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TIAS Newsletter
 

April 2022


 
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Photo: J. Newig

The Society

The Integrated Assessment Society is a not-for-profit entity created to promote the community of inter-disciplinary and disciplinary scientists, analysts and practitioners who develop and use Integrated Assessment (IA). The goals of the society are to nurture this community, to promote the development of IA and to encourage its wise application.

We define Integrated Assessment as the interdisciplinary process of integrating knowledge from various disciplines and stakeholder groups in order to evaluate a problem situation from a variety of perspectives and provide support for its solution. IA supports learning and decision processes and helps to identify desirable and possible options for addressing the problem. It therefore builds on two major methodological pillars: approaches to integrating knowledge about a problem domain, and understanding policy and decision making processes. IA has been developed to address issues of acid rain, climate change, land degradation, water and air quality management, forest and fisheries management and public health.


Feature

New phase in international biodiversity policy requiring new type of assessments?


by Marcel Kok, Programme leader, International Biodiversity Policy,
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
                                                                                                          

Global biodiversity governance is about to enter a new phase. It is expected that in the second half of this year the negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) will be concluded at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Kunming, China. One of the new elements of this framework will be a mechanism for planning, reporting and review to strengthen the implementation of the convention. It has been broadly recognized that one of shortcomings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Framework 2010-2020 with its 20 “Aichi biodiversity targets” is the lack of a transparency and accountability framework that allows the effective identification of the contribution of individual Parties to the realization of global goals and targets that they had subscribed to. Although the transparency and accountability framework as part of the post-2020 GBF is still under negotiation (1), its contours are becoming increasingly understood and accepted.

An important element of this mechanism is a regular global stock take of progress of both state and non-state action for biodiversity as a basis for review, possibly combined with a ratcheting mechanism that requires countries to step up their effort in case progress lags behind. The relevance of such a stock take has been clearly demonstrated by the Emission Gap reports published by UNEP in the last 12 years (2).

Global stock-take analysis allows first of all  determining if ambitions and commitments of  countries will be sufficient to meet the internationally agreed-to goals and targets,  and second, if implementation of these commitments is on track or if an implementation gap exists. Thirdly, it also allows a focus on specific issues or countries that are pertinent to the global process (for example the role of G20 or specific non-state actor contributions).

A major  question for the coming period is how to organize such a stock take for biodiversity within the CBD? Two main global assessment tracks exist within and related to the CBD, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), with its complementary Local Biodiversity Outlooks (highlighting the perspective of indigenous People and Local Communities) (3). While IPBES has its own governance structure, the GBO is essentially a secretariat-driven process to which the academic and assessment community contributes.

IPBES in its work programme for the coming 10 years, envisions a publication of a second global assessment report by 2028 of progress towards 2030 goals. This report will among other things analyse progress towards reaching the targets of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and contribute to the monitoring and review of that framework (as described in initial terms of reference) (4). The time schedule and focus of assessments (Nexus and Transformative Change) that recently have been initiated and the very nature of scientific assessments do not align well with the requirement of a regular stock-take of commitments and progress in reviewing the implementation by CBD Parties and non-state actors. So although Parties regularly refer to IPBES for stocktaking, IPBES reports may not fill this gap in a way that is timely and specific enough to support the accountability mechanism of the CBD. It should be noted that within the climate regime the UNEP Emission Gap reports also exist next to the IPCC assessments.

The GBO might be more suitable as a regular ‘biodiversity gap’ report, but the question is if the mandate and capacity of the CBD secretariate are sufficient to perform these tasks in a credible manner. To be able to do so will in any case require a major upgrading and revamping of the GBO. This requires development of “a collaborative ‘data and analytics” community to collect, analyse and publish all state and non-state biodiversity action that involves current data gatherers on biodiversity action by non-state actors. A specific challenge will be to not only look at the commitments of the Parties and their implementation, but also include the contribution of non-state actors (5). Furthermore gap reporting will require the global biodiversity model- and scenario-analysis to move towards ex ante evaluation of policy efforts, what IPBES refers to as policy-screening scenarios (6). If the GBO cannot develop in this direction it may well be necessary that the key organisations involved, UNEP, for example through the World Conservation and Monitoring Center (WCMC) and/or IUCN step up their efforts and convey an independent biodiversity gap report in support of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The post-2020 GBF will mark a new stage in global biodiversity governance and the monitoring, reporting and review mechanism will be an important element to strengthen implementation. It is now also the time for biodiversity assessment practitioners, to consider the new questions and tasks raised through the post-2020 GBF.


References
 

TIAS News

 

Webcast Series on Grand Challenges of SES Modelling continues in 2022


The joint webcast series by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), the journal, Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling and TIAS on expanding the development and use of socio-environmental system (SES) models continues in 2022. Announcements will be circulated as dates are decided on. Preparations are underway for the following themes:
     "Modeling Behavior Change" - early June
     "Participatory Modeling"  - July & Sept
     "History & Future Combined in  Socio-Environmental Systems" -  July or Sept
     "River Basin Management" -  October



Previous webcasts in the SES Modeling series are linked from the TIAS website:

Webcast October 2021: Creating Socio-Environmental Scenarios 

Webcast June 2021: ‘Confronting Issues of Scale in Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling

Webcasts April 2021:

Part1: Understanding the Grand Challenges in Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling
Part 2: Uncertainty, Transparency and Robustness in Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling and Assessments

 
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IA News


Design for impact: A holistic approach to model development


The International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs), together with the journal SESMO, has launched a quarterly webinar series. The March 17, 2022 event focused on socio-environmental modelling as a social learning mechanism and thus on non-technical aspects of it. Serena Hamilton of the Australian National University explained how this leads to a core set of requirements and contexts to be considered. In turn, these can be used, very systematically, to facilitate stakeholder discussions and  guide design choices and evaluation. The panel discussion underlined with various viewpoints and examples the growing importance of contextual awareness to keep environmental modelling fit for purpose. Inevitably, one challenge is to find forms of contracts and sponsoring that allow for regular evaluation and change. A recording of the webinar, including a the pre-recorded video of the talk by Serena Hamilton, is available here

The organisers of the SESYNC-TIAS-SESMO webcast series are in close contact with iEMSs to ensure complementarity in the respective themes presented. As such, two TIAS members participated as panelists in the last iEMSs webinar.
 

Adapted from photo by Aleksi Tappura on Unsplash

 

Recent Publications of TIAS members

Bellaubí, Francesc (2021) “Sacred” geomorphosites as a place of encountering the Human and the Geosphere in the Anthropocene (English translation). Geographic Space: Balanced Development of Nature and Society. Materials of the II International Scientific and Practical Conference. Chelyabinsk, November 2021. Publisher: Limited Liability Company “Krai Ra” (Chelyabinsk).

Bremer, S., A. Wardekker, M. Baldissera Pacchetti, M. Bruno Soares, J.P. van der Sluijs (2022). Editorial: What counts as high quality knowledge for climate adaptation?Frontiers in Climate, 4, 905786.

Van Beek, L., M. Milkoreit, L. Prokopy, J.B. Reed, J. Vervoort, A. Wardekker, R. Weiner (2022). The effects of serious gaming on risk perceptions of climate tipping pointsClimatic Change, 170, 31. 

Veisi, H., Deihimfard, R., Shahmohammadi, A., & Hydarzadeh, Y. (2022). Application of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) in a multi-criteria selection of agricultural irrigation systems. Agricultural Water Management, 267, 107619.
 

A new Journal of Geoethics and Social Geosciences has been launched. The journal focuses on the role of geosciences as key disciplines in defining the current pressing global problems, and fostering multidisciplinary dialogue between the scientific and humanistic communities in order to offer a broad and organic perspective on issues of planetary scope. The journal is at the same time the culmination of a process of years of work on the themes of geoethics and the starting point for consolidating geoethics as a global ethics towards the Earth system.


Other Recent Publications
 



Events


12 May 2022, (10.30-12.10 CEST)  Webinar: Tipping towards positive social change. Join Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES), Earth Commission, Future Earth and WCRP for the Amazon focused webinar in a series that aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system.

23–25 May 2022, The fourth Dresden Nexus Conference 2022: Biodiversity – Stewardship for Vital Resources.  Online. View programme, keynote Speakers and Sessions.

22 May is the International Day for Biological Diversity to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 and increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Under the slogan: “Building a shared future for all life”. the day is intended to be used to continue building momentum and support for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBF).

 
05-10 June 2022. International Symposium on Ice in a Sustainable Society (ISS), Bilbao, Basque Country, This one-week event organized by the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and the International Glaciological Society (IGS) will focus on the interrelations of ice in all its forms with the formal, natural, applied and social sciences, and the humanitie.  Participants wishing to present their work at the symposium may submit an abstract by 06 May 2022 (see the suggested Topics).

4-8 July 2022. iEMSs conference “Environmental Modelling and Software for science-based decision making”, Brussels.
 
21-23 October 2022. The 2022 Toronto Conference on Earth System Governance, Toronto, Canada. This year’s conference theme is: Governing accelerated transitions: justice, creativity, and power in a transforming world. The conference is hosted by the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo together with the Earth System Governance Project.
 
Job Openings
 
Expert on Integrated Assessment Modelling  for the development and use of integrated assessment modelling (IAMs) for the evaluation of energy and climate policies. Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). Application Deadline 28 April 2022

PhD Scenarios and solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands. Application Deadline 02 May 2022

2 Postdoc positions on transformation pathways at the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern, Switzerland, Application deadline: 6 May 2022

 

 

TIAS Newsletter

The newsletter is published several times per year by The Integrated Assessment Society.

ISSN: 2077-2130

Editor: Caroline van Bers
Editorial Assistant: Johanna Heimrich
Photos: Ulli Meissner © (http://www.ullimeissner.com/) (unless otherwise indicated)
Layout: Worldshaper design - Fabian Heitmann, Caroline van Bers

TIAS President: Caroline van Bers
TIAS Vice-presidents: Jan Bakkes, Marcela Brugnach

TIAS Secretariat, Germany

E-Mail: info[at]tias-web.info
Web:   http://www.tias-web.info/

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