Agencies navigating the political at the science-to-policy interface for nature-based solutions
2022, Kirsop-Taylor & Russel
There has been a great deal of interest in recent years in this journal and others in the emerging science and practice of nature-based solutions (NBS) to environmental and climate challenges. Whilst the policy dynamics of these interventions are starting to slowly emerge, less is known about the interface of policy-politics-evidence for NBS. This paper argues that there is a role that public environmental agencies acting as boundary actors can play in the successful brokering of knowledge about NBS into policy. Situated loosely within boundary conceptual approaches, it offers an empirical case study of a UK public boundary agency seeking to broker knowledge about NBS into national policy making forum, which are highly political. The results show that this agency utlises four key tools for navigating ‘the political’ in brokering evidence about NBS into policy: communications and framing, embedding, selectivity, and lobbying. These findings reveal new insights about how public agencies navigate the free market of knowledge production through a four-part tool kit. It concludes by offering suggestions for the wider applicability of the research to the still emerging field of policy for NBS.