GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PROJECT: Publications

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Biermann, Frank. 1999. "Big Science, Small Impacts -- in the South? The Influence of International Environmental Information Institutions on Policy-making in India." Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Paper E-99-12. Cambridge, MA: Environment and Natural Resources Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Abstract

Environmental policy-making is the art of taking right decisions based on insufficient knowledge of the underlying issues. To help decision-makers cope with this uncertainty, transnational networks of experts have been offering numerous assessments of the state of knowledge, often advertised as consensus of “international science”. These networks—such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—could be understood as international institutions that provide governments and non-governmental actors information both on the state of the environment and on policy options. Substantial social science research has already analyzed the effects of such institutions on industrialized countries; this study explores their influence in India as a pivotal developing country. It appears that although information institutions did not remain entirely ineffective in India, their effect is still limited, among others by low prominence of global environmental issues on the Indian national agenda, by lack of independent research capacity regarding such issues within India, and by lack of participation of Southern experts in these institutions. It is proposed to address these limitations by increasing the usefulness and legitimacy of environmental information institutions in the South through stronger consideration of the socioeconomic context of developing countries and other Southern concerns and interests; by increasing participation of Southern experts; by enhancing research capacities in the South; and by ensuring that information institutions are organized as self-adaptive processes, such as IPCC, and not as one-shot effort, such as the Global Biodiversity Assessment.


Subsequent History

· Subsequent work published as BCSIA discussion paper (Abstract)
New Citation: Biermann, Frank. 2000. "Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations: Global Environmental Assessments Between North and South." Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Paper 2000-17. Cambridge, MA: Environment and Natural Resources Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
· Revised version published in the Global Governance journal (Abstract)
New Citation: Biermann, Frank. 2002. "Institutions for Scientific Advice: Global Environmental Assessments and Their Influence in Developing Countries." Global Governance 8(2): 195-219.
· Revised version published in the Global Environmental Change journal (Abstract)
New Citation: Biermann, Frank. 2001. "Big Science, Small Impacts--In the South? The Influence of Global Environmental Assessments on Expert Communities in India." Global Environmental Change 11(4): 297-309.

 

 
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