Center for Research on Environment, Human Security & Governance
RESEARCH-POLICY INTERACTION DAY
Special Call for Decision-makers
The "Research-Policy Interaction Day” of the Conference is designed to foster exchange and interaction between two categories of relevant actors (that is, researchers and decision-makers) at the heart of the Conference's objectives. By organizing the “Research-Policy Interaction Day” and bringing together researchers, experts, ministries, operating professional and development organizations, NGOs, advisory and support services, the Interaction Day aims to reinforce the collaboration between the scientific sphere and the practical sphere. To this end, decision-makers will benefit from a free access to Conference materials and sessions.
The world’s climate is currently changing and will continue to change at an unprecedented rate. The associated risks are real but remain for the time-being highly uncertain. Yet, such risks have been accurately identified in many sectors like agriculture, forests, fisheries that constitute the livelihoods of the majority of people in developing countries, especially in rural areas. Based on these facts, all societies are urgently invited to enhance their adaptive capacity to face both present and future climate change impacts outside their experienced coping range.
Observed climate change, present day climate variability and future expectations of change are shifting the course of development strategies. In this context, the challenges are posed in terms of identification of policy relevant tipping elements in the climate system. But, how do we decide which challenge represents the greatest –and urgent– threat to society and, therefore, need the greatest –and urgent– political attention?
Additionally, different sources of information about climate change related issues are currently available: IPCC reports, studies on specific regions countries and systems (academic studies, commissioned reports, modeling of specific systems), etc. But what kind of inputs these information sources provide for regional, national and sub-national projections? Do they inform only on climate variables or on its impacts too?
The questions of communicating research needs, of making available and approachable scientific knowledge but also of treating and communicating uncertainty about climate change are crucial for decision and policy-makers.
The global debate on the underlying factors and impacts of global warming neatly illustrates the difficult interaction between the science and policy spheres with regards to uncertainty and arbitrariness. In this perspective, three ideal-type models of scientific expertise for policy-making are competing:
- Decisionist model defends the idea of a strict separation between the political leaders and the experts and inverts the relationship between expertise and politics. The objective of the decisionist model is to have clear accountabilities. Yet, in this model, politics come first and prevail over expertise. The experts are only a means to an end.
- Technocracy model (evidence-based) which supposes the preeminence of science and its key role for decision-making. This model aims to make politics more rational and efficient. It takes into account that the growth of scientific knowledge and technological inventions is faster than the process of political decision-making and that the politicians cannot understand all these complex issues. Only the experts are capable of assessing the underlying issues.
- Reflexive model is a critique of both models. It considers that policy-problems cannot be solved by sound science and scientific evidence alone, but at the same time it dismisses the possibility of a strict and clear division between values and scientific facts, between power and truth. Reflexive model argues that regulatory decisions stem from the interaction between policy and science in a social, political and cultural context. Critical interdependence and permanent communication between experts and politicians and the public are highly privileged.
Thus, strategic coordination including exchange of information, methodologies and tools between experts and institutions working on climate and development is essential for improving the sustainability of development. Some domains - like disaster risk management - already offer interesting experiences of synergies between policy, science, and practical methodologies.
In this context the “Research-policy Interaction Day” tends to:
- enhanced exchange about relevant climate change issues which need a close collaboration between science and decision-makers
- analyze relevant constraints to functioning exchange between the scientific and practical sphere and learn from best practices
- define areas where closer collaboration is needed in the future.
DISCUSSION HOT ISSUES
The “Research-Policy Interaction Day” will provide the opportunity for scientists and decision-makers both from Northern and Southern countries to share their experiences on following hot issues:
- Climate change policy achievements
- Comprehensive strategies for climate resilient development
- National and regional planning and climate change
- Policy relevant tipping points for developing countries
- Climate risk assessment
- Climate change adaptation and natural resources/ quality of ecosystem; concepts: Payment for Environmental Services (PES) and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
NB. Provisional Program of the Research-Policy Interaction Day is currently under construction.