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Editor’s Note No. 125
Friday, 20 March 2009
Lynn Wagner, PhD
Linkages Update

and MEA Bulletin
Many of the meetings we cover recommend that actors at various levels should identify lessons learned and consider how to scale-up successful approaches.

While this directive is usually aimed at accelerating and improving action on the ground, a review of the stories included in this issue of Linkages Update suggests that many of the processes we follow are using this approach themselves. The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), for example, considered the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s lessons learned in operating a facilitative mechanism during its informal consultations on finance. A meeting of Pacific island countries discussed regional experiences and possible lessons from other international agreements in their exploration of options to increase collaboration to protect marine turtles. Two governments announced that they will host an informal process seeking to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention, using a country-led initiative process similar to that employed by the UNFF.

A number of recent activities drew on one of the most envied lessons from the climate change process – the role that scientific assessments can play in stimulating policy development. An unofficial meeting of scientists in Copenhagen sought to provide an “update” on climate science leading into the December Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. The UN World Water Development Report 3 was released at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, and the State of the World’s Forests 2009 was released at the opening of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on Forestry, with each offering a way to frame the information on which deliberations in these fora might proceed. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change co-organized a workshop on the latest developments in climate change science, to feed into its 2013 assessment report, providing further information on the process that many look to for lessons on how to develop scientific advice for policymakers.

Each lesson depends on specific circumstances and efforts to scale them up will need to take them into account. Our IISD RS reports identify many of the process variations attempted by multilateral environmental agreements over the past 17 years, and reveal the results. And, as the Director’s Cut in this issue of Linkages Updatedescribes, we at IISD RS have even scaled-up our own best practice, expanding our Earth Negotiations Bulletin-type coverage to other meetings through our Your Meeting Bulletin publication. Through this expanded coverage, we seek to bring you more information on lessons learned and options for scaling-up, both on the ground and in the processes through which international sustainable development policy is formulated.
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