Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Competing facts and contested values: navigating science and policy interactions
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Competing facts and contested values: navigating science and policy interactions

1,669
views

Published on

By John Ward, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia …

By John Ward, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia

Presented at the Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy Phnom Penh, Cambodia December 7-9, 2011 Session 6a: The role of research: How does research influence the ways in which water, food and energy development decisions are made?

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,669
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
8
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide
  • Winter astutely observes that public policy generally is an amalgam of facts, values and norms that guide current actions into a future desired state. Policy is a decision or a commitment to particular course of action and the rules by which those actions will be realised. Hume That is facts alone cannot compel a particular policy decision on water management, despite frequently cited claims that facts instantiate particular actions in political debates involving scientific inputThe lack of consensus about the nature and status of ‘values’ has led to substantial misunderstandings and miscommunications, threatening effective policy initiatives and community acceptance of water, food and energy policy and practice. The many views expressed at this forum illustrates the diverse and contested nature of values surrounding water, food and energy security and the importance of a full consideration of all parties’ values in policy and planning. Parties to natural resourceconflict and contestation invariably rely on claims to scientific facts and truth to support their positions and interests. It cannot be that facts and truth support all parties involved in any conflict. The interpretation or misinterpretation of “Facts’ reflect particular value orientations and dispositions. My argument today in considering the role of research in decisions about water, food and energy policy is that contested values, not uncertain ‘facts’, underlie these conflicts.
  • The central message of the presentation is that we have choices in how science and experts relate to decision makers. These choices shape our ability to use expert advice well in particular situations, and to assist in wise decisions but also to shape the legitimacy, authority, and durability of expertise itself.First let scientists get the facts straight, the linear models says, then require politicians to implement them.
  • Water plans are needed to negotiate, mediate, and constrain all the relevant facts, values, opinions, advocacies, and ethics, according to the performance criteria of efficiency, equity, and sustainability. Developing water plans and the process of water reform are thus clearly political, involving negotiation, bargaining, and compromise in the pursuit of desired goals and the avoidance of undesired ones.This conflation of facts and values has ‘‘encouraged the mapping of established interests from across the political spectrum onto science,’’ such that competing interests use ‘‘science as a proxy for political battle over these interests’’ Rather than arguing about the values at stake, parties to the controversy argue about the science The MDB example, is dominated by competing Issue Advocates who all assume that the key question is whether existing scientific knowledge is certain enough to compel political action. They are all ‘‘waging a political battle through science’’
  • Relational values are symbolic, objective representations of physical properties or characteristics that occur independently of a particular observer. Examples include mathematical notation, the value of a parameter or variable such as the gravitational constant; the value of the length of the Mekong; the value of flow velocities; the value of turbidity or biologically available oxygen. They are subject to measurement error but are generally not contested in water value mediations. Functional values represent biological and physical relationships that continue to exist and function regardless of human observation: e.g. the value of fish or bird habitat, the value of nutrient cycling or the value of riparian vegetation for stream bank stabilisation. Facts are neutral; values are evaluative, with regard to a specified goal or standard related to a future desired state (e.g., effectiveness, quality, merit, social welfare, cultural value, fish spawning, agricultural productivity)Held values are generally abstract conceptual ideas, desirable modes of conduct, end states of existence, or principles that people hold as important and guide personal action and behaviours (Brown, 1994, Lockwood 1999). Honesty, forgiveness, loyalty, aesthetic sensitivity, courage, frugality and generosity are examples of held values. Held values and value orientations represent the disposition or basis for preference relationships, observed as behaviour or actions and mediated through ascribed or preference valuesAscribed value represents the preference or relative meritof one object, activity or concept compared to another object, activity or concept. Importantly, value is not a direct characteristic of the object, but an expression of the importance of the concept, activity or object in relation to other concepts, activities or objects in a given context.
  • In the context of contested values and factual uncertainty: These represent value disputes that cannot be resolved by reducing relational and functional factual uncertainty
  • Pure scientist provide objective answers to technical questions. Such contexts are rare in contemporary politics, they may appear when policymakers are able to isolate narrow, technical questions from largerpolitical issues. Situations where a consensus on values avoid a flood related disaster—so that reducingscientific uncertainties leads directly to a legitimate decision.When scientists in contexts of political and scientific consensus do consider specific policy options, they adopt the role of Science Arbiter. Science Arbiters avoid entanglement in normative debates, but they provide detailed answers to policymakers’ specific questions.In contexts of contested values and factual uncertainty scientists face the question of whether to try to expand or reduce the range of policy options on the table. If they seek to reduce the range of options, they become Issue Advocates who align themselves with a particular political agenda or interest group. Explicit and implicit and declarationThis conflation of decision contexts ‘‘encourages the mapping of established interests from across the political spectrum onto science,’’ such that competing interests use ‘‘science as a proxy for political battle over these interests’’ Rather than arguing about the values at stake, parties to the controversy argue about the science The MDB example, is dominated by competing Issue Advocates who all assume that the key question is whether existing scientific knowledge is certain enough to compel political action. They are ‘‘waging a political battle through science’’If scientists seek to expand the range of options, in contrast, they become Honest Brokers of Policy Alternatives who clarify existing policy options and identify new options. Honest Brokers explicitly integrate stakeholder concerns with available scientific knowledge.
  • AdvocateFilters science knowledge. Science is seen as impartial and sufficient to compel a particular policy action opponents do the sameBoth appeal to science to resolve political debate as long as it meets a specific social, political, environmental or economic preference. Scientist Research budget to generate knowledge and accepts mandate to generate solutionsPoliticianAvoid non-election: cannot satisfy all voters preferencesDeflect the onus of resolution to science via research funding to provide not only knowledge but also answers
  • Transcript

    • 1. Competing facts and contested values:navigating science and policy interactionsDr John WardMekong Forum: water food and energyPhnom Penh December 2011
    • 2. “Policy has to do with man’s problems with coping with his future…policy brings to statement what is judged to be possible, desirableand meaningful for the human enterprise. In this sense policy isthe nexus of fact, value and ultimate meaning in which scientific,ethical and theological-philosophical reflections meet.” (Winter1966)Hume asserts that under standard systems of logic, you cannotderive an “ought” statement (i.e. values or the answer to anormative question) from a series of “is” statements or facts“The word “value” occurs in economic writing with high frequency,the frequency of meanings being about as great as the frequencyof occurrence” (Boulding 1956)CSIRO.
    • 3. Key points:1. Natural resource management (NRM) policy represents an amalgam of facts, values and norms that guide current actions into a future desired state2. The decision arena is characterised by social, political and factual uncertainty combined with contested values3. There is a lack of consensus about what constitutes “values”4. The linear model of science assumes that science advice (facts) precedes and compels political decisions.5. In the context of NRM, reducing factual uncertainty does not translate as reduced social or policy uncertainty6. Because contested values are central to the process of decision making, not contested facts7. Introduce a systematic framework to assist scientists and policy makers in their choice of engagementCSIRO.
    • 4. Murray Darling Basin Plan 2010• Central and most controversial decision was to establish an agreed level of river system modification: how much water to leave for the environment and how much to extract for irrigation?• Competing interests argued that science is on “our” side and proposed arguments that undermined the science credibility of the opposing view. Businesses employing >1 Total population• Substantiated science and facts wereperson to be necessary and seen sufficient to the decision 2008 % process. 2008 % 2004 making 2004 change change• Policy decisions were more about value propositions of various Greater 58,687 61,014 +4% 2,298 2,766 +20% water interests: subject to debate, negotiation and argument. Shepparton Griffith 24,534 25,278 +3% 1,182 1,377 +16% Source ABS (2010) National Regional Profile, 28/04/10CSIRO.
    • 5. Facts, preferences and opinions: a valuestypologyCSIRO.
    • 6. Criteria for determining the role of science in policy and politics (Pielke 2007) Is the decision context characterised by both values consensus and low uncertainty? YES NO Reduce Connected the scope to policy? of choice?YES NO YES NOScience arbiter Pure scientist Issue Advocate Honest Broker By uncertainty we mean that in particular circumstances, more than one outcome is consistent with expectations. CSIRO.
    • 7. Four roles of science in policy engagement• The Pure Scientist - seeks to focus only on facts and has no interaction with the decision maker.• The Science Arbiter - answers specific factual questions posed by the decision maker.• The Issue Advocate - seeks to reduce the scope of choice available to the decision maker.• The Honest Broker of Policy Options - seeks to expand, or at least clarify, the scope of choice available to the decision maker.CSIRO.
    • 8. Which type of science policy engagement?Leader,CSIRO. Evidence Freedecision models IASC 2008 Follower of based Rider (December 2007) www.climateinstitute.org.au
    • 9. State contingent policy analysis Biophysical system System stimulation: Policies and actions New system states: Undesirable, Behavioural system maladaptive orClimate, andconnected pathogenic withaquifers high social cost Governance system Exogenous cultural influence Set of System trajectories Economic Which one???Geo-politics, system Dynamic system New System states: New Policy Objectives characteristics: eg Desirable, high New science social benefit and Changing Infrastructure reflects policy Macro economics environmental attitudes Governance: objectives (carbon tax), New opportunities external technologies and values Livelihoods Changing attitudes to Land use change Exogenous and equity or development endogenous stimuli or stressors Diagnostics: Framing the problem: Prognostics: Pure scientist and science arbiter Issue Advocate Honest Broker CSIRO. Evidence based decision models IASC 2008
    • 10. CSIRO Ecosystem Science Dr John Ward j.ward@csiro.au Web: www.csiro.au Thank you! Contact Us Phone: 1300 363 400 or +61 3 9545 2176CSIRO. Exploring Mekong Region Futures Email: enquiries@csiro.au Web: www.csiro.au Page 10
    • 11. The policy science conundrum Politization of science Replaces legitimate political debate and negotiation Potential of policy paralysis (waiting for science) Politician Advocate ScientistCSIRO.

    ×