Mapping the Current Understanding of Biodiversity Science–Policy Interfaces

In Managing Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes for Sustainable Communities in Asia
Chapter: Chapter 8

This chapter contributes to improve an understanding of the effectiveness of different biodiversity science-policy interfaces (SPIs), which play a vital role in navigating policies and actions with sound evidence base. The single comprehensive study that was found to exist, assessed SPIs in terms of their ‘features’—goals, structure, process, outputs and outcomes. We conducted a renewed systematic review of 96 SPI studies in terms of these features, but separating outcomes, as a proxy for effectiveness, from other features. Outcomes were considered in terms of their perceived credibility, relevance and legitimacy. SPI studies were found to focus mostly on global scale SPIs, followed by national and regional scale SPIs and few at subnational or local scale. The global emphasis is largely explained by the numerous studies that focused on the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Regionally, the vast majority of studies were European, with a severe shortage of studies, and possibly SPIs themselves, in especially the developing world. Communication at the science-policy interface was found to occur mostly between academia and governments, who were also found to initiate most communication. Certain themes emerged across the different features of effective SPIs, including capacity building, trust building, adaptability and continuity. For inclusive, meaningful and continuous participation in biodiversity SPIs, continuous, scientifically sound and adaptable processes are required. Effective, interdisciplinary SPIs and timely and relevant inputs for policymakers are required to ensure more dynamic, iterative and collaborative interactions between policymakers and other actors.