Given the environmental challenges many post-conflict societies face, researchers and policy-makers express growing interest in environmental cooperation and management in the aftermath of political agreements. To date, the literature focuses overwhelmingly on government policies, formal agreements, or international interventions. The role of local environmental experts in shaping the science-policy nexus of transboundary cooperation in post-conflict societies received little attention. We address this lacuna by studying influencing factors and interaction realms of such experts in Israel and Jordan following the 1994 peace agreement. Based on survey data, focus groups and participant observations gathered over a five-year period (2017–2022) we find that environmental experts interact with decisions makers in their own country in varying degrees, with the purpose to influence TEC policy. The experts play important roles as policy entrepreneurs in shaping and carrying out post-agreement transboundary environmental cooperation which is independent of their interaction with decision makers and policy. In addition, the experts report a positive transformation of their attitudes vis-à-vis the respective other side. However, contextual factors beyond the experts’ control shape transboundary conservation in important and asymmetrical ways. This is most evident by anti-normalisation pressures that Jordanian experts face.
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- Environmental peacebuilding
- Epistemic communities
- Science-policy nexus
- Transboundary environmental cooperation