Peter M. Haas on Assessments
When visiting the MCC, Prof. Haas identified factors for effectiveness of assessments.
Prof. Peter M. Haas, a distinguished expert on global environmental governance, international relations and science panels, visited the MCC on June 5th for a scientific workshop on the effectiveness of global environmental assessments. The professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst explained in his talk that the science panel on ozone trends, for instance, had been very successful, while others assessment formats have not. Haas concluded that not only ensuring highest scientific standards and merit-based author selection seem to be major determinants of success for global environmental assessments. Moreover, keeping science and policy separate and implementing a standing committee rather than ad hoc panels is very important.
In the second part of the workshop, Martin Kowarsch from the MCC Working Group "Assessments and Scientific Policy Advice" presented their research on GEO-5 and other global environmental assessments. This research is done in the context of the MCC-UNEP research project on the future of global assessment-making. Kowarsch suggested that there is some evidence for a recent shift from problems to solutions in the focus of global environmental assessments - which is desirable in his view. However, he stressed the challenges for science panels such as including an appropriate social science methodology for public policy analysis and the difficult treatment of divergent viewpoints.