To influence, create, implement, and enforce policies, one must be able to help:
- define problem situations,
- provide informed options or responses, and
- address many competing interests.
The end goal is to improve policy makers’ ability to access and apply specialized forms of knowledge.
Communicating with decision makers
Risk communication ensures that risk issues enter onto a decision maker’s agenda through a number of different avenues, including:
- regular policy making channel;
- follow-up on previous government policy decisions;
- public concerns raised by the media, experts;
- interest group pressure;
- the availability of new scientific information or the availability of new technologies; and
- dominating events (disasters, social changes, etc.).
Interacting with the policy process
The figure (above) shows the entry points for interacting with the policy processes through:
- Improving understanding of the policy process - its formulation, implementation and monitoring in the context of the health Risk Management approach.
- Transmitting knowledge (scientific or otherwise) to policy makers, who respond to new information by putting it on the policy agenda, decide to push ahead with the change, and then implement it.
- RM decision-making process should ideally be orchestrated by a core working group/champion who can draw on the expertise of, and promote communication among, the various concerned ministries as well as other stakeholder groups.
Facilitating access to knowledge and expertise is crucial, since the more informed the policy makers’ perspective of risk, the better the chance of constructing an appropriate policy response to POPs/hazardous chemical health risk.