Sustainability Science Program

Linking Knowledge with Action for Sustainable Development

American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting

14 February 2009

One of the biggest challenges in sustainable development concerns how to bring science and technology to bear in solving coupled human-environmental problems. One institutional approach used to link science, knowledge and policy is through the use of "boundary organizations," a concept well articulated and researched in numerous empirical studies in western democratic contexts. Most research on boundary organizations has focused on rather simple relationships between producers of scientific knowledge and unitary decision-makers. The problems associated with sustainable development, however, pose different types of challenges for boundary organizations, raising questions about their suitability and effectiveness in bringing science to bear for sustainable natural resource management in the developing world. Sustainable development is a knowledge intensive activity, requiring the aggregation of multiple forms of knowledge, involving numerous actors working across multiple scales, and is often characterized by significant power and knowledge asymmetries between actors. How well does our western understanding of boundary organizations inform the type of institutions necessary to produce and integrate useful scientific information into sustainable development practices in the developing world? This session will offer insight gained from empirical research in natural resource management problems in both agroforestry and livestock management in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Chicago, IL

Organized by:
Elizabeth C McNie, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Elizabeth McNie, Purdue University
Linking Knowledge with Action for Sustainable Development [slides]

Meine van Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Center; Elisabeth McNie, Purdue University; Delia Catacutan, Harvard University; Niken Sakuntaladewi, World Agroforestry Centre; and William C. Clark, Harvard University
Linking Context and Mechanism to Action: Forests, Trees, Water, Conflict and Climate Change in Asian Uplands [slides]

Delia Catacutan, Harvard University
Linking knowledge with action: typologies and dynamics of boundary organizations for compensation and rewards for environmental services in Asia and Africa [slides]

Niken Sakuntaladewi and Meine van Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Centre and Elizabeth McNie, Purdue University
Boundary Organization and Sustainable Development - Lessons from the South [slides]

Thomas P. Tomich, Todd S. Rosenstock, University of California at Davis
Climate Challenges/Working Landscapes: Crossing science-policy-society boundaries [slides]


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