The Contributions of Regional Knowledge Networks Researching Environmental Changes in Latin America and Africa: A Synthesis of What They Can Do and Why They Can be Policy Relevant

"We provide a synthesis of what regional scientific research networks in less developed regions of the world can do and why they might be relevant for societal decisions and practice. We do so through a focus on three regional science network initiatives that aim to enhance understanding of the multiscalar dynamics of global environmental change (GEC) regionally and globally, namely the Southern Africa Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000), the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change (IAI). With a view to aiding future efforts at regional research network formation, we assess whether and how these three networks enhanced regional science, and the extent to which they sought and managed to bridge the science-policy gap that challenges GEC science as a whole. Identifying key decisions and attributes bearing on their successes, the analysis attends specifically to how the three networks sought to build capacity, how differences and similarities between them affected their level of autonomy from governments, and how this and other factors influenced their functioning and achievements."
global change, capacity building, research, networks