. Between February 2006 and November 2007, the consultative process included six regional meetings, case studies, briefings, presentations and discussions at numerous other scientific and policy meetings, written input from a wide range of other sources, and dialogue with a number of stakeholders. The final statement that was delivered by the International Steering Committee in November 2007, identifies the following needs: 191

a) The need for independent scientific expertise: independent, synthetic, comprehensive information to support the needs of MEAs, proactive scientific input on emerging threats and issues, increased ability at all levels to predict the consequences of current actions, and insights from the relevant sciences and other forms of knowledge to inform local/national decisions on topical issues; 191

b) The need for more capacity: mobilizing scientific expertise for local national and regional level capacity building, and improving understanding of the factors affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services; and 191

c) The need for improved communication: enhancing understanding of how to use science, improving access to science so that it can be more effectively used in decision-making, promoting increased dialogue among diverse knowledge systems, and identifying research priorities and gaps identified by decision-makers’ concerns. 191

a) be scientifically credible, politically legitimate, and policy relevant without being policy prescriptive, responding to policy needs identified by decision making organs at multiple scales; 191

b) be supported by a network of scientific and national capacities and by capacity building integrated into the assessment process and/or networking efforts, and promote dialogue between international agencies and decision-makers; and 191

c) be flexible and pragmatic, building on what already exists, and involving all relevant stakeholders across multiple scales. 191

A.1. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment follow-up process 192



1. Following completion of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) in 2005, and taking account of the recommendations of two independent evaluations of the MA conducted in 2006 and 2007, a global strategy for follow-up to the MA has been developed in 2007 by a group of interested partner organizations. 192

237. Both evaluations reported that the MA’s technical objective of assessing the capacity of ecosystems to support human well-being proved both innovative and far-reaching. The emphasis on ecosystem services and their significance for human well-being was widely recognized as having made a major contribution to linking biodiversity conservation with poverty alleviation. However, the evaluations also concluded that, at that time, there was little evidence that the MA had had a significant direct impact on policy formulation and decision-making, especially in developing countries. The main reasons were identified as being: 192

a) Limited awareness and understanding of the concept of ecosystem services: Ecosystem services are a new concept to most decision makers, and as a result, there is limited capacity to apply the ecosystem services framework and work proactively on incorporating ecosystem service considerations into development strategies. 192

b) Lack of operational tools and methodologies: There was limited availability of working models that could be used readily by policy-makers to analyze ecosystem services and their trade-offs with development policies and resource allocations. 192

c) Limited economic analysis: The MA fell short of providing convincing economic values of ecosystem services, and in particular of the regulating and cultural services which could be used to evaluate the trade-offs with conventional development strategies. 192

d) Insufficient attention to Sub-Global Assessments: Very few developing country sub-global assessments (SGAs) were adequately funded, resulting in the significantly varying quality of the SGA products and a lack of comparability across the sub-global assessments. 192

e) Gaps in ecosystem services knowledge base: More needs to be known about the interdependence of ecological and social systems for human well-being, including the way ecosystems function, their response to human pressure, and the relationship to biodiversity. Few ecosystem services, other than those traded in markets, are routinely monitored. 192

f) Lack of periodic assessments: No permanent body or process exists to conduct periodic assessments of the status of ecosystem services, nor to monitor and track changes in ecosystem services and the impacts of these changes on human well-being. 192


238. The Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) considered the implications of the MA for the work of the Convention (decisions VIII/9 and IX/15), and, inter alia, requested the Executive Secretary, and invited Parties and other Governments, to contribute actively to the implementation of the global strategy for follow-up to the MA aimed at addressing knowledge gaps, promoting sub-global assessments, promoting application of the MA framework, methodologies and findings, and outreach. 192

239. Addressing the identified needs, this strategy provides a roadmap to operationalize the MA. The strategy offers a common framework for partner organizations to enhance their collaboration in the implementation of MA related activities thereby maximising their impact in a coordinated and coherent manner. Guided by the findings of the evaluations and the discussions at the CBD COP, the MA follow-up process has elaborated a detailed strategic approach pursuing a four objective ‘global strategy for turning knowledge into action’: 192

a) continuing to build and improve the knowledge base on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, and human well-being, primarily by supporting and improving ongoing, and further establishing sub-global assessments; 192

b) promoting the systematic application of ecosystem service considerations in public, civil society and private sector decision-making – primarily by developing tools for mainstreaming ecosystem services into development and economic decision-making; 193

c) disseminating the findings of the MA and its conceptual framework, tools and methodologies to relevant stakeholders through the development of action-based media strategies and educational tools; and 193

d) exploring the needs, options and modalities for a possible second global ecosystem assessment, complementing existing assessment processes and contributing to the development of a more coherent international environmental assessment landscape. 193




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