Coproduction a design concern for scientific assessments

The lack of effective bridging between science and policy may be a problem in the longer run. According to Mitchell et al. experiences from a number of different assessment processes point to the importance of seeing an assessment as a process that creates knowledge rather than only the reports it produces. They write that an assessments' effectiveness depends on "a process of co-production of knowledge between assessment producers and potential user groups in which the boundaries among these groups are bridged so that they can develop reciprocal understanding of what salient, credible, and legitimate mean to the others involved."17 Moreover, they conclude that "influential assessments are those that eschew one-way communication from scientists to decision makers in favor of co-production of knowledge."18 This suggests that the idea of coproduction of science and policy is not only an analytical tool in understanding their relationship but that it could also be seen as a necessary condition for science to influence policy. The overview document may have been designed for impact on decision makers but with its placement in the scientific domain those very decision makers had limited influence on the process by which it was produced. Instead of providing a bridging arena between science and policy in the ACIA process, it may actually have served as a separating device. This case study has not systematically gathered material on the Arctic Council follow-up of the ACIA, but there are some signs that the policy makers' lack of ownership over the assessment, in particular from the United States, stalled follow-ups, at least in the short run. For example, there was no clear mandate in the ACIA policy document for a follow-up process other than to establish a "focal point" to coor

17 Mitchell, et al. "Information and Influence," 324 also quoting Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello, Earthly Politics: Local And Global in Environmental Governance (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2004). and Jasanoff and Wynne, "Science and Decision Making."

18 Mitchell, et al. "Information and Influence," 325.

dinate among the different working groups.19 When this group reported back to the Arctic Council in the fall of 2006 it concluded it "had not been as effective as some had wished. For example, it has struggled to define its mission, and there is no clear responsibility for organization of practical issues or for preparing documents or indeed for any activity at all."20

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