AFAS embraces science-policy-practice interfaces (SPPIs) as key to demand-driven academic work for addressing climate change and environmental protection. Although there are many capacity development and research programs that focus on specific sectors or that support research in the target countries, there is a clear gap when it comes to initiatives aimed at bringing together actors from different disciplines and sectors, thus strengthening the SPPI. Understanding how to improve the relationships between science, policy and practice has even been described as one of the critical challenges for sustainable development in the 21st century (Wyborn et al. 2017: 3). SPPIs can be organized in different ways, “ranging from a linear delivery of information from scientists to decision makers, to an iterative back-and-forth negotiation of problems, research agendas, relevant information and capacity to use that information within a specific context” (Wyborn et al. 2017: 5). A focus on the different models of SPPIs draws attention to the different ways in which scientific knowledge is (and can be) included in decision-making. For instance, most environmental policies are developed and implemented at the national level. AFAS therefore emphasizes that it is of high importance to share ownership on these issues with the relevant national stakeholder groups, but also to consolidate networks at sub-regional and regional level through platforms, knowledge exchange and capacity building. Through the strengthening of exchange within SPPIs, AFAS seeks to facilitate the development and implementation of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to combat environmental challenges.
Wyborn C, Hutton JM, Leith P, Montana J (2017) The Science, Policy, and Practice Interface. Synthesis Paper.