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Kwa, Chunglin. 2001. "The Steering of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)." Draft Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) Discussion Paper. Cambridge, MA: Environment and Natural Resources Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


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This paper (work in progress) consists of seven chapters. In the first, the formation of the disciplinary and technological orientation of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) will be studied. Much of this occurred in the US, in the period between 1983 and 1986. The International Council for Science (ICSU) is the subject of chapter 2. Since 1986, ICSU is formally in the lead of the IGBP. But ICSU has no money of its own, and the IGBP doesn't benefit from an intergovernmentally agreed funding arrangement as is the case with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), which is administered through the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), an intergovernmental organisation. Instead, on the research level, the IGBP has to be implemented country by country, through the various national research systems. An informal mechanism developed, the International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA), which exerts a (sometimes contested) form of leadership. In chapter 3, three national case studies as seen from the science policy angle are described: the US, the Netherlands, and France. Chapter 4 is devoted to IGFA, the forum of informal consultations between various national funding agencies and, in fact in most cases, their governmental overlords. In chapter 4 we will analyse how the notion of `interdisciplinarity’ came to designate some of the relationships between the sciences in the IGBP and the importance of data-gathering, primarily through remote sensing. Space science, and in particular the impact of space science on ecology, is the subject of chapter 6. Chapter 7 is devoted to ecology in the US and and the impact of the notion of the `global’ on ecology’s development in these two countries.


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