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The negotiable desert: Expert knowledge in the negotiations of the Convention to Combat Desertification
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As the awareness of environmental problems increases, so too do the number of international rules and regulations to prevent them. To set up new rules, decision-makers need knowledge about the environmental issues addressed and therefore often consult experts.

This dissertation is a case study of the negotiations of an international agreement to mitigate dryland degradation, the 1994 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. It looks at how two non-state actors -- the scientific advisers on the International Panel of Experts on Desertification (IPED) and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) -- exerted influence by providing knowledge to the state representatives who had the formal decision-making power in the negotiations. The two actor-groups' influence is assessed by establishing a number of influence indicators and by exploring a number of reasons for their signicant or insignificant levels of influence on the process and outcome of the desertification negotiations.

The study finds tilat the literature on international environmental negotiations cannot satisfactorily explain this case and argues that a combination with the literature on the relationship between science and politics allows for a more comprehensive analysis. The scientific advisers, who were called upon to provide advice to the negotiation process, are generally regarded as authoritative experts. In this case, however, the NGOs also successfully provided their own expertise, and a type of knowledge different from that of the scientists'.

Desertification is an environmental issue with strong development connotations, and this study allows for an analysis of expertise and the role of non-state actors in international environmental negotiations in a North-South context. The study also provides a history of the international attempts at addressing desertification, as well as a description of the desertification negotiations in the 1990s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1999. , 286 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 191
Keyword [en]
Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), desertification, expertise, influence, international environmental negotiations, International Panel of Experts on Desertification (IPED), local knowledge, non-governmental organizations (NCOs), non-state actors, science and politics, scientific advisers
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-33659Local ID: 19694ISBN: 91-7219-467-7OAI: diva2:254482
Public defence
1999-05-28, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-06-11Bibliographically approved

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