Science–policy guidelines as a benchmark: making the European Water Framework Directive



In recent years, a number of governments have made moves towards evidenced-based policymaking justified by the assertions that scientific understanding makes for better-informed and more effective legislative and regulatory decisions. Some of these governments have produced generic, almost step-by-step recipes, for the use of evidence in policymaking in the form of ‘science–policy guidelines’. The usefulness of these somewhat linear procedures has not been assessed in the actual process of policymaking. Using as a benchmark the guidelines developed by the European Commission, this paper examines the collection and use of scientific advice in the development of the European Water Framework Directive.