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Silver World: The Role of Science in International Policy Making

Svetoslava Todorova (Syracuse University)

June 2016


"Silver World" is a role-play simulation of intergovernmental negotiations. The simulation was developed to help participants learn about the importance of science and the influence of politics on environmental policy-making. It is a teaching tool that provides an enhanced and guided experience on interest-based negotiations and collaborative decision-making under scientific uncertainty and divergence of political ideologies. The simulation is modeled after the ongoing United Nations Environmental Program Intergovernmental Negotiations on Mercury. Participating parties are challenged to draft an international treaty that will protect human health and environment from future mercury contamination while taking into consideration regional and/or national technological limitations, political will, and stage of economic development. The simulation can be conducted as a continuous five-day immersive experience or over multiple weeks. It has the build-in flexibility to accommodate multiple parties, engage a number of participants with diverse backgrounds and educational levels, and to include an in-depth research component.