• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Exploring the science-policy interface for Integrated Coastal Zone Management in New Zealand

Ocean and Coastal Management (2013)

Bremer S and Glavovic B C

DOI: org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2013.08.008

Vol 84, pp 107–118


Integrated Coastal Management has seen an on-going debate on the best way of integrating knowledge with political decision-making across the so-called ‘science–policy interface’. This paper engages with this debate by presenting an empirical study into practice at the science–policy interface supporting coastal management in New Zealand. The research takes as its point of departure a notional dichotomy in the Integrated Coastal Management literature between two broad traditions; one espousing a ‘science-based interface’, the other a ‘participatory interface’. Structured according to this conceptual framework, the research describes and analyses the diverse ways in which these two traditions have found practical expression across New Zealand, both at the national scale and according to a comprehensive survey of coastal managers across all 16 regional councils. The analysis extends to the relationship between these two traditions, and how this relationship has determined the evolution of the science–policy interface.

This paper describes the traditional dominance of science-based coastal management in New Zealand, but highlights an important paradox; while science is valorised as the most robust knowledge for decision-making under the statutory decision-making process, there are pervasive financial, procedural and institutional barriers to its collection, meaning that many decisions are made under significant uncertainty. Against the background of this paradox, local government has increasingly departed from the statutory process, according to a philosophy of co-management. This extends to new strategies for mobilising knowledge, both through knowledge partnerships to generate more science, and participatory approaches to mobilise other forms of traditional and local knowledge. These participatory interfaces take many forms, but typically see scientists engaged alongside other knowledge holders within an inclusive decision-making process. All knowledge systems form a common pool of evidence on which to base decisions, and science is used strategically to fill knowledge gaps identified by a participatory process. Therefore, while science-based coastal management remains dominant in New Zealand, it is increasingly couched within a participatory tradition that valorises other knowledge systems as well.

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