Archive for the ‘International Policy’ Category

The IPCC at gunpoint

Monday, February 1st, 2010

A recent article in The Economist reports on some unverified assertions concerning the future of himalayan glaciers having made their way into the latest IPCC report. They give details on the review process and some of its failings. The issue is giving yet more weight to those who are willing to maintain the status quo and not look into mitigation and adaptation options seriously. Just look at the comments and judge for youself. Note that the comments tell as much about the readership of The Economist as about the opposing sides of the debate…

The IPCC has replied to its critiques. You can read their statement here (pdf)

IPBS: It’s all about the “how”!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The IPBS had its second ad-hoc meeting in Nairobi on 5-9 October. Participants in the meeting shared some of their thoughts on the event in last week’s Open Science Conference by DIVERSITAS in Cape Town.

They said that everyone agreed an IPBES was needed and that hopefully the IPBES would be launched in September 2010, at the UN General Assembly. Note that 2010 is also the international year of biodiversity – can’t hurt!

However, the concrete functioning of an IPBS platform wasn’t agreed upon. It seems that it would be intergovernmental and anchored to UNEP. Being intergovernmental, national governments will be the #1 entry point into the IPBES process and effective lobbying will be essential. Speakers at Diversitas mentionned that unfortunately, participants were not necessarily well informed of the issues at stake. Their point was that the scientific community could do a better job of providing input to their country representatives.

Other questions on stand-by relate to the scientific advisory committee of the IPBS (i.e. will it have one?), its role beyond serving international conventions (can it actually provide information to national governments, civil society or the private sector?), how knowledge will be framed to make it relevant and more. These questions are all about “how”!

How you craft the policy-science interface – the platform’s governance – is key. It will be negotiated at the third and final meeting (perhaps in April 2010).

If all goes well, a clear separation will be set up between governments who request knowledge and information, and the scientific community who will have to collect and synthesize all the information, in a non-prescriptive format, for countries to decide upon. If the science gets politicized, the whole platform will be a waste of time.