Science in and for the intergovernmental system

This project aims to strengthen the mandate for science in global policy, supported by effective and coordinated science-policy interface mechanisms.

Science in and for the intergovernmental system

Despite widespread agreement on the need to ensure that all policy decisions are informed by the best available scientific evidence, the potential contribution of science to policy-making could be much greater than it is today.

At the global level, and particularly within the UN system, more impactful science-policy engagement requires effective coordination between a growing range of interface mechanisms, which operate within and between different agencies and with different mandates, modes of engagement and cultures of decision-making. Given that global policy-making is ultimately dependent on endorsement from member states, it is also essential to connect efforts to advance evidence-informed policy-making at the national level to those undertaken internationally. The critical role of science in addressing virtually every global issue must be continually reinforced through coordination between and across these levels.

Amplifying the visibility and voice of the international scientific community within the UN and other global policy fora requires a long-term vision of the role of science in global policy. This must be based on an understanding of the complex political dynamics and policy processes at the global level and of the most effective pathways to influence for science, both formal and informal.

Anticipated impact

A strengthened mandate for science in global policy, supported by effective and coordinated science-policy interface mechanisms and based on recognition of the ISC as the global go-to for independent, integrated scientific expertise, input and advice.

Key Milestones

✅ The ISC secretariat produced a draft Discussion Paper in September 2020 following an expert group consultation and desk research. The paper aims to inform the scientific community and stimulate discussion on the challenges and opportunities to strengthen scientific inputs and advice in the UN system and of the need to critically review existing institutional mechanisms and capabilities to address 21st century challenges.

High-level group appointed to lead the development of the ISC’s strategy in the intergovernmental system. 

✅ During the 2nd General Assembly, the ISC Members overwhelmingly supported the resolution on actioning the recommendations of the “Draft Report on the ISC Strategy in the Intergovernmental System”

✅ In December 2021, the ISC strategy in the intergovernmental system was published. This report examines these key questions, and makes recommendations to the ISC on its strategy in the intergovernmental system.

Next Steps

🟡 Establishing a working group for prioritization and implementation of the ISC strategy in the intergovernmental system.

Steering Group

Peter Gluckman

President-Elect of the ISC

Pearl Dykstra

Member of the ISC Governing Board

Michel Jarraud

Secretary General Emeritus – World Meteorological Organization.

Diana Mangalagiu

Professor at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; Neoma Business School, France; Adjunct Professor at Sciences Po.

Maria Ivanova

Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Boston

Ruben G. Echeverria

Director General Emeritus of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT-CGIAR).

Roberto Lenton

Professor Emeritus of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Daugherty Distinguished Fellow, University of Nebraska.

Salvatore Aricò

Head of the Ocean Science Section at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

Marcos Regis da Silva

Executive Director, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research.

Xiaolan Fu

Founding Director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD); Professor of Technology and International Development, University of Oxford.

Judi Wakhungu

H.E. Judi Wakhungu

Ambassador of Kenya to the French Republic, Portugal, Serbia & Holy See.


Skip to content