KNOWLEDGE & DIPLOMACY

SCIENCE ADVICE IN THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM

Committee for Survey and Analysis of Science Advice on Sustainable Development to International Organizations

Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

The National Academies Press
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System KNOWLEDGE & DIPLOMACY SCIENCE ADVICE IN THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM Committee for Survey and Analysis of Science Advice on Sustainable Development to International Organizations Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES The National Academies Press Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. B2001-24 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Sloan Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08490-3 Copies of this report are available from Policy and Global Affairs, Development, Security and Cooperation Office, The National Academies, 500 5th Street, N.W., Room TN530, Washington, D.C. 20001. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624–6242 or (202) 334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm.A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V.Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm.A.Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System Committee for Survey and Analysis of Science Advice on Sustainable Development to International Organizations Robert A.Frosch, Chair (NAE) Harvard University Calestous Juma Harvard University Phillip M.Smith McGeary & Smith Anne G.K.Solomon Center for Strategic and International Studies Michael P.Greene, Staff Officer John Boright, Deputy Executive Director, Policy and Global Affairs

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System PREFACE In the international effort to advance human health, welfare, and development while better managing and conserving the environment and natural resources, there is a clear and growing recognition of the role of scientific and technical knowledge in global governance. This has created an urgent need for the United Nations to equip itself with the capability to bring scientific knowledge to inform international decision making. The failure to do so could reduce the ability of the United Nations to continue to be a credible player in international diplomacy. One of the key functions of the United Nations is to alert governments to emerging issues of relevance to international cooperation, including scientific issues. This mandate is codified in Article 99 of the UN Charter, which empowers the Secretary-General to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter, which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” Carrying out this task requires continuous access to scientific and technical information, which can be provided in the form of “science advice.” The role of science advice for sustainable development was recognized in Agenda 21, the work program of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Chapter 31 of Agenda 21 on “Scientific and Technological Communities” specifically called upon States to “strengthen science and technology advice to the highest levels of the United Nations and other international institutions, in order to ensure the inclusion of science and technology know-how in sustainable development policies and strategies.” Since the adoption of Agenda 21, there has been a significant increase in awareness of the role of science and technology in sustainable development, adding to the urgency to strengthen the science advice system in the United Nations. Interest in strengthening the role of science advice for sustainable development builds on a long tradition of bringing the latest available scientific results to bear on international decision making. Over the years, the United Nations has developed a variety of methods for providing science advice to (a) governing bodies of organizations such as conventions and treaties; (b) executive heads and senior management groups; (c) program activities and program development; (d) and member governments. There is considerable variety in the composition and modus operandi of the bodies set up to provide science advice. Some activities are carried out through standing bodies (either open to all member countries or limited in size based on rules of traditional practices) or ad hoc groups with mandate and time limitations. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) of September 2002 will reinvigorate the global commitments and achieve a higher level of international solidarity and partnership in the promotion of sustainable development. The United States Department of State, the lead agency for the US at the Summit, has articulated the importance of science-based decision making and is seeking ways to enhance scientific input to the deliberations and the follow-on actions. Accordingly, the Science Advisor of the Secretary of State asked the US National

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System Academies to survey and analyze the institutional arrangements for science advice to the international agencies involved in international sustainable development, with particular attention to the key fields of water, energy, fisheries, and oceans. The availability of quality science advice to the governing bodies, member governments, and executives of the UN system is critical to the successful achievement of sustainable development. This report, it is hoped, will provide some guidelines for the continuing process of scientific input to critical policy decisions. The Committee for Survey and Analysis of Science Advice on Sustainable Development to International Organizations was asked to compile, interpret, and report available public information that relates to the process for scientific input to the international and multilateral agencies active in the field of sustainable development and to answer the following questions: How is scientific information sought and utilized by international, multilateral, and bilateral organizations in the following areas: energy, freshwater quality and use, oceans, and fisheries? What is the role of existing scientific bodies, governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental, in providing such information? To what extent does the scientific information come from peer-reviewed and independent sources, and how open is the process? The Committee promptly realized that these questions have no simple answers in the broad universe of United Nations organizations. A consultant examining the problem turned up far more examples that represented science advice in the UN bodies than could possibly be described in a brief report, with few apparent consistent patterns or quality standards. The mechanisms range from overtly political bodies with infrequent, unreported meetings to a panel of independent experts of international stature and an open peer review process. Lacking, however, are standards or principles against which to evaluate the advisory procedures, and a great paucity of information exists for results and outcomes that would have permitted an independent evaluation. The Committee decided that it could make a valuable contribution by examining established science advice mechanisms outside of the UN system in order to extract a set of principles that would be useful for assessing the mechanisms and processes within the system. This report covers a wide spectrum of United Nations activities, including those activities that fall under the direct purview of the United Nations Secretary-General, organizations that report to the United Nations General Assembly [and whose governing bodies are subsidiaries of the UN General Assembly, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)], and United Nations system organizations that include specialized agencies with independent governing bodies, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The wider United Nations system also includes hybrid organizations, as well as programs that have been created through partnerships between different kinds of United Nations organizations but have their own independent governing bodies (such as the Global Environment Facility, which is a partnership between UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank). Given the complexity and diversity of United Nations programs, organs, and mandates, this report focuses on the main functions of the United Nations that affect international governance in

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System the fields related to sustainable development, with reference to the taxonomy of the key United Nations organs in which these functions are undertaken. The choice of organizations selected as examples was based on their core mandates and the scope of their activities. Efforts have been made to ensure that the major categories of United Nations organs have been covered and therefore the results of the review are representative of the functioning of the United Nations system. The organs of the United Nations perform a wide range of functions that require varying degrees of scientific and technical input. These functions range from rule making to operational activities that involve project implementation at the local level. Some of the functions that are related to sustainable development include norm setting, guidance, and advocacy; research and development; assessment, monitoring, and reporting; operations, technical assistance, and technology transfer; and science and technology advice (which is either addressed through independent institutional arrangements or as part of the other functions). In addition to focusing on United Nations organs that have primary responsibilities in the fields of water, energy, fisheries, and oceans, the Committee surveyed more than 40 United Nations organs and examined their institutional arrangements for providing science advice. Committee members also examined the records of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, the most comprehensive records of conference reports on sustainable development available to the public. This information was complemented with published sources, although these were mainly general in nature and focused on the role of science advice in environmental negotiations broadly or the implementation of specific environmental regimes represented by international treaties. The published material provided insights into the functioning of the regimes but provided little information on the inner working of the organizations surveyed. The discussion of Chapter 2 distills the experience of a number of international and national science advice institutions with membership from developed and developing countries. Via e-mail, the Committee asked a number of organizations what procedures they had adopted for developing science advice. These were the Inter-Academy Council (IAC), the Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the European Council of Applied Sciences and Engineering (Euro-CASE), and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering (UKRAE). In addition, the UKRAE referred the chairperson to the procedures adopted by the UK Chief Science Advisor, which may be found on line at www.dti.gov.uk/ost/ostbusiness/july_policy.htm. Although not all contain all the elements to be shown below, the procedures of these organizations are generally consistent with each other, and with those of the US Academies, as well as with the general principles of science advice (Golden, 1991). The specific procedures employed by a sampling of these, as well as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are described in Appendix II. This information, together with the procedures and practices of the US Academies and the experience of the Committee members, formed the basis of the discussion of a model process for developing science advice, together with comments upon the various issues and problems. It is intended to be over inclusive, and it is not the Committee’s view or recommendation that all the processes and procedures described must be followed in detail in all cases. Each organization will have to ponder the issues involved and adopt and adapt these prescriptions to their own needs. The material in Chapter 2 should, however, provide a guide to most of the problems and pitfalls that have been encountered by others, and some of the means by which organizations have solved the problems they present.

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System The term “science” is here taken very broadly to include areas such as health, agriculture, the social sciences, technology, and engineering. The Committee also recognizes that traditional knowledge systems are increasingly being recognized in fields such as biodiversity and resource conservation, and they play an important role as input into decision making on issues related to sustainable development (Posey, 1999). These systems can bring otherwise unknown empirical data to scientific attention, and practitioners can sometimes expedite the application of science and technology to local situations. The problems of provision of science inputs to policy begin with understanding which questions are fit subjects for science advice, what form science advice should take, and how to distinguish balanced, authoritative, evidence-based advice from advocacy designed to advance specific viewpoints or interests. Because science advice involves time and resources, it is also necessary to know whether science advice is really needed, how it will be used, and how to manage a scientific advisory process. Chapter 1 of this report outlines the development of science advisory systems internationally, and in the UN system in particular. It provides a starting point for a more detailed examination of functional and structural typologies of UN organs with a sampling of the existing science advisory mechanisms. Chapter 2 explores ways in which organizations can establish and manage processes for generating and using science advice and reviews the experiences of science advice in international, regional, and national organizations. Important previous reports on science advice and the science advisory procedures used by a dozen academies of science and engineering were studied. From these, Chapter 2 extracts a template and global standard for analysis of science advisory mechanisms in the UN system. Chapter 3 describes a functional typology sample of specific functions of the United Nations and how they are applied to the issue of sustainable development. The role of science advice where it exists is explicitly highlighted. Chapter 4 illustrates the use of science advisory mechanisms in the UN system. It provides a structural overview of UN organs with a sampling of the science advisory mechanisms that exist in each type. Chapter 5 offers recommendations for strengthening the institutional arrangements for science advice in the UN system, some of which could be implemented in the follow-up to the WSSD. These are offered in the belief that science and technology advice can make ever more effective contributions to the governance of the United Nations organizations and that there should be increased international attention to facilitating the access to and use of such advice.

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Collins, Royal Society; Elizabeth Dowdeswell, University of Toronto; Gisbert Glaser, International Council for Science; Mohamed H.A.Hassan, Third World Academy of Sciences; Eduardo Krieger, Brazilian Academy of Sciences; Thomas Malone, North Carolina State University; Daniel Martin, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Erling Norrby, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Yves Quere, French Academy of Sciences; Rustum Roy, Pennsylvania State University; Eugene Skolnikoff, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Edith Brown Weiss, Georgetown University; and Keith Yamamoto, University of California, San Francisco. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Alexander Flax, consultant. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System CONTENTS     Executive Summary   1 1   The Rise of Advisory Systems for Science and Technology   5     Introduction,   5     Science and international cooperation,   5     Evolution of science advice in the United Nations System,   6     Emerging trends,   10     Conclusion,   11 2   Elements of Science Advice   13     Introduction,   13     Elements of science advice,   13     Role of a science advisor,   13     Knowing when science advice is needed,   14     Stating the science advisory task,   15     Identification and recruitment of a study committee,   15     Balance of regions, disciplines, and views,   16     Management of bias and conflict,   17     Management of data; role of staff,   17     The report,   18     Consensus and dissent,   18     Review,   18     Delivery of advice,   19     Implications of the process,   19     Follow-up and impact,   20     Conclusion,   20 3   UN Sustainable Development Activities and Their Science Advisory Processes   21     Introduction,   21     Science and sustainable development,   21     Norm setting,   22     Research and development,   24     Monitoring, assessing, and reporting,   25     Operations, technical assistance, and technology transfer,   26     Conclusion,   29

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System 4   Structure of Science Advice in the United Nations System Today   31     Introduction,   31     Office of the United Nations Secretary-General,   31     Functional commissions,   33     Programs,   35     Conventions,   38     Specialized agencies,   45     Processes, conferences, and joint research activities,   49     Allied activities,   53     Non-state actors,   54     Conclusion,   55 5   Findings and recommendations   57     Introduction,   57     Findings,   58     Recommendations,   59     References   63     Acronyms   71 Boxes Box 1.1:   Science and technology diplomacy,   7 Box 1.2:   Science and technology for sustainable development,   8 Box 1.3:   History of science and technology advice in the United Nations,   9 Box 4.1:   Science advice for marine resources conservation,   36 Box 4.2:   Review process for IPCC reports,   40 Box 4.3:   Science advice for fisheries management,   46 Box 4.4:   Science advice on freshwater,   48 Box 4.5:   Some major international activities on freshwater involving science,   52 Box 4.6:   Science advice on marine pollution,   53     APPENDIXES     I   The United Nations System,   76 II   Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval, and Publication of IPCC Reports,   77 III   Modus Operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity,   85

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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System s IV   Draft Resolution on the Modus Operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands,   90 V   Rules of Procedure of the InterAcademy Council,   97 VI   Procedures for the Production and Review of Proactive Academy Reports and Statements of the Royal Academy of Engineering,   99 VII   Study Procedures of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences,   103

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