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Title (Primary) The co-production of scale and power: the case of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Author Beck, S.; Esguerra, A.; Goerg, C.;
Journal Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning
Year 2017
Department UPOL;
Volume 19
Issue 5
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T16; T12;
Keywords Scale; governance; expertise; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
UFZ wide themes RU6;
Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between scale and power in the context of scientific assessments. Scientific advisory boards and assessment processes strongly influence how the spatial dimensions of environmental problems are defined and thus how power relations are reconfigured accordingly across scales and levels. The question of scale along with its implications for policy-making has become a contested factor in the design of such assessment processes. In particular, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) has dealt explicitly with the issue of scale and how it is related to decision-making across institutional levels. Starting out from a critical reading of experiences with the MA, this paper analyses the design process of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in terms of how issues of scale are being addressed.

Section 2 presents the analytical framework. It combines the scholarly literature on critical state theory and science and technology studies. Both approaches challenge notions of scale as ‘natural’, ‘fixed’, bounded spatial units. They draw our attention to scalar configurations ‘in the making’ and highlight the need to take the relationships between knowledge and power seriously. The concluding section argues that the selection of scale is a matter of political contestation and normative choice rather than of purely scientific judgement. Using the MA and IPBES examples we show that although assessments are often seen as a means to achieve unbiased, rational solutions by ‘keeping politics out of policy’ (Haas, 1992), there is a need to better understand their inherent connection to the distribution of power and to implicit forms of delegation.

ID 15596
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=15596
Beck, S., Esguerra, A., Goerg, C. (2017):
The co-production of scale and power: the case of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
J. Environ. Pol. Plan. 19 (5), 534 - 549