Connolly, Barbara, Alex Farrell, Wendy Franz, Jill Jaeger, Terry Keating, Robert O. Keohane, Ronald B. Mitchell, and Stacy VanDeveer. 1998. "Institutions Working Group Theme Paper: Information and Governance." 1997-1998 GEA Working Paper. Cambridge, MA: Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
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Global environmental assessments involve social processes, conducted largely within international institutions, that may create socially legitimate knowledge: statements about scientific causality, and impacts on human society that are widely accepted as valid. This working group seeks to understand how assessments, understood in this way, affect political agendas, shared knowledge, state policies, and other possible outcomes. We want to identify how the institutions responsible for assessments differ from other types of international institutions; how they reflect the context in which they develop; and what impacts these international informational institutions (III's) have. We are particularly interested in the critiques of outside scholars, and practitioners, assembled in Bar Harbor. We hope to be able to use insights from other issue-areas, such as trade regimes, as well as environmental issues not covered by GEA research to date, to broaden and deepen our understanding of the information-legitimizing role of assessments in contemporary environmental institutions. We also hope to provide a introduction to and foundation for the second stage of the Bar Harbor workshop, particularly the working group addressing the "Science/Policy Interface and The Role of Participation in Assessment Processes."
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