How to make global assessments more effective: lessons from the assessment community

Autor(en): Rothman, Dale S.
van Bers, Caroline 
Bakkes, Jan
Pahl-Wostl, Claudia 
Integrated Assessment Society
Stichwörter: Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; Science & Technology - Other Topics
Erscheinungsdatum: 2009
Volumen: 1
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 214
Seitenende: 218
In recent years, a range of international organizations have worked with the research community to produce a series of integrated assessments of key issues related to global environmental sustainability (e.g. the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the UNEP Global Environment Outlooks). More are planned for the coming years. While these assessments vary in their issue focus, governance structure, stated purpose and methodologies, they share a number of common characteristics. They generally review and synthesize existing knowledge and contribute to policy dialogues surrounding crucial environmental issues, in particular, climate change, energy, agriculture and water. They also face common challenges related to the diverse and sometimes diverging disciplinary and political perspectives that participants bring; the multi-scalar nature of the issues; the level of uncertainty in our understanding of many of the issues; the need to communicate to a range of audiences; and the need to walk a fine line between being policy relevant and policy prescriptive. There are additional challenges associated with the coordination across assessments, since issues overlap and, as a result, many contributors are involved in multiple assessments. In light of the scope and scale of these assessments and the challenges listed, there is now considerable reflection taking place on how the process of developing assessments and their content can be improved. The Integrated Assessment Society has brought together some of the main authors and chairs involved in these processes in order to transform these reflections into concrete recommendations for improving the process and the content of the assessments themselves. The objective of this exercise has been to support future assessments and to increase their impacts on decision-making. The results point to several areas requiring continued attention, including improvements in the design process to better achieve the respective goals of the assessments; coordination across assessments in order to share knowledge and improve outreach; improved communication of sources of uncertainty; the use and presentation of more qualitative data and knowledge; further exploration of the use of coupled global and subglobal assessments; careful management of participants, including stakeholders, in the assessment process; involvement of policy makers in the scoping and review processes; and the establishment and maintenance of an institutional home for the assessments.
ISSN: 18773435
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.09.002

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