Trying to separate science from policy

In the ACIA process, there was an increasing formal separation of the scientific and policy processes with the overview summary framed as part of the scientific process. The purpose of this was no doubt to shield the science from undue political influence or from allegation of such influence. In short the separation was to ensure the scientific credibility and the legitimacy of the process. The formal political influences on the sci

10 Mitchell, et al. "Evaluating the Influence of Global Environmental Assessments."

entific report was similar to previous circumpolar assessments and to the scientific reports from IPCC's assessments, where state interests are represented mainly in the nomination of lead authors and by approving the outline and procedures of the assessment in plenaries. However, unlike the IPCC, the summary presented in ACIA's overview document was also placed formally in the scientific domain. Governments were invited to comment on drafts of the document but there was no negotiation of text as is the case in IPCC's summaries for policy makers. This created problems to both the credibility and legitimacy of the overview report to one important actor, the US State Department. With no ownership of the document, it was easy for the United States to question its message and how it was presented. The United States also referred to the IPCC as the proper model. Even if the ACIA chair worked hard at being a knowledge broker bringing the findings from the ACIA to policy makers in several of the Arctic countries, including those high in the US policy hierarchy, the weak formal bridge between the scientific and policy arenas, which only allowed communication from science to policy, appears to have served as a limiting factor for the science-policy dialogue.

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