Keeping track of sustainability and the environment – data, science and practice in the Baltic Sea Region

Field: Statsvetenskap
Project leader: Elfar Loftsson
Starting year: 2002
Project type: Project

The different aspects of environmental research and teaching have been gradually developing at Södertörns högkola and at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan. We believe that a co-operation between these academic units might be a fruitful combination to study the interface between environmental data build-up and policy-making regarding environmental protection and sustainable development. Both KTH and SH have developed large networks of co-operation which would help in the formation of a strong research-profile in the field concerned.
We therefore intend to start with a pilot project where the intentions are to formulate well-grounded hypotheses and research questions for a cross-disciplinary project concerning the linkage between environmental scientific production and knowledge-basis of policies, decision making and administration.

The objects will with varying thoroughness include the following aspects:
* An historical overview of (scientific,) environmental & sustainability assessment and reporting in the BSR since 1950. The intention here is to identify various “phases” during last half-century inclusive conformity to general Global, Baltic Sea regional (geopolitical) and national socio-economic, political, international security and related societal developments.
* Sustainability assessment and reporting at local, national and the regional level – the state-of-the-art in such practices among various Baltic countries, coherence in practices between the geographical levels, e.g. in selection of issues of concern and indicators.
* Recent practices in environmental & sustainability assessment and reporting; indicators, Internet and Geographical Information Systems, networks
* Environmental data and information – an asset, public infrastructure, a resource or a commercial commodity? The objective here is to analyse access to environmental data & information, the legal dimension, ref. the Aarhus Convention & new EU Directive on Access to environmental. info., versus the Soviet Union view of information (=desinformation)
* The effectiveness (or impact) of recent environmental & sustainability assessment and reporting. The intention is to assess and evaluate how the end-users are specified/identified, how the information is presented/packaged and communicated, how or if the information has an impact upon decision-making processes or awareness.