"You need to understand the policy makers, build some kind of common ground"
On 25 June the Department of Economics at the University of Gothenburg, SDSN Northern Europe and others organized a pre-conference at the School of Business, Economics and Law in connection to the 6th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists, WCERE 2018, in Gothenburg.
The pre-conference ”Supply and Demand for Environmental Economic Policy Advice” aimed to tackle the urgent need for more interaction between research and policy by creating interactive workshops based on highly relevant questions asked by practitioners at different Swedish agencies. After these workshops, a panel with representatives both from the supply side (researchers) and the demand side (Swedish policy makers) discussed important success factors regarding: How to facilitate evidence-based policy and narrowing the gap between academia and policy-making? And how to improve interaction between policy makers (demanders) and researcher (suppliers)?
“Many of us have been at large conferences like WCERE 2018 before and leaving with a feeling that these extraordinary event, gathering experts in Environmental economics from all over the world have a lot of un-utilized opportunities, especially for the hosting country’s policy making needs. That is the reasons this format was chosen”, says Anna Nordén, Network Manager of SDSN Northern Europe.
There is a lot of interaction going on between researchers and policymakers, but a lot of this is not systematic but more ad-hoc. To make research-policy become a reality we need to create platforms where researchers and policymakers meet and increase communication skills from both sides so that we can understand each other better.
Several of the panelists – highly experienced international experts, academics and practitioners from various fields in environmental economics – highlighted that to create more evidence based policymaking we need a lot of researchers and policymakers ‘doing their thing’. Not everyone needs to be part in the research-policy interaction. When we have a lot of scientific evidence this will be picked up by policymakers due to those of us that are working actively with research-policy interaction and communication.
“It’s all about getting the right people into the room. And getting the essential message across, skipping the details.”
Ben Groom, Associate Professor of Environment and Development Economics, Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“You need to understand the policy makers, build some kind of common ground. It takes time to become the person they (the policy makers) go to for advice.”
Linda Linda Nøstbakken, Professor, Deputy Rector and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the Norwegian School of Economics.
“We hope that the audience bring with them that research-policy interaction do make our society better. Scientific knowledge is being used in policymaking and practical policymaking knowledge is being used to improve research. We need time to build relationships and trust. Interactions need to be mutual beneficial for both the demand and supply side to have an impact,” says Anna Nordén.
Director of the Science Affairs Department at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
Senior Research Fellow at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Full Professor at Tilburg Sustainability Centre and Center of Tilburg School of Economics.
Head of the Research and Assessment department at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Associate Professor of Environment and Development Economics, Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Professor, Deputy Rector and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the Norwegian School of Economics.
Director, Social Cost of Carbon Initiative Resources for the Future, Washington DC.
Anna Nordén and Daniel Slunge,
Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development.
The panel discussion “Supply and Demand of Environmental Economics Policy Advice” was part of the pre-conference, organized by the SDSN Northern Europe, a regional network within the global UN Sustainable Development Solution Network, in collaboration with the Department of Economics at University of Gothenburg, the FRAM Centre for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.