Report

Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface: A gap analysis

Responding to United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council decision 27/2 and United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) 1 resolution 1/ 4, United Nations Environment Programme is ready to launch its new study called: Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface: A gap analysis.

The world is increasingly faced with 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. Science and policy are at a crossroads. The interface needs to be framed by an effective and efficient governance structure to promote better interaction between the two. This intersection can be facilitated by operational knowledge from non-state actors. A dynamic science-policy interface can be a core instrument to support well-informed decision making on the environment while also engaging the right actors in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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

  • Providing a summary of the characteristics of an effective science-policy interface.
  • Identifying the gaps found in practice in science-policy interfaces.
  • Providing practical steps that the Member States and international organizations 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.

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.