International assessments: critical features for success

Bothina Osama

Bothina Osama
Middle East & North Africa regional news editor , SciDev.Net


Good science is essential for informed public policy formulation and implementation. But it’s not sufficient — many other bodies and sources have to be engaged, and one of these sources is national and international scientific, technical, and economical assessments.Dr Robert Watson, Professor of Environmental Sciences at East Anglia University,uk

Robert Watson, Professor of Environmental Sciences at East Anglia University pointed out in his presentation enttitled “International assessments: how effectively do they inform policy and practice?” that an assessment is a critical evaluation of information, for purposes of guiding decisions on a complex, public issue.

But the effectiveness of a range of assessments in influencing the international agenda, or providing lessons for informing new initiatives, has varied considerably, according to Watson.

He argued that a more synthetic approach to international assessments is needed. The biology–related conventions need a regular international assessment process, but with the near-term focus being on sub–global assessments.

Tools need to be developed to help decision makers interpret and use the findings of  international assessments — especially sub –global assessments, to make an informed decision. And the scientific research base in developing countries needs to be strengthened to ease the path towards successful national and international assessments.

This blog post is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.

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