, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 359-389

The Inclusion of Stakeholder Knowledge and Perspectives in Integrated Assessment of Climate Change

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Abstract

Over the past few decades Integrated Assessment (IA) has emerged as an approach to link knowledge and action in a way that is suitable to accommodate uncertainties, complexities and value diversities of global environmental risks. Responding to the complex nature of the climate problem and to the changing role of climate change in the international climate policy process, the scientific community has started to include stakeholder knowledge and perspectives in their assessments. Participatory Integrated Assessment (PIA) is in its early stage of development. Methodology varies strongly across PIA projects. This paper analyzes four recent IA projects of climate change that included knowledge or perspectives from stakeholders in one-way or another. Approaches and methods used turn out to differ in whether stakeholders are involved actively or passively, whether the approach is bottom-up or top-down, and whether the different functions in the IA process are open or closed to stakeholder input. Also, differences can be seen in the degree to which boundaries are pre-set that limit the roles and domains of competencies attributed to each scientific or non-scientific participant (so-called boundary work). The paper discusses pros and cons of the various approaches identified, and outlines heuristics and considerations to assist those who plan, design or fund new IA processes with stakeholder input on what approaches best to choose in view of the objectives for stakeholder involvement, in view of the role that the IA plays in the overall risk management process and in view of considerations regarding boundary work.