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Institutions for Scientific Advice: global environmental assessments and their influence in developing countries.

Environmental policymaking has been equated with the art of making the right decisions based on an insufficient understanding of the underlying problems. Given the tremendous complexities of the earth system, effective global environmental governance must rely on scientific information on both the kind of problem at stake and the options for decisionmakers to cope with it. Some global environmental problems, notably stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change, and biodiversity conservation, have thus sparked off formidable increases in scientific research. Remarkable too is the enormous expansion of international scientific cooperation for assessing this accumulated knowledge and for synthesizing it in a form accessible and useful to decisionmakers. About 2,500 scientists, for example, have been working with the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its three-volume assessment report Climate Change 1995, (1) and the Global Biodiversity Assessment of 1995 (2) involved roughly 1,500 experts in this field.

The immense networks of scientists, experts, national governments, private bodies, and international organizations engaged in these major global environmental assessments can be understood as distinct international institutions within the larger endeavor of global environmental governance, consisting of internationally accepted general principles for producing, synthesizing, and legitimizing expert knowledge; international norms and rules regulating this synthesis and the evaluation of knowledge in specific cases; and pertinent decisionmaking procedures. The main function of these institutions is not environmental protection as such, but comprehensive and reliable scientific advice on the state of the environment and on policy options, which reduces transaction costs for governments. (3)

In a world society that is becoming increasingly interlinked and interdependent, science and expert advice is needed to inform decisionmakers on the complex problems they face, leading to a likely increase in the relevance of scientific advisory institutions in international relations. But although enormous efforts are undertaken in these scientific advisory institutions, political scientists need to question their actual effects both on national decisionmaking and on international politics. It is not yet fully understood what exact role the existing advisory institutions play in the course of global environmental governance and how this influences international politics and national decisionmaking. The debate on regimes and institutions in global governance has long concentrated on the general effects of institutions on national decisionmaking, (4) but only recently has the specific impact of scientific advisory institutions received attention from students of international relations.

In the early 1990s, for example, it was shown that an epistemic consensus about the interpretation of science reached within international assessment processes influences negotiations and may help create international environmental regimes. (5) More generally, political scientists have worked on the role of ideas in international relations, (6) on information systems within environmental regimes, (7) and on the social construction of science for policy in global environmental regimes. (8) Likewise, substantial research has been directed to the impact of international scientific advisory institutions on the political process in industrialized countries in the areas of climate change and regional air pollution.

Most of this research has indicated a generally significant impact of advisory institutions on the behavior of actors in the North. (9) Another interesting finding of this research is that noticeable differences in effectiveness exist between Western industrialized countries and the countries in transition to a market economy in Eastern Europe. (10)

Less attention, however, has been paid to the impact of scientific advisory institutions on developing countries. This asymmetry in the literature may be explained, to some extent, by the fact that many global environmental problems--climate change and ozone depletion, in particular--have largely been caused by the North, with the consequence that the link between international advisory institutions and decisionmaking in industrialized countries became the prime target of investigation. Yet, this lack of research on institutional effects in developing countries may result in an inaccurate assessment of the overall effectiveness, relevance, and usefulness of international scientific advisory institutions, if their influence in developing countries significantly differs from their influence in industrialized countries.

Moreover, any North-South variation in the impact of advisory institutions should have ramifications for their design. (11) If the current institutional design results in their effectiveness only in industrialized countries and not in the South, the reform of international scientific advisory institutions is called for. There are, it is suggested, three particular structural variables that may explain the different level of influence international scientific advisory institutions have in the North and the South.

First, the participation of Southern experts in international advisory institutions is low compared to the participation of Northern experts. Decisionmakers in the South are thus faced with a situation in which most of the scientific information offered by international advisory institutions has been compiled by experts from industrialized countries, who might have inserted their own national perspectives and values. Although in some advisory institutions, substantial efforts have been undertaken to increase the participation of Southern experts--and thus potentially to increase the representation of Southern interests in the shaping of assessment processes--this still does not change the fact that most underlying research has been conducted in universities and research institutes in North America, Japan, and Europe. Decisionmakers in the North may thus perceive international scientific advisory institutions as entities in which their own nationals played a major role, but for decisionmakers in developing cou ntries, such institutions are essentially foreign, as is the scientific advice offered by them.

Second, this follows from the marginal endogenous research potential in developing countries in the field of global environmental change. Some developing countries, in particular the least developed, have no capacities at all to assess global environmental change, and others are directing most of their capacities to issues that are seen as having more immediate importance. Expert communities in the North and South thus differ significantly, and the scientific advice offered by international advisory institutions meets a less receptive scientific environment in developing countries.

Finally, owing to the general socioeconomic situation and poverty in the South, global environmental problems are less prominent on the national agenda of developing countries. Global environmental issues seem marginalized in some industrialized countries, too, but there is still a difference. In the United States, for example, even though the country is not pushing for strengthening the climate regime, this issue has still led to media attention, hotly debated hearings in Congress, formal resolutions by the U.S. Senate, and a series of domestic assessments. (12) The situation in developing countries is different, and issue prominence is much lower. (13)

In the following, I examine how these structural variables--the three p's, expert participation, research potential, and issue prominence--affect the influence of scientific advisory institutions in developing countries. I analyze the effectiveness of advisory institutions in the issue areas of climate change, biodiversity, and stratospheric ozone depletion with respect to one developing country, India, an essential player in global environmental negotiations. (14) India belongs to the group of developing countries with a relatively potent research community, with significant technological resources, and with sizable political power. This limits, on the one hand, the generalization of the findings of this study to smaller and technologically less advanced nations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, it can be assumed, as a viable hypothesis for further research, that any limitations of the impact of advisory institutions in India are valid a fortiori for the least developed countries, beca use their research potential, the prominence of global environmental problems on their national agenda, and participation of their scientists in international advisory institutions will be lower than for India.

In the empirical analysis, I draw on primary sources and a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of the Indian governmental bureaucracy, the scientific community, and nongovernmental organizations (both supportive of environmental and of business interests), (15) as well as secondary sources. The argument is structured as follows: each of the next three sections--on ozone, climate, and biodiversity, respectively--first discusses the relevant international scientific advisory institutions in each issue area; second, it examines the policy pursued by the Indian government; and third, it assesses the influence of the international advisory institution. In the concluding section, I outline feasible avenues for improving the influence of scientific advisory institutions, with a view to equitable and yet effective global environmental governance.

Effects on India's Policy on the Protection of the Ozone Layer

The international political response to the problem of stratospheric ozone depletion, often viewed as a major success story in global environmental relations, has been analyzed by numerous writers. (16) Major political steps were taken during the negotiations of the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, its 1987 Montreal Protocol, and a number of subsequent amendments and adjustments. The crucial event for North-South relations was the 1990 London amendment, in which industrialized countries guaranteed developing countries the reimbursement of their full incremental costs if they joined the regime and complied with its provisions. (17)

The assessment of the science of stratospheric ozone depletion has not been institutionalized in a single international advisory institution but in a series of subsequent and interlinked institutions, including the Coordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer and several assessment panels under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which serves as the secretariat of the ozone treaties. (18) How did these bodies, which have all been characterized by overwhelming Northern participation, (19) influence public debate and decisionmaking in India? This is analyzed after a brief description of the policy development within the Indian government.

Policy Development

When the ozone issue came up, the Indian government acted by and large in line with most other developing countries and often, together with China, as an opinion leader for the rest. Like many other developing countries, India did not participate in the 1985 Vienna conference, when the framework treaty was signed, and sent only observers but no formal delegation to the 1987 Montreal meeting. Issue prominence was low, and the general consensus among Indian decisionmakers was that this problem was something only industrialized countries ought to be concerned with. Indian diplomats suggested informally that ozone depletion was "a problem of the rich" requiring "a solution by the rich." (20) Moreover, the economic stakes associated with chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use in India were perceived as high. The country had, in 1987, the second highest expected growth in CFC use in the developing world (exceeded only by China). One study estimated that from 1980 to 2000, India's production of household refrigerators would r ise by 102 to 313 percent, of air conditioning systems by 94 to 334 percent, and of propulsion gases by 218 to 266 percent. (21) With significant CFC production sites in their own country, Indian decisionmakers seemed much more concerned with the economic costs of CFC regulation than with stratospheric ozone depletion. In 1987, when industrialized countries--together with a few developing countries--agreed on trade restrictions against nonparties in Article 4 of the Montreal Protocol, India even announced that it would provide CFCs to all developing countries that needed them, in the event the North would eventually end CFC trade with the South. (22)

After the 1990 London amendment, India acceded to the Vienna Convention (on 18 March 1991) and to the Montreal Protocol as amended in London in 1990 (on 19 June 1992; it has not yet accepted the Copenhagen amendment). India has extended its CFC consumption over the years, as have most other developing countries. This increase is in line with the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which granted developing countries a "grace period" of ten years to comply with the regime. India's current program for phasing out ozone-depleting substances appears well under way, with more than half of the 1996 CFC consumption now covered by conversion projects. (23)

Yet it remains the official position of the Indian government that the problem of stratospheric ozone depletion must be dealt with by the international community and particularly by the industrialized countries. Therefore, in its most recent environmental program, protection of the ozone layer appears only in the chapter "International Cooperation," not as part of the national program on activities such as pollution control or the preservation of natural resources. (24) This defines the government's perspective on the ozone problem most clearly.

Influences of International Scientific Advisory Institutions

Given this policy development over roughly a decade, what difference did international scientific advisory institutions make? When the problem was brought up in the North in the late 1980s, both the prominence of the ozone issue and the endogenous research potential in stratospheric science were relatively low in India. This is mirrored in the general lack of policy formulation within the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) at that time vis-a-vis stratospheric ozone depletion. Indeed, the Indian bureaucracy was seemingly taken by surprise in 1987 when legally binding reduction quotas on CFC use were agreed to by about fifty nations.

It was only four years after the adoption of the Vienna Convention that the Indian government reacted to the international discussion by creating an ad hoc expert advisory committee, in 1989. (25) At the same time, the government began soliciting some informal advice from Indian experts, primarily from the publicly funded research institutes. Both actions indicate that the international ozone assessments at that time were not taken at face value by the government. Also, public debate about the ozone problem within India does not appear to have changed much due to the influence of the institutions.

Participation by Indian scientists in the international advisory institutions also remained limited during the earlier ozone assessments that shaped international policies. Moreover, India's scientific community advised the government not to take premature and costly actions, thus even contradicting the view propagated by international advisory institutions that international emissions should be reduced. (26) For example, three years after the adoption of the 1987 Montreal Protocol and two years after an Indian expedition to Antarctica that collected stratospheric ozone data, the National Physical Laboratory still cautioned in its Ozone Layer Study Plan that the "whole picture of ozone which emerges . . . is not very clear and has many missing links . . . one requires a large amount of data both for ozone as well as other related geophysical parameters. . . . It may then be possible with proper inputs to foresee through theoretical predictions, the extent of ozone destruction and necessary corrective steps th at can be taken." (27) Yet there was apparently some disagreement within the Indian scientific community. M. G. Rajan suggests, based on an interview with a former senior consultant of MoEF, that the junior scientists were indeed concerned about the effects of ozone depletion, but that these concerns were played down by more senior scientists who were not prepared to assume responsibility for the diversion of scarce public research funds to the ozone issue. The message the government eventually received was to wait and let the issue be further studied.

Since India's own scientists were cautious and Indian environmentalists, hardly influenced by the international assessments, did not care much about the issue, the MoEF bureaucrats decided to fully support the demands of Indian business representatives who emphasized the forecasted growth of CFC demand in India, past domestic production increases, and the considerable opportunities for export. India had bought CFC technologies from U.S. enterprises shortly before 1987, had four manufacturing plants in 1989, and--for want of sufficient domestic markets--depended on the export of CFC. (28) By and large, the agenda was therefore dominated not by environmental concerns that could have been informed or strengthened by international scientific advisory institutions, but by the expected economic losses resulting from the international ozone regime, which was perceived as being dominated by the North. These included losses by the devaluation of indigenous CFC technology through global CFC phaseout; losses of export m arket shares due to the global introduction of substitutes (by Northern companies); increasing dependency on Northern technology in refrigeration, air-conditioning, and other sectors; and the threat of economic losses through trade restrictions enacted under Article 4 of the Montreal Protocol. (29)

Most of the public debate on the ozone issue in the late 1980s, minimal as it was, centered on this perceived structural inequality in the 1987 Montreal Protocol, not on the environmental problem of ozone depletion. The widely read journal South, for example, published an editorial under the title "The Hole in the Ozone Logic" (April 1989), arguing that the Montreal Protocol was a treaty inherently unfair to developing countries. It appeared not entirely unlikely at the time that India and China would simply abstain from the regime if their equity demands--in particular, full financial reimbursement and technology transfer--were not met. (30) Taken together, most likely this internal policy process would have been the same in the absence of the international scientific advisory institutions. At least before 1990, their direct influence on the Indian decision-making system appears negligible.

After 1990, however, India's policy on ozone depletion changed. Increasing scientific certainty about the seriousness of the environmental problem played a role in this development, indicating that the reports offered by international advisory institutions had some direct effects. However, the prime motivation for India's policy change was the 1990 amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which was perceived as favorable to Southern interests, in particular the establishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which reimburses the full incremental costs to developing countries. (31) The second main reason for India's policy change was changing market demands that turned CFCs into yesterday's technology, as well as increasing international pressure, including the threat of trade sanctions under Article 4 of the protocol. But despite growing scientific knowledge about the threat of stratospheric ozone depletion, the government still conceptualizes the problem as a matter of inte rnational cooperation, not of endogenous environmental concern within India.

Yet there is one notable exception to this general low influence of international scientific advisory institutions. Since gross environmental pollution is construed under Indian constitutional law as a violation of citizens' fundamental rights, environmental problems can under certain circumstances be taken directly to the Supreme Court without the lengthy and costly route through district and state courts. Thus, in 1994, a law professor at the University of Delhi sued the Indian government in the Supreme Court claiming that the government's efforts to protect the stratospheric ozone layer were insufficient, to the effect that citizens' right of life under Article 21 of the constitution was "mercilessly tortured, twisted and infringed."

Because most environmental cases require some scientific evidence, the court usually relies on recommendations issued by ad hoc expert committees. The court also appears to bestow more weight on international assessments than the information presented by the affected industry or by the government. In the ozone case, the court initiated hearings in which evidence pro and contra the plaintiffs' plea was heard, including statistics and data found in the reports disseminated by international scientific advisory institutions. The government was ordered to show less "complacency" and to take immediate further action. Some time later, the government came up with a detailed compliance report. (32)

This is, however, only one of very few instances in which international scientific advisory institutions had a direct effect on Indian decisionmaking, and the consequences of the court ruling remain unclear. Taken as a whole, low prominence of the issue in India, a relatively restricted domestic research potential, and the limited participation of Indian experts prevented the advisory institutions from gaining any significant influence on the development of India's ozone policy. It seems doubtful whether India's policy would have been different in the absence of the international scientific advisory institutions in this field.

Effects on India's Policy on the Protection of the Climate

The main steps toward an international climate policy were the agreement on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, which became binding law in 1994, and the adoption of its Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which has not yet come into force. In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNEP set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the central international scientific advisory institution in this area. Since then, IPPC has produced a series of reports and is often seen as highly influential at the international level. (33) In particular, its 1995 statement that there was a "discernible" human influence on global climate had been a major factor in the negotiations leading to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. (34)

In 1988, IPCC consisted of a small group of experts mostly from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Quite soon it was felt that this lack of participation of Southern experts would undermine the credibility of the process in the South. Since then, IPCC has taken a number of actions to the effect that in mere numbers, developing country participation has been increased. Shardul Agrawala notes, for example, that while only fourteen non-OECD countries had sent experts to IPCC in 1988, this increased to ninety-eight non-OECD countries in 1995. (35) While this does not yet reflect an equal increase in the proportion of individual participants from the South within the network of 2,500 IPCC scientists, IPCC now certainly is the advisory institution with the largest participation from the South. This makes it different from both the ozone assessments and the global biodiversity assessment (to be discussed in the next section).

Policy Development

India's policy on climate differs from its policy on ozone, in that the government participated in climate negotiations from the very beginning, motivated in part by the experience of ozone diplomacy that had illustrated how fast entire industrial sectors could be affected by the environmental debate in the North. India's negotiation strategy during the climate negotiations was, in a nutshell, to ensure that the basic characteristics of the ozone regime as amended in 1990 were transferred to the emerging climate regime, notably the differentiation of obligations between North and South and the guarantee that the North will reimburse the full incremental costs incurred by the South in (future) emissions reduction programs. (36)

By and large, India and other developing countries have been fairly successful in negotiations so far. India's ratification of the climate convention in November 1993 did not oblige the country to reduce its emissions. The Indian government has taken the stand that no climate policy needs to be pursued, and no legislation is planned. Officially, the issue is treated as part of MoEF's Environmental Research Programme. While MoEF created a separate Ozone Cell for coordinating CFC phaseout, no such entity has yet been set up for mitigating climate change.

Nevertheless, a number of climate change--related programs are under way. These are linked to political developments and the need to take steps to implement the climate convention, but also to the increasing participation of Indian scientists within IPCC. The private Tata Energy Research Institute and the government-funded National Physical Laboratory , for example, have been entrusted by MoEF to prepare inventories of sources and sinks of Indian greenhouse gas emissions, as required by the convention. This project will also analyze mitigation options and outline feasible least-cost abatement strategies. Scientists working on these studies have increasingly started to participate in IPCC proceedings. (37) An advisory group for projects funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has also been set up to explore possible activities in India. (38) Moreover, though not primarily motivated by climate concerns, India increased, from 1993 to 1997, its capacity of wind farms by a factor of 18, almost doubled its number of solar cookers, and extended the use of biomass power and other renewable energies. (39)

Influences of International Scientific Advisory Institutions

When climate change surfaced on the international agenda, issue prominence, relevant research potential, and participation of Indian scientists in IPCC were low. Comparable to the ozone case, India's early policies on climate, such as the work on the national inventory, have been motivated mostly by outside pressure--that is, by the international bargaining situation. Because this has been influenced by IPCC, mainly through its influence on major industrialized countries, India was indirectly affected by international scientific advisory institutions. Not considering these indirect effects on the international level, however, would Indian policy have been different without IPCC?

There is some evidence that seems to refute this hypothesis. As in ozone policy, the government relies primarily on advice from Indian experts rather than on IPCC reports. (40) This is indicated, first, by the government's response when in the 1980s the climate issue was pushed on the agenda by industrialized countries. In 1989, MoEF reacted by initiating its own national assessment process and established the Expert Advisory Committee on Global Environmental Issues (now defunct) to "advise the Government on all aspects related to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer in the Indian, regional and global context." (41) In preparing for the third conference of the parties to the climate convention, which was to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, the government created again a number of commissions, including the Working Group of Experts on Climate Change, under MoEF, and the Expert Advisory Committee on Research on Global Environment Issues. (42)

Second, the Indian government's early lack of trust in international scientific advisory institutions is indicated by its fervent support for the increased participation of developing country experts in IPCC, as well as its refusal to accept IPCC as the forum for climate negotiations before 1992. Like other developing countries, India raised at this time fundamental objections to the entire IPCC process and supported the disqualification of the 1990 IPCC report by inserting in the preface that this reflected the technical assessment of experts rather than government positions, particularly those governments that could not participate in all IPCC working groups. (43) This position was increasingly accepted by leading Northern experts. Bert Bolin, a former IPCC chair, opined in 1991 that "many countries, especially developing countries, simply do not trust assessments in which their scientists and policymakers have not participated. Don't you think global credibility demands global representation?" (44)

After a 1990 report of the Special Committee on the Participation of Developing Countries, (45) IPCC thus adopted a number of actions to remove obstacles that impaired developing country participation. For example, to increase the communication of scientific knowledge and IPCC findings, major documents are now being translated in all six UN languages, and IPCC takes much more account of geographical representation. (46) Current IPCC rules of procedure require each working group to be chaired by one developed and one developing country scientist. Participation of developing country scientists in IPCC's third assessment cycle is thus much more visible than in previous rounds, and in a sense, IPCC's governance structure now has a quota system that resembles political bodies such as the meetings of parties to the Montreal Protocol, the executive committee of the ozone fund, or the GEF, which are all governed by North-South parity procedures. (47)

It seems that, especially, this increased participation of Indian scientists in the IPCC helped to improve the institution's influence on the domestic scientific community, which had been rather indifferent to these issues before. This in turn raised the prominence of the issue with Indian media, nongovernmental organizations, and politicians, even though the government still largely relies on advice from Indian scientists. This variation over time would indicate a causal relationship between participation of domestic scientists in international institutions and the resulting prominence of the issue on the domestic agenda.

For example, the 1989 Tata International Conference on Global Warming and Climate Change--Perspectives from Developing Countries in New Delhi was influenced by the international scientific debate of that time. The later IPCC reports have also influenced Indian research by emphasizing specific problems for India or by raising concern about certain issues, such as possible changes in monsoon cycles. Because a lack of resources places stricter constraints on Southern researchers, the effect of shaping research agendas by international scientific advisory institutions seems generally to be stronger in developing countries compared to industrialized countries. In particular, scientists at public research institutions in India concentrate on issues they perceive as particularly relevant to the "national interest" and that are not sufficiently covered by the global scientific community. For example, while most LPCC research has addressed general climate modeling and mitigation options, Indian scientists have directe d most of their scarce resources to investigating the adverse effects of climate change on India, and the Working Group on Environment for the Ninth Five-Year Plan expressly included in their terms of reference the assessment of adverse impacts of climate change on India.

Another crucial finding of this study is that scientific advisory institutions may have other, generally unintended, effects on countries, which might be conceived of as "counterassessments." In several instances, Indian scientists have shaped their research agenda in direct response to the findings of Northern assessments with the aim of verifying or refuting data with possible negative political consequences for India. This was the case, for example, with divergent data on methane, a major greenhouse gas. Developing countries account for a larger share of global methane emissions compared to global carbon dioxide emissions, because a substantial amount of methane is emitted by agrarian activities, notably animal husbandry and rice farming. In 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a study that suggested that India alone would account for more than one-third of global methane emissions from rice paddies--a result that, if included in IPCC and not contested, would certainly have influe nced climate negotiations. On publication of this Northern assessment, India's public research institutions launched their most focused collaborative assessment of global environmental problems to date, the Indian Methane Campaign. More than fifty researchers from sixteen Indian institutes joined the campaign; its results indicated that Indian methane emissions from rice paddies were roughly ten times less than the EPA had suggested, and that global methane emissions were accordingly lower too. These conflicts with and within international advisory institutions have thus had the effect of increasing communication and cooperation among Indian scientists working on climate-related issues.

Indian experts therefore quite often advise their government in a way that contradicts themes advanced by "Northern science" and international scientific advisory institutions. The 1991 report Global Warming in an Unequal World of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, (48) for example, strongly influenced India's policy by refuting an earlier assessment of the U.S.-based World Resources Institute, which had ranked India as the world's fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter. Likewise, private Indian institutes refuted the simple and encompassing category of "anthropogenic" emissions that had been advanced by IPCC. Instead, the Indian experts convinced their government to argue for an additional dichotomy between "survival emissions" (that is, Southern and permissible emissions) versus "luxury emissions" (that is, Northern emissions and those to be restricted).

Taken together, IPCC has had some influence on the debate in India, and its effectiveness clearly increased over time. In parallel with the extended participation of Indian experts in the current IPCC process, the institution affected domestic research agendas (including "counterassessments"), strengthened the Indian research potential through increased international scientific cooperation, and raised issue prominence among experts and governmental bureaucrats. And yet, this growing influence has had little effect on government policy, because the responsibility question--that industrialized countries are the prime cause and cure of the problem--has not been resolved. Almost all actors in India agree that the country should undertake no commitments in the foreseeable future, at least not until per capita emissions somehow converge.

Effects on India's Policy on the Protection of Biological Diversity

The international politics on protecting biological diversity are governed by the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, along with a number of sectoral and regional regimes on the protection of specific species and ecosystems or on specific harmful activities, such as trade in endangered species. The central scientific advisory institution in this area has been the transnational expert network that compiled the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), which institutionalized the cooperation of roughly 1,500 experts. It was initiated by UNEP in 1992, with financial support from the GEF, in an attempt to transfer the IPCC model to other issue areas. (49) While IPCC preceded the negotiation of the climate convention, GBA was completed after its related treaty, the biodiversity convention, had been adopted, and it has been influenced by the emerging regime rather than vice versa. Whereas IPCC evolved into a process and a long-standing international institution that churns out major publications every few years, G BA remained restricted to 1992-1995.

Policy Development

The Indian policy development on biodiversity protection differs from the policies on climate change and ozone layer depletion. First, the protection of domestic biodiversity has a long history in India, with legislation dating back to the Indian Forest Act of 1865. The need to preserve natural resources and the country's rich biological diversity is also widely accepted by the public, notwithstanding friction between the government and some (mostly poor and rural) citizens who are directly affected by, and at times feel not at ease with, conservation programs for predators like the Indian tiger.

MoEF initiated a new National Forest Policy in 1988, a National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement in 1992, and a scheme on Biodiversity Conservation in 1991, all before the Global Biodiversity Assessment had begun. Likewise, the national Environment Action Programme, drawn up after the 1992 Rio conference, gives much weight to conserving and using biodiversity and to promoting afforestation. (50) On 18 February 1994, India also ratified the biodiversity convention. New biodiversity legislation to implement this convention and a draft national action plan on biodiversity are now under discussion and have already been the subject of a complaint before the Supreme Court (contrary to the ozone case without any discernible influence of GBA). (51) This political activity is accompanied by several national assessment processes. (52)

There are certainly deficiencies in the effectiveness of India's policy on biodiversity--evidenced, for example, by the latest forests assessment, which showed that the country lost 5,482 sq. km of forest cover from 1995 to 1997 alone. Nonetheless, MoEF views biodiversity protection clearly as part of its actual policy, while classifying ozone layer protection as a matter of "international cooperation" and climate change merely as part of its general research activities.

Influences of International Scientific Advisory Institutions

The overall impact of GBA is, however, difficult to trace. GBA is almost never mentioned in interviews or informal discussions, and it is fair to assume that it was not of much use for Indian experts or the Indian government. India's biodiversity is documented in various reports compiled by Indian agencies and published under MoEF auspices, and the gaps in knowledge that exist have not been filled by GBA. The prominence of the issue within India is relatively high regarding domestic biological diversity, as evidenced by a number of costly governmental programs (for example, Project Tiger). The research potential within India on biodiversity is also relatively well developed. As for the global dimension, however, which has triggered most public attention in the North and which is the main focus of GBA, the prominence of biodiversity protection in India is as low as with other global concerns, such as ozone layer depletion or global climate change.

The main difference between GBA and the later, more influential IPCC assessments is the relatively lower level of participation of experts from developing countries. This prevented the assessment from further raising the prominence of the specific problems addressed in GBA within the Indian research community, especially regarding the potentially more controversial socioeconomic parts of GBA. For example, GBA's chapter on biotechnology--an issue in which India has a strong political and economic interest--has been compiled by a team of ten lead authors who came exclusively from industrialized countries (Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States); 86.4 percent of the peer review for this chapter was also done by experts from the North. Considering this lack of participation by developing countries, it is hardly surprising that particular Southern concerns--such as possible social, economic, and environmental repercussions of an increased reliance on biotechnology in developing coun tries (53)--are not addressed in the GBA appraisal of this new technology. (54)

Likewise, many Indian biodiversity experts claim that GBA is framed too strongly in the flora-and-fauna-protection paradigm, without paying sufficient attention to the situation of local people living in the centers of biodiversity in India. In the view of the Indian user community, GBA treats agriculture, for example, largely as a mere production system without much consideration given to local farmers and their traditional methods. This has clearly rendered GBA rather useless for experts who have to deal with questions such as the legal status of farmers and indigenous communities vis-a-vis their traditional knowledge and their local seed varieties. GBA also contributed little to other issues most pressing for Indian decisionmakers and environmentalists: how to hinder industrialized countries from patenting inventions based on Indian species (so-called biopiracy); how best to protect indigenous knowledge and food security vis-a-vis modern biotechnology while not forgoing its possible advantages; (55) and ho w to reconcile biodiversity protection with the development needs of the people, especially the poor.

The same holds for equity considerations of developing countries, which are strongly supported in India, in the issue area of biodiversity. The biodiversity convention states three "objectives" of equal importance: conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources. For developing countries such as India, the second and third objectives were crucial conditions for joining the treaty regime. Especially the guarantee of fairness and equity is seen as a major brick in the entire treaty edifice, guaranteeing the South that biodiversity is conceptualized not as a mere environmental issue but also as a development concern. (56) These three principles of the convention, however, are not equally covered by the GBA. The overall framing of the assessment centers on the convention's first objective, conservation of biological diversity, is usually the most pressing concern for Northern constituencies. The second objective, sustainable use of its components, is discussed, yet annexed to the conservation theme. The convention's third fundamental objective, however--the "fair and equitable sharing of the benefits" of the use of biodiversity--is almost entirely ignored. Equally neglected, from the Southern perspective, are concerns relating to trade-related intellectual property rights and Northern patents on Southern knowledge and biological diversity. This specific content of the assessment, which seems to be linked to the low degree of participation of Southern experts, has further limited the influence of the institution on the Indian domestic debate.

In sum, the effects of GBA on Indian policymaking are negligible, especially if compared to the later IPCC with its relatively stronger developing country participation. A parallel to the climate case, however, is the government's unease with international scientific advisory institutions, as indicated by attempts to limit the role of "independent" experts in the biodiversity regime. During the negotiation of the biodiversity convention, some states had proposed that the conference of the parties to the treaty should be supported by a subsidiary body for scientific and technological cooperation, with less than universal membership and with independent experts instead of governmental representatives. The Indian government, however, objected to these proposals.

The government's concerns chiefly stemmed from its anticipation that international independent expertise would be dominated by Northern research institutes that would not fully reflect the situation in developing countries. In particular, the Indian government feared that a subsidiary body for scientific and technological cooperation under the convention would transfer institutional power from the purely diplomatic conference of the parties, with governmental representation and equal voting power, to less controllable or even fully independent assessment processes, and that the body might eventually assume some implementing functions, either institutionalized or informally, and draw attention to, or even direct sanctions against, countries deemed to be in noncompliance with the convention. Such countries were most likely to be developing countries, including India as one of the twelve "megadiversity countries." (57) Implicit in this fear were also concerns that under the influence of Northern natural scientis ts the biodiversity treaty could evolve into a purely environmental treaty and sideline the development concerns of India, such as the transfer of biotechnology and sovereign rights over genetic resources. The GBA, completed three years later, somewhat justified the concerns raised by the Indian government before 1992. (58) Although India's government eventually failed in its efforts to entirely block the establishment of the subsidiary body, Indian concerns were nonetheless taken into account in the eventual shape of the relevant provisions of the biodiversity convention.

Regarding the GBA itself, the shortness of its existence limits conclusions over any variation of impact over time. Given the experience of the IPCC over the last fourteen years, it seems that if GBA had been organized in a similar fashion--that is, as an iterative process with the steadily growing participation of developing countries--its impact over time on countries such as India would have been greater. This stronger effectiveness might have been supported, first, by direct positive effects of the linkage of participating domestic scientists to the global institution and to domestic decisionmaking processes and second, by the presumably sizable influence of this participation on the content of the information that would have increased the issue prominence with Indian decisionmakers. (59)


Taken together, the direct effects of international scientific advisory institutions on the development and implementation of India's policy on ozone depletion, climate change, or biodiversity protection seem limited. These institutions hardly changed the Indian public's perception regarding these three issues. In the case of climate and ozone, issue prominence was low and remained so, and biodiversity protection had already been disputed in public and in the parliament before GBA was initiated. Still, international scientific advisory institutions had some effects. They led to changes in the research priorities of Indian scientists, helped build some research capacities, and raised concern about the climate problem by initiating research on monsoons and rising sea levels. This latter point emphasized the precarious vulnerability of India vis-a-vis global warming.

Given this general picture, it appears that of all three advisory institutions, IPCC had, in its most recent setup, the largest influence in India. To a large extent, this can be linked to IPCC's specific characteristics and its evolution over time. Notable was the significant increase in participation of developing country experts that assisted in raising issue prominence in India--even if in the form of occasional counter-assessments--and in redefining the structure of IPCC's work to better take into account Southern needs and interests, again making the institution more prominent in the broader Indian debate. This fed back into assessment processes within the Indian government, yet without changing the negotiating strategy and policy position much.

Regarding the content of the information, the findings of this research support the claim by experts within India that the knowledge synthesized and assessed by scientific advisory institutions tends to be to the disadvantage of or oblivious to the interests of developing countries. This runs counter to a publicly held belief that science and scientific assessments are neutral endeavors. The neutrality of science certainly holds for many sections in assessments--for example, on taxonomies of plant and animal species, or on the results of climate modeling exercises. Yet we can clearly identify certain influences of Northern concerns, preferences, and interests in the overall outline and, in particular, in the socioeconomic sections of the assessment reports. (60) This in mm limited the influence of these reports, at least in India.

What can decisionmakers wishing to design effective international advisory institutions learn from the Indian case study? Clearly, assessments published by such institutions will hardly suffice to change the public perception of global environmental problems in developing countries. The root causes of the low prominence of, say, climate change in India is not the lack of information but short-term concerns: not only economic development, poverty, a difficult national security situation, and ethnic violence, but also a number of immediate local environmental problems. Climate change and ozone depletion will thus remain elitist issues with which mainly senior governmental bureaucrats and a few hundred experts within research institutions are concerned. Nonetheless, this research suggests three "lessons" for institutional design to improve the relevance of international scientific advisory institutions for developing countries and to increase the benefits of scientific research for the South.

First, the influence of international scientific advisory institutions on public debate and the prominence of issues in the South would be improved if the work within these institutions better took into account Southern concerns and viewpoints. This would entail, in essence, a reorientation away from mere "scientific" analysis and a stronger analysis of the socioeconomic issues that are the cause and consequence of global environmental change. Candidates for debate are the specific vulnerability of developing countries and how this could be addressed, as well as equity issues and the consumption patterns in the North (and how to influence them). All these issues have already been dealt with- for example, by IPCC--and have been strengthened in the planning of the current third IPCC assessment cycle. It is likely that this development will further increase IPCC's credibility, legitimacy, and usefulness, at least within India (though simultaneously it may decrease credibility within OECD countries).

Second, the lack of credibility and usefulness of the information offered by scientific advisory institutions in developing countries is linked to the perceived domination of these institutions by experts from industrialized countries who are capable of structuring the work process and of influencing the outcome according to their own priorities. From present experience with international scientific advisory institutions and the debate within India, it appears that strong Southern participation is crucial to prevent the institutions from neglecting the concerns of developing countries. Thus, it seems that Southern participation needs to be strengthened and made more effective, in line with the recent efforts at IPCC.

Third, this research suggests that increasing participation of Southern experts requires enhancing the endogenous research potential in the South. (61) This could be achieved by increasing the funds of the scientific advisory institutions to enable them not only to reimburse travel costs of developing country participants at IPCC meetings but to organize Southern contributions as commissioned papers--that is, to pay for them. A second possibility would be to provide more research capacities directly--for example, through the GEF. Such reforms would assist in building up more endogenous capacities within the research institutes of developing countries and improving the link of international scientific advisory institutions to national decisionmaking in the South. If Indian scientists, for example, could base their assessments and statements to their government less on Northern data and more on global climate models that have been developed and used within India itself, this might influence the perception of th is data in the Indian decisionmaking system.

But however important increasing the effectiveness of international scientific advisory institutions in developing countries is, it remains, at least for the immediate future, the obligation of the industrialized countries to act. Despite recent economic growth, the average income and "environmental consumption" of the richest 10 percent of Indians is significantly below the income and consumption of, for example, the poorest 20 percent of U.S. citizens. (62) Thus, however important it is that international scientific advisory institutions offer valuable information to decisionmakers and the public in the South, their most crucial effects still need to be in the North.


(1.) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); IPCC, Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); IPCC, Climate Change 1995: Economic and Social Dimensions of Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

(2.) Global Biodiversity Assessment, edited by V. H. Heywood and chaired by R. T. Watson, published for the United Nations Environment Programme (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

(3.) See also Barbara Connolly, Alex Farrell, Wendy Franz, Jill Jager, Terry Keating, Robert O. Keohane, Ronald B. Mitchell, and Stacy D. VanDeveer, Institutions Working Group Theme Paper 'Information and Governance' (manuscript, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, 1998).

(4.) See, for example, Peter M. Haas, Robert O. Keohane, and Marc A. Levy, eds., Institutions for the Earth: Sources of Effective International Environmental Protection (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993); David G. Victor, Kal Raustiala, and Eugene B. Skolnikoff, eds., The Implementation and Effectiveness of International Environmental Commitments: Theory and Practice (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998). For a quantitative approach for measuring regime effectiveness, see Carsten Helm and Detlef Sprinz, "Measuring the Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes," Journal of Conflict Resolution 44, no. 5 (2000): 630-652.

(5.) See Peter M. Haas, Saving the Mediterranean: The Politics of International Environmental Cooperation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990).

(6.) See, for example, Judith Goldstein and Robert O. Keohane, eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).

(7.) Ronald B. Mitchell, "Sources of Transparency: Information Systems in International Regimes," International Studies Quarterly 42 (1998): 109-130.

(8.) See, for example, Sheila Jasanoff, "Science and Norms in Global Environmental Regimes," in F. E. Hampson and J. Reppy, eds., Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996): pp. 173-197.

(9.) See, for example, Liliana Botcheva, Doing Is Believing: Participation and Use of Assessments in the Approximation of EU Environmental Legislation in Eastern Europe, ENRP Discussion Paper E-98-13, Harvard University, 1998; David Cash, Assessing and Addressing Cross-scale Environmental Risks: Information and Decision Systems for the Management of the High Plains Aquifer, ENRP Discussion Paper E-98-17, Harvard University, 1998; Stacy D. VanDeveer, European Politics with a Scientific Face: Transition Countries, International Environmental Assessment, and Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, ENRP Discussion Paper E-98-09, Harvard University, 1998.

(10.) Botcheva, Doing Is Believing; VanDeveer, European Politics with a Scientific Face.

(11.) See Jill Jager, "Current Thinking on Using Scientific Findings in Environmental Policy Making," Environmental Modeling and Assessment 3, no. 3 (1998): 143-153.

(12.) See William C. Clark and Nancy M. Dickson, "Civic Science: America's Encounter with Global Environmental Risks," in Global Environmental Assessment Project, ed., A Critical Evaluation of Global Environmental Assessments: The Climate Experience (Calverton, Md.: CARE, 1997), pp. 41-44.

(13.) See Graham Chapman, Keval Kumar, Caroline Fraser, and Ivor Gaber, Environmentalism and the Mass Media: The North-South Divide (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).

(14.) On India's global environmental policy in general, see, for example, Sheila Jasanoff, "India at the Crossroads in Global Environmental Policy," Global Environmental Change 3, no. 1 (1993): 32-52.

(15.) All interviews were conducted in India from January through March 1999. Since the analysis addresses fairly sensitive issues (including legitimacy of United Nations and foreign scientific research as well as reasonableness and effectiveness of governmental policy and the impact of project funding), it appeared advisable to protect the identity of interviewees by not ascribing single judgments and information to individuals. Interviews were conducted in New Delhi or Mumbai with the following experts and policymakers: A. Agarwal, director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi; V. Asthana, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; T. C. Bose, Jadavpur University, Calcutta; K. Chatterjee, manager, Development Alternatives, New Delhi; H. Datye, fellow, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai; U. Garud, additional secretary, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi; N. Karunan, Greenpeace International, New Delhi; R. Khan, rector and Jawaharlal Nehru Chair in En vironmental Law, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; M. Lal, chief scientific officer, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; V. S. Mani, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; A. P. Meachinkara, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India; S. Narain, deputy director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi; P. H. Parekh, president of Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, New Delhi; J. K. Parikh, acting director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai; K. S. Parikh, founder director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai; R. K. Pauchauri, director, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi; Shri S. P. Prabhu, (then) union cabinet minister of environment and forests, Government of India, New Delhi; L. Raghupathy, joint director, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India; P. S. Ramakrishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; S. Ranjan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and affiliate, Greenpeace International, New Delhi; K. V. Rao, research affiliate, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; P. Sethi, research associate, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi; T. P. Singh, fellow, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi; S. B. Srikanth, area convenor, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi. Some information draws on interviews with R. T. Watson, chair of the IPCC, with participants of the Global Environmental Assessment Project, Harvard University, in December 1998.

(16.) See, in particular, Richard E. Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet, enlarged ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).

(17.) Frank Biermann, "Financing Environmental Policies in the South: Experiences from the Multilateral Ozone Fund," International Environmental Affairs 9, no. 3 (1997): 179-218.

(18.) See Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy; Wolfgang Jung, Expert Advice in Global Environmental Decision Making: How Close Should Science and Policy Get? ENRP Discussion Paper E-99-14, Harvard University, 1999; Karen T. Litfin, Ozone Discourses: Science and Politics in Global Environmental Cooperation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

(19.) Jung, Expert Advice in Global Environmental Decision Making.

(20.) See Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy, p. 101.

(21.) Daniel F. Kohler, John Haaga, and Frank Camm, Projections of Consumption of Products Using Chlorofluorocarbons in Developing Countries (Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand Corporation, 1987).

(22.) See Marc Williams, "Re-articulating the Third World Coalition: The Role of the Environmental Agenda," Third World Quarterly 14, no. 1 (1993): 7-29, at p. 22.

(23.) Details in Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Annual Report 1997-1998, p. 139; see Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Initiatives, New Programmes, pp. 48-50; Kalipada Chatterjee, "Climate Change and Ozone Layer Protocols (Part I)," Development Alternatives 9, no. 2 (February 1999): 5-7.

(24.) See Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Annual Report 1997-1998.

(25.) Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Order (Expert Advisory Committee on Global Environmental Issues), No. 24 (1)/88, cited in Susanne Jakobsen, India's Position on Climate Change from Rio to Kyoto: A Policy Analysis, Working Paper 98.11, Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen, 1998, p. 27; see also Mukund Govind Rajan, Global Environmental Politics: India and the North-South Politics of Global Environmental Issues (New Delhi: Oxford University Press 1997), p. 100.

(26.) Rajan, Global Environmental Politics, pp. 60-61.

(27.) "Ozone Layer Study Plan of NPL," in World Science News 27 (4 July 1990): 11-13 (cited in Rajan, Global Environmental Politics, p. 60).

(28.) See Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy, p. 101.

(29.) Rajan, Global Environmental Politics, pp. 60-61.

(30.) Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy, p. 101.

(31.) Biermann, "Financing Environmental Policies in the South."

(32.) Supreme Court of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 763 of 1994. Dr. Gurdip Singh (Petitioner) versus Shri Ram Fibres Ltd. and Others (Respondent). All records are on file with author.

(33.) See Shardul Agrawala, "Context and Early Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," Climatic Change 39, no. 4 (1998): 605-620; Shardul Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," Climatic Change 39, no. 4 (1998): 621-642.

(34.) Jung, Expert Advice in Global Environmental Decision Making.

(35.) Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," p. 630.

(36.) See Frank Biermann, "Common Concern of Humankind: The Emergence of a New Concept of International Environmental Law," Archiv des Volkerrechts 34, no. 4 (1996): 426-481.

(37.) Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Annual Report 1997-1998, pp. 96-98.

(38.) Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Initiatives, New Programmes, p. 40.

(39.) R. K. Pachauri, "Some Early Next Steps," in R. K. Pachauri, ed., Climate Change: Post-Kyoto Perspectives from the South (New Delhi: Tata Energy Research Institute, 1998), pp. 139-152. See also Jakobsen, India's Position on Climate Change from Rio to Kyoto, p. 13.

(40.) See also Frank Biermann, "Big Science, Small Impacts--in the South? The Influence of Global Environmental Assessments on Expert Communities in India," Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 11, no. 4 (2001): 297-309.

(41.) Jakobsen, India's Position on Climate Change from Rio to Kyoto, p. 27; see also p. 14.

(42.) Chatterjee, "Climate Change and Ozone Layer Protocols (Part I)."

(43.) See also Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change"; Jung, Expert Advice in Global Environmental Decision Making.

(44.) Cited in Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," p. 628.

(45.) See Rajan, Global Environmental Politics, p. 108; Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," p. 629.

(46.) See, for example, IPCC, The IPCC Third Assessment Report Decision Paper: Approved at the XIIIth Session of the IPCC, 21-28 September 1997, Republic of the Maldives, 1997; online at

(47.) For IPCC's third assessment cycle, there were three chairs and vice-chairs from industrialized countries (including one from a country with an economy in transition) and three from developing countries, with similar quotas applying to the working groups (see IPCC, The IPCC Third Assessment Report Decision Paper, para. 14). The IPCC thus has in effect the same parity governing structure as the GEF or the Montreal Protocol and its fund. In the GEF, the governing council decides by a vote representing both a 60 percent majority of participants (favoring the South) and a 60 percent majority of total contributions (favoring the North). Both the meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol and the executive committee of the ozone fund decide by two-thirds majority vote that must include the majority of both developing and industrialized countries.

(48.) Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain, Global Warming in an Unequal World: A Case of Environmental Colonialism (New Delhi: Centre for Science and Environment, 1991).

(49.) See Global Biodiversity Assessment.

(50.) See Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Environment Action Programme, 1993.

(51.) The Supreme Court had to deal with biodiversity, but there is no indication that GBA played a role in the courtroom. Supreme Court of India, Order of November 16, 1998, in the Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology and Others, Petitioners, versus Ministry of Agriculture and Others, Respondents, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 212 of 1998. Document on file with author.

(52.) Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Annual Report 1997-1998, pp. 41-43, 48; Ashish Kothari, "A Step in the Right Direction?" Frontline (12 February 1999): 89-95; Abraham P. Meachinkara, The Contribution of the Rio Earth Summit to the Development of Environmental Law in India (Ph.D. diss., School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1998).

(53.) See Aarti Gupta, Governing Biosafety in India: The Relevance of the Cartagena Protocol, ENRP Discussion Paper 2000-24, Harvard University, 2000.

(54.) See in more detail Frank Biermann, Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations: Global Environmental Assessments Between North and South, ENRP Discussion Paper 2000-17, Harvard University, 2000, online at

(55.) See Aarti Gupta, "Governing Trade in Genetically Modified Organisms: The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety," Environment 42, no. 4 (2000): 22-33; Science Reporter (February 1999).

(56.) See John Mugabe, Charles Victor Barber, Gudrun Henne, Lyle Glowka, and Antonio La Vifia, eds., Access to Genetic Resources: Strategies for Sharing Benefits (Nairobi: African Centre for Technology Studies Press, 1997).

(57.) Rajan, Global Environmental Politics, p. 222.

(58.) See Biermann, Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations.

(59.) On the linkage of participation to the content of assessments, see Biermann, Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations.

(60.) Biermann, Science as Power in International Environmental Negotiations.

(61.) See also Agrawala, "Structural and Process History of the Intergovemmental Panel on Climate Change," p. 632; Milind Kandlikar and Ambuj Sagar, "Climate Change Research and Analysis in India: An Integrated Assessment of a South-North Divide," Global Environmental Change 9, no. 2 (1999): 119-138.

(62.) See Jyoti Parikh, Manoj Panda, and N. S. Murthy, Consumption Pattern Differences and Environmental Implications: A Case Study of India (Bombay: Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, 1994).

Frank Biermann directs the Global Governance Project at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Potsdam, Germany, and is adjunct professor of political science at the Freie Universitat Berlin. He is currently a visiting fellow with the Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda of the University of Maryland at College Park. He also chairs the Environmental Policy and Global Change Working Group of the German Political Science Association ( Biermann has authored three books and numerous articles on questions of global environmental governance and co-authored a recent volume on trade and environment. His doctoral thesis won the Joachim Tiburtius Prize, awarded by the State of Berlin for the best dissertations of the Berlin universities. He can be contacted at
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