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TIAS Quarterly

No. 01/2018 (April)
The Newsletter of
The Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS)

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In this Issue

Photo: Ulli Meissner ©

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.

Integrated Assessment can be defined 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.



What was Integrated Assessment again?

by Jan Bakkes, Retired from Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and TIAS Vice-President

The practice of Integrated Assessment is alive and growing. Perhaps it is time to refresh our understanding of IA

Integrated Assessment practice is evolving

Integrated environment assessment is apparently a useful tool. Once you start  counting, for example global and regional environment outlooks, the use of IA as a practice has been surprisingly widespread over the past decade (e.g., see Jabbour and Flachsland, 2017 on 40 years of global environmental assessments). TIAS found similarly large numbers when we took stock of Integrated Assessment practices in the form of backcasting ( ). Social Impact Assessment guidelines have appeared, signaling in rich detail the growing awareness of at least some enterprises of the need to earn their social license to operate – which implies state-of-the-art assessment for large new initiatives.

Furthermore, an active global modelling community operates in the spirit of Integrated Assessment. It recently produced the Shared Socio-Economic Pathways, scenario tools in support of forward-looking assessments that consider a wide array of societal developments. Around the corner is the application of Integrated Assessment to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This will likely involve new or alternative data sources and new data challenges, as well as new dissemination formats (e.g. Beyond SDG Indicators – Part 1: Exploring the role of Integrated Assessment in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals , Feb. 2016, and Beyond SDG indicators – Part 2: Integrated models supporting implementation, strategy development and transition planning, Apr. 2016)

A good time to refresh our terminology

Integrated Assessment has become a popular term. Perhaps this is a good time to take stock again and recalibrate our understanding of the concept and its purpose.

At the most general level, the TIAS description is probably still fine: Integrated Assessment is the scientific “meta-discipline” that integrates knowledge about a problem domain and makes it available for societal learning and decision-making processes. The field of Integrated Assessment engages stakeholders and scientists, often drawing these from many disciplines. The roots of Integrated Assessment are in public policy issues involving long-range and long-term environmental management.  Over the past decades, Integrated Assessment has been developed for managing acid rain, climate change, land degradation, water and air quality, forestry, fisheries and public health.

The ‘knowledge integration’ that IA involves has often married information on past developments and anticipated future developments, as well as quantitative and quantitative analysis, typically derived from different analytical teams. For example, the initiation in the 1990s of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series predates the propagation of the term ‘Integrated Assessment’ by the MATISSE project a decade ago (EU FP7 MATISSE project: Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment). This project placed specific emphasis on the continuous cycle of agenda setting and action, with periodically renewed assessments as an element in the cycle.

While the application of Integrated Assessment to environmental themes has expanded, a gradual shift has occurred from one-issue problems to more complex issues. Many authors have noted this, for example Kowarsch and Jabour, 2017 and Kok et al., 2008 and 2009. Significantly, applications of Integrated Assessment such as the Global Environmental Outlook showed that the same issues can be framed in a global as well as a regional context. Both are valid and important. These developments in the application of Integrated Assessment implied deeper and more varied analysis of societal contexts. They went hand in hand with the expansion of ‘environment and development’ to sustainable development. Meanwhile, worldwide outlooks remain the most prominent form of IA, but not exclusively so. Integrated Assessment at other scale levels than the global is flourishing too. For example, see the news items on outlooks for the Baltic and the North Sea.

In 2017, TIAS floated the idea of revisiting the meaning of Integrated Assessment. As is customary, a webinar was held first. The responses to the idea from participants and others suggest that indeed it would be useful to take stock, again, of the evolving and growing practice and reflect on what this means. The result could inform a wider array of practitioners, including commissioning bodies. After all, despite the vision of MATISSE of a periodically-recurring practice of carrying out IA, not many organizations have built up their capacity to carry out Integrated Assessments for environmental management and sustainable development on an ongoing basis. For many organizations, as well as commissioning bodies, IA is a one-off activity.

The 2017 webinar considered three currently available sources on the scope, purpose and variety of Integrated Assessments on environment and sustainable development:
The webinar also addressed how refreshed terminology could be captured and made available. A range of formats can be imagined, with a varying degree of rigor in terms of adhering to the formats. They range from criteria, as exist in the domain of formal evaluation reports; perhaps even official norms, as in industry standards; to guidelines, comparable to those compiled by UNEP or guidelines for social impact assessment published by the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA); to highly synthetic principles, comparable to BellagioSTAMP. (A synthesis report of this webinar as well as documentation can be downloaded here:

What can be done?

The findings of the webinar and follow-up discussions with presenters, suggest that the most natural course of action is to revisit, and refresh, the Bellagio principles. It is at the level of principles that the common gene of integrated environment assessment can be found. This is important because the principles (or guidelines, or industry norms) should be useful for a wide variety of practices in a wide variety of contexts.  In addition, the original Bellagio principles benefitted from review after a decade, in order to reflect a much grown practice. That revision is now almost ten years ago.

In conclusion revisiting the Bellagio Principles would be the natural thing to do. Who wants to join?

Contact us: info[at]


Bers, C. van, J. Bakkes and L. Hordijk. 2016. Building Bridges from the Present to Desired Futures: Evaluating Approaches for Visioning and Backcasting. Based on a workshop held at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 21-22 March, 2011. TIAS Report Series, Issue No. 2016/1. Osnabrück, Germany: The Integrated Assessment Society. Available at:

Kok, Marcel, et al. (2009) Environment for Development – Policy Lessons from Global Environmental Assessments. Report for UNEP. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.

Kok, Marcel, et al. (2008) Lessons from Global Environmental Assessments. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.

Kowarsch, M, Jabbour, J (2017) Solution-oriented Global Environmental Assessments: Opportunities and Challenges. Introduction to special issue on solution-oriented GEAs; Environmental Science & Policy Vol 77, Nov 2017.

Jabbour, J, Flachsland, C. (2017) 40 years of global environmental assessments: a retrospective analysis. Environmental Science & Policy (special issue on solution-oriented GEAs). Vol 77, Nov 2017.



TIAS advisors meet to discuss priority activities

A strategy meeting of the Advisory and Executive Boards of TIAS took place on January 16, the goal of which was to discuss the present activities and plan for future activities of the Society. TIAS president, Klaus Jacob, launched the meeting by presenting current activities and options for action. The Executive Board observed that Integrated Assessment continues to be a highly relevant theme, a regional chapter was established in Latin America and TIAS has been running a range of successful webinars. Yet, the board and secretariat, who are volunteers, would like to engage more of our members in IA-related activities and projects within TIAS.

Among the actions considered to be priorities are the organization of thematic face-to-face meetings or workshops, creating stronger links to related and complementary organizations, and establishing more regional chapters and/or working groups on specific themes. The importance of developing some guidance or principles for Integrated Assessment was also underlined (see feature article above). Such principles could and likely would be translated to Spanish and other languages as needed.

It was stressed that TIAS is unique and could do more to improve its impact and visibility by undertaking these activities. Discussions to advance these activities will be a part of the upcoming Annual General Meeting on Weds April 25th. See announcement below.
Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf


Announcement: TIAS Annual General Meeting 2018

TIAS Annual General Meeting for members will take place virtually using Adobe Connect on
Wednesday the 25th of April 2018, 10.00-11.30 CEST (GMT+2). An invitation will be sent to members soon.  This annual meeting provides a valuable opportunity for our members to learn about TIAS activities over the past year and to help shape future activities and to meet other TIAS members. Members have received an invitation to register and will receive a reminder in early April. Details and supporting documentation will be send to confirmed participants by 18 April 2018.



MEDUWA Project Update: Dutch and German stakeholders and project partners meet to advance innovations for reducing pharmaceuticals and multi-resistant bacteria

The complex and increasingly debated issue of contamination in the environment by pharma-ceuticals and multi-resistant bacteria is the subject of the MEDUWA-Vecht(e)  project (MEDicine Unwanted in WAter). On March 6th, the project consortium, which TIAS is a part of, met for the first time with Dutch and German stakeholders from local and regional govern-ment agencies and NGOs concerned with human and environmental health. With the transboundary Vechte River as case study, the 27 project partners are developing innovative products and approaches aimed at the full lifecycle of pharmaceuticals and multi-resistant bacteria from source to sink. The meeting that took place in Osnabrück introduced stakeholders to the companies and organisations behind the development of these products and approaches. It thus provides them with a head start in developing and launching their products on the market.

IA News

Outlooks for regional seas

BONUS is a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme producing knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices of the Baltic Sea region. It is funded jointly from the national research funding institutions in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the EU. In March, four BONUS-sponsored projects reported their findings at a joint conference in Gdansk ( All four projects consider developments towards 2050 in ecological marine issues in relation to economic activities at sea, along the coast and on land, in the Baltic drainage area. Climate change emerges as an important fact. Scenario assumptions for four projects were are based on the Shared Socio-economic Pathways. Two synthesis projects will start soon. HELCOM is a key client.

PBL Netherlands Assessment Agency finalized its North Sea Outlook. It explores a combination of developments up to 2050, as in fisheries, energy production and carbon sequestration as well as nature protection. The perspective is the potential need for spatial planning, as North Sea use becomes more intense. Four tailor-made scenarios were used. The present policy report is in Dutch; an English-language version as well as a background report will follow:


Call for Submissions: Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling Journal

TIAS member, Tony Jakeman, invites submissions to the new open access journal, Socio-Environmental Systems Modeling, for which he serves as editor-in-chief. More information about the journal:
Specific questions can be directed to Professor Jakeman: tony.jakeman[at]


Recent Publications of Members

Tàbara, J.D., Frantzeskaki, N., Hölscher, K., Pedde, S. Lamperti, F.  Kok, K., Christensen, J.H., Jäger, J., and P. Berry. 2018. Positive tipping points for a rapidly warming world. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. Special Issue on Sustainability Governance and Transformation, 31.
Tàbara, J.D., Jäger, J., Mangalagiu D. & Grasso, M. 2018. Defining Transformative Climate Science in the context of high-end climate change. Regional Environmental Change. IMPRESSIONS project Special Issue. http://doi: 10.1007/s10113-018-1288-8

Other publications

Niles, M.T., Ahuja, R., Barker, T., Esquivel, J., Gutterman, S., Heller, M.C., Mango, N., Portner, D., Raimond, R., Tirado, C. and Vermeulen, S., 2018. Climate change mitigation beyond agriculture: a review of food system opportunities and implications. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, pp.1-12.

The March/April issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' digital journal explores resilience and the climate threat and is guest-edited by Alice C. Hill, research fellow at the Stanford University Hoover Institution and former senior director for resilience policy for the National Security Council. Her work focuses on building resilience to destabilizing catastrophic events, including the impacts of climate change. Most of this issue is not open-access and available for a fee from Taylor-Francis, but Hill's article is open-access:

Special Issue: The OECD Principles on water governance: from Policy Standards to Practice. The special issue is available from
This joint initiative between the OECD – particularly its Water Governance Initiative – and the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) seeks to provide a canvas for a scientific approach to the OECD Principles on Water Governance and their use as a tool for multi-stakeholder dialogue in different contexts. The OECD Principles, adopted in 2015, are used as a common thread across the articles to feed theoretical and conceptual frameworks and draw lessons from practical experiences in water governance reforms. All papers were co-authored by groups of diverse stakeholders involved in the OECD Water Governance Initiative, including academics, regulators, utilities, NGOs, international organisations, user representatives and policy makers.

Events and courses

Conferences and Symposia

24 - 28 June 2018. iEMSs 2018, the biennial conference of the International Environmental Modelling & Software Society: 9th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software: Modelling for Sustainable Food-Energy-Water Systems. Fort Collins, USA. See conference website for more information on sessions, workshops and other information about the conference.  

9 - 11 July 2018.
The Science, Management, and Governance of Transboundary Groundwater conference. Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Hosted by the American Water Resources Association (AWRA). Conference delegates will discuss the newest developments in transboundary groundwater research and practice and innovative approaches for developing sustainable governance and management systems, from the local to regional to international scales. More information:  
15 - 17 Nov. 2018.
Post-normal science as a movement: between informed critical resistance, reform and the making of futures. Barcelona. The symposium provides a platform to discuss and explore the guidance that post-normal science can offer in finding a way out of the present crisis in and around science. Contributions that reflect on the constructive role of post-normal science as a critical concept and source of inspiration for reforming practices of research, quality assurance, and interfacing science and governance. They can address, for example, issues of health, environment, energy, sustainability, emerging technologies, policy and politics. Deadline for submission of abstracts: 08 June 2018. More information:
The International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) announces call for abstracts for two events:


Both events focus on the links between climate change and water issues. The Symposia also offer the opportunity for researchers working on climate change to discuss research methods, the results of empirical research and exchange ideas concerning on-going and future research initiatives that aim at providing a better understanding of how climate issues influence various sectors.
Peer-reviewed papers will be published in books as part of the Climate Change Management Series:



4-22 June 2018. Wetlands, integrated water resources management and food security - Promoting the value of wetlands for conservation, food security and climate change resilience. Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, Netherlands. This course is designed for wetland managers, river basin and land-use planners, policymakers, consultants, researchers, NGO and private sector staff concerned with IWRM, wetlands and food security. More information: Application deadline: 23 April 2018

9th – 13th July 2018. International Summer School: Concepts and tools to engage in knowledge co-production and public participation. MSH Sud – Montpellier, France This 5-day interactive training course is based on “learning by doing” principle where participants co-construct their own training with their own case studies and personal styles. The training is intended for students, researchers, consultants and public sector employees. More information:  Registration and payment deadline: 15 June 2018

30 July – 02 August 2018.
Teaching Socio-Environmental Synthesis with Case Studies. Hosted by SESYNC in Annapolis, MD, USA.  The focus of the course will be on the case study method for teaching and the concepts and competencies students need to understand and address complex, socio-environmental problems. Participants will also design and create a case study for teaching; each individual or team will commit to producing one case that will be shared via the . SESYNC encourages teams (max. 4) to apply together, but individuals are also welcome. For more information, visit the SESYNC website: Application deadline: 17 April 2018. Inquiries:

6 – 17 August 2018. Confronting Climate Change – from Science to Policy”. Bern, Switzerland.   For Bachelor students. More information:
Early bird application deadline: 20 April 2018


Professor and Head of Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London. Follow this link for more information. Deadline for applications: 19 Apr 2018

UN vacancies for Sustainable Development Goals:


TIAS Quarterly

TIAS Quarterly is the newsletter of The Integrated Assessment Society.
ISSN: 2077-2130
Editor: Caroline van Bers
Associate editors: Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf, Caroline Lumosi, Anna-Lena Guske
Photos: Ulli Meissner 
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Layout: Worldshaper design - Fabian Heitmann, Caroline van Bers

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