Policies guides decision-making of politicians and resource managers. Policies can also become entrenched in legislation. Policy-making often follow a cycle involving bringing an issue to the attention of policy makers (agenda setting), defining the different options to address that issue (formulation, based on data, information and knowledge), implementing actions to achieve goals (implementation); and assessing whether the actions are actually achieving those goals (monitoring and evaluation). Most decisions could be conceptualised in a similar manner: becoming aware of an issue and prioritising it, defining a course of action (potentially amongst many options), implementing those actions, and assessing whether they are having the desired impact. The availability of appropriate, reliable and correct data and information – also known as scientific evidence – supports the policy cycle at every phase.
This policy brief was produced from a MASMA project of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (www.wiomsa.org) entitled Use of Research Outputs by Management Authorities: Assessment of Current Practices and Identification of Capacity Building Needs. The aims of the study were to improve the understanding of how scientific information is integrated in marine and coastal management under different institutional arrangements; and contribute to establishing the effectiveness of relationships between scientists and decision-makers in addressing management issues.