The links between policy and practice in natural resource management are often depicted as a cyclical and rational process. In reality, policy making and implementation are often irrational, unpredictable and highly political. Many science- and knowledge-based institutions undertake rigorous research with the aim of influencing policy, but often their influence is much less than intended. Understanding who influences policy at different levels and how is crucial to ensure that science is deployed most effectively to have an influence on conservation and natural resource management.
This book presents a variety of innovative ways that have been used to influence policy processes, from community pressure groups through elected and unelected leaders, to scientific discourse at the levels of directors of economic planning and conservation. The book analyzes experiences from a variety of conservation interventions by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other agencies, primarily in Eastern Africa, and challenges the notion of policy making as a cyclical process. This book elaborates on this theme and presents an array of examples of how communities have influenced government, through direct lobbying, influence of parliamentarians, wielding of science and research, and inter-community dialogue, networking and solidarity. The authors present a framework for understanding and strategizing such work so that other institutions can identify where they can best add value.
Jonathan Davies is Regional Drylands Coordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office) based in Nairobi, Kenya.