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What is an assessment?

An assessment is a social process that brings the findings of science to bear on the needs of decision-makers. In a typical assessment, decision makers formulate questions, which are addressed by scientists. Scientists worldwide assemble in teams, and analyse all published scientific knowledge relevant to the requests they have received from policy makers. These requests can for example be for information on current trends in biodiversity, or on future trends according to various policy options. Assessments identify areas of scientific consensus, as well as areas of scientific disagreement. They can be comprehensive and assess all knowledge in a field (e.g. biodiversity, or climate), or thematic.

Two key past assessments in the field of biodiversity

The Global Biodiversity Assessment (Heywood and Watson, 1995) is the first comprehensive review of knowledge on biodiversity, produced by UNEP, following a recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published in 2005, assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provided a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably. More

DIVERSITAS contributes to:

- the Global Biodiversity Outlook, GBO

- the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES

- the Cities Biodiversity Outlook, CBO

Scientists involved in DIVERSITAS contribute to:

- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC

- the Global Environment Outlook 5, GEO 5


Other important assessments include:

- Global Forest Resources Assessment

- World Water Assessment Programme

- International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN)

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