Barriers and issues in providing integrated scientific support for EU policy
|Main authors:||Špela Železnikar, Matjaž Glavan, Sindre Langaas, Gerard Velthof, Susanne Wuijts, Susanne Klages, Claudia Heidecke, Marina Pintar|
|Source document:||Železnikar, S. et al. (2021) Evaluation report on barriers and issues in providing integrated scientific support for EU policy. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 7.1R 56 pp|
The contents of this section of FAIRWAYiS have been published as a scientific article
- Glavan M., Železnikar Š., Velthof G., Boekhold S., Langaas S., Pintar M. 2019. How to enhance the role of science in European Union policy making and implementation: The case of agricultural impacts on drinking water quality. Water, ISSN 2073-4441, vol. 11, iss. 3, 22 str., ilustr. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030492
and are summarised in a FAIRWAY Research Highlights leaflet
In this section of FAIRWAYiS we analyse and discuss the role of science in EU policy making and implementation processes concerning the agricultural impact on drinking water quality. This concerns, broadly speaking, the Water Framework Directive, Drinking Water Directive, Groundwater Directive, Nitrate Directive and Directive for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides. Specifically, we want to identify barriers that hinder the science and research sector from having effective dialogue and cooperating in knowledge sharing from policy making to actual EU policies implementation on the member state or regional level. We argue that the science/research sector’s role in policy making and implementation is vague and dispersed across different stages of the process. It also has different roles in the process, as an initiator of policy, a follower of policy or political strategies, or a participant in the public discussion. Our aim of this analysis is to suggest possible long-term system improvements and to encourage scientists and policymakers to develop new solutions for improving communication flow. The study, while conceptual, is based on empirical data collected by a desk study, a workshop with different stakeholders, and individual interviews with EU-level stakeholders.
A non-systematic review of relevant scientific literature was carried out using scientific databases such as Scopus, Web of Science, Science Direct and Google Scholar. Other information was obtained from websites of the EU and the internet. This desk study was carried out as a basis for the workshop and interviews and focused on the following topics:
- agriculture and water in the EU,
- evidence-based policy making in the EU, and
- implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
A workshop on the “Evaluation of the issues and barriers around providing integrated scientific support for EU policy” was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 6 December, 2017. The participants were asked about:
- the main issues on the EU level related to drinking water resource protection against diffuse pollution of nitrates and pesticides from agriculture in the EU,
- the main barriers,
- the Relationship between Science and Policy and its Reflection in EU Policy,
- Improvements and possible Solutions for Enhancing the Role of Integrated Scientific Support in EU Policy Decission Making.
Workshop results were augmented with a number of one-to-one Interviews using the same set of questions.
The results indicate that problems or barriers are mostly perceived at the national or regional level and are connected with a lack of political will, scarce instruction on the legislation implementation process, and a lack of funding opportunities for science to be included in policy making and further EU policy implementation. In response to that, we suggest translating scientific knowledge on technological, practical or environmental changes and using dissemination techniques for specific audiences and in local languages. Further, the relationship between data, information and decision making needs to change by implementing monitoring in real-time, which will allow for the quick adaptation of strategies. In addition, we suggest project clustering (science, policy, stakeholders, and citizens) to make science and research more connected to current policy challenges and stakeholder needs along with citizen involvement with an aim of establishing sustainable long-term relationships and communication flows.
»Possible solutions to some of the problems identified
We conclude by reflecting on issues relating to the dissemination of EU-funded science in the light of the desk study, workshop and interview results.