Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface: A gap analysis

  • 05th January 2018
  • by secretary

2 -3 December 2017. Nairobi. UNEP launched a new study called: Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface: a Gap Analysis (134 pages)

The report was launched during the Science Policy Business Forum, held in Nairobi from the 2nd to the 3rd of December 2017. The key findings will be presented to the Member States during the 4th Global authors meeting of the Global Environment Outlook-6, taking place from the 19th to the 23rd of February 2018 in Singapore.

The world is increasingly faced with climate and environmental challenges which are exacerbated by an absence of coordination among different actors around the globe. In a global political context where scientific evidence is not often understood or used by policy-makers, there is a growing disconnect that has emerged, which not only dismisses, but excludes opportunities for collaboration.

As the knowledge on effective science-policy work has grown over the last decades, it has driven an evolution in the practice of science-policy activities. This evolution has been catalyzed through the innovation and experimentation of the leading actors in science-policy interfaces.

the Science Policy Interface has evolved in 3 main ways:

  1. From identifying problems to uptake of solutions. 
  2. Dealing with wider audiences and divergent viewpoints.
  3. Increasing effective exchange of evidence.

Although there have been some improvements in the interface, some critical gaps still exist which discourage an effective evidence informed decision making process in the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This report aims to identify new ways to improve environmental policy making and the science-policy interface by:

  1. Providing a summary of the characteristics of an effective science-policy interface.
  2. Identifying the gaps found in practice in science-policy interfaces.
  3. Providing practical steps that Member States and international organisations can take to fill these gaps

The report addresses the existing gap in collaboration between scientists and policymakers, and how closing it could protect this planet and its people. It also suggests that non-state actors can be more closely involved in policy design. This might include businesses, city networks and non-governmental organizations who understand what’s involved in implementing specific policies. Finally, it highlights the importance of making high-quality scientific data readily available to the right people.

United Nations Environment programme hopes that scientists, policy makers and decision makers from industry and civil society, will use the new tools and approaches in this report to create a better future for all of us.