Convention in China. Several presentations were devoted to considering how to enhance scientific input into decision making and institutions that attempt to do so, including topics such as: the role of science in decision making, sources of science advice in the United States, improving the quality of science in regulatory decision making and science advice in the United States, private sector environmental management systems, roles of environmental NGOs in China, and scientific organizations that connect scientists and decisionmakers.
Although numerous presentations were made, one of the most important features of the workshop was its discussion sessions. Workshop participants were divided into working groups and, drawing from their expertise and experience with POPs management, discussed at length questions such as: Where do decisionmakers get scientific advice? In what form do policymakers receive scientific advice? How can the decision-making process be facilitated through scientific input? Are there existing “bridging or boundary” organizations that can help create effective interface between scientists and decisionmakers, and provide “reliable and timely translations of information and views between the two communities”? What are some elements of good science advice? What can be done to improve communications, build trust? What do decision makers need from the science community? And, what does the science community need to understand about decisionmakers? Because many of the technical papers from the workshop were already published in Chemosphere and many of the workshop presentations are available via the Internet1, this workshop summary focuses primarily on issues that were highlighted during the workshop discussions, which coincide with the major themes of the “Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making” workshop series.
Additional “Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making in Developing Countries” project information is available at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/sustainability/type2.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), POPS are defined as follows:
POPs are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. With the evidence of long-range transport of these substances to regions where they have never been used or produced and the consequent threats they pose to the environment of the whole globe, the international community has now, at several occasions called for urgent global actions to reduce and eliminate releases of these chemicals. (http://www.chem.unep.ch/pops/)
In 2001, more than 90 countries signed an international treaty, the Stockholm Convention, agreeing to reduce or eliminate the production, use and release of 12 POPs. Both China and the