By Peter Bates PhD and Gisbert Glaser PhD

This paper argues that policy-setting and implementation should be based on the best available knowledge. There should thus be an intimate connection between the scientific and policy making communities. Such a connection will help make research and scientific information more policy-relevant, and policy development and implementation more science based.

Efforts to improve the institutional framework for sustainable development at all levels, and international environmental governance institutions, must include strengthening of science-policy links, as existing and new institutions require access to the best scientific knowledge available. This includes knowledge in the social and economic sciences, as well as interaction with research communities worldwide. This also requires criteria for good 'science for policy', including scientific quality and credibility; policy relevance and coherence, and legitimacy in a political context.