Final Minutes of the 12 IHDP Scientific Committee Meeting

Final Minutes 12th IHDP SC Meeting
last input: 9 May 2005
International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change
Final Minutes of the
IHDP Scientific Committee Meeting
(IHDP SC and invited guests)
22 – 23 March 2005
Bonn, Germany
Gustav Stresemann Institute (GSI), Langer Grabenweg 68, 53175 Bonn, Germany
SC members: Katrina Brown, Geoffrey Dabelko, Roberto Guimaraes, Gernot Klepper,
Tatiania Kluvankova-Oravska, Elinor Ostrom, Xizhe Peng, Roberto Sánchez-Rodríguez
(Vice-Chair), Sander van der Leeuw, Paul Vlek (Treasurer), Coleen Vogel (Chair)
Ex Officio members: Frans Berkhout (Chair IT SSC), Alison Gilbert (LOICZ SSC), Leah
Goldfarb (Science Officer ICSU), Ali Kazancigil (Secretary General ISSC), Eric Lambin
(Chair LUCC SSC), Peter Lemke (Chair WCRP JSC), Gordon McBean (ICSU), Joao Morais
(IGBP, Social Science Liaison Officer), Karen O’Brien (Chair GECHS SSC), Oran Young
Other invited participants: Joseph Alcamo (Co-Chair GWSP SSC), Eric Crasswell
(Executive Officer GWSP), Gilberto Gallopín (Ex IHDP SC member, Chair of Modelling
Task-Force), John Ingram (Executive Officer GECAFS), Hartwig Kremer (Executive Officer
LOICZ), Emilio Moran (Co-chair GLP SSC, LUCC SSC), Heike Schröder (Executive Officer
IDGEC), Anna Wieczorek (Executive Officer IT), Maureen Woodrow (Executive Officer
IHDP Secretariat: Barbara Göbel (Executive Director), Gregor Laumann, Debra MeyerWefering, Maarit Thiem (International Science Project Co-ordinators), Ula Loew
(Information Officer), Lis Mullin (Open Meeting Co-ordinator), Ike Holtmann (Open
Meeting Training Seminars Co-ordinator), Valerie Schulz (Capacity Building Coordinator).
Members of the External Review Panel of the IHDP: Leen Hordijk (Chairman), Tessa
Marcus, Graeme Pearman, Jai B.P. Sinha, Barbara Torrey
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Final Minutes 12th IHDP SC Meeting
last input: 9 May 2005
Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Welcome and Opening
(by Barbara Göbel, Executive Director IHDP)
Barbara Göbel outlined some of the major IHDP developments in 2004 including the
different stages in the lifespan of the core projects, the mid-term review process and the
role of ESSP for IHDP. She elaborated on the important role that the National
Committees could play in terms of linking international research agendas with national
research agendas in bi-directional ways and engaging in and furthering the science-policy
and wider practice interface, and fundraising in their regions. Barbara further added
remarks on the progress in the visibility and outreach of IHDP. The IHDP budget was
presented and it was stressed that financial basis for IHDP support needs to be
Important developments and upcoming events where presented including the GECHS
International Workshop on Human Security and Climate Change (22-23 June 2005 in
Oslo), the LOICZ II Open Science Conference (27-29 June in Egmond aan Zee), the 6th
Open Meeting (9-13 October 2005 in Bonn), the IHDP regional conference in China (most
probably around May 2006), the IDGEC Synthesis Conference (December 2006), the
ESSP Open Science Conference (16-20 October in Beijing), and several other regional
conferences and workshops organized in co-operation with START, APN, and IAI. The
next International Human Dimensions Workshop will take place in the Asian region in
2006 and be co-organized by APN with the scientific leadership of IDGEC.
IHDP Core Projects
(by Karen O’Brien, GECHS SSC)
Karen O’Brien gave an update on the main scientific achievements with a focus on the
“identity project” SAVI (Southern Africa Vulnerability Initiative) and a reflection of the
current position of the project. She critically assessed the situation of the GECHS
network, the visibility of its work and the future goals of GECHS after the current
transition with the IPO moving to the University of Oslo and five new SSC members
joining the team. The key challenge will be the synthesis of the two themes Vulnerability
and Conflict & Cooperation. GECHS plans to establish additional “identity projects” and
more consistent interactions among SSC members and with the wider community. Karen
explained that three additional main themes would be addressed in the coming years:
‘Gender’, ‘Water’ and ‘Multiple Interacting Processes of Change’. GECHS will have a major
workshop coming up in June in Oslo on Human Security and Climate Change. Karen
concluded emphasizing the potential of the AVISO bulletin to become a tool to widely
distribute the results of all IHDP core projects.
The discussion centred on the question of how GECHS addresses the science-practice
interface. GECHS places attention on improving the understanding of how communication
between science and policy and other practice and user groups works in general. The
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project represents an important social science dimension of GEC within IHDP. It includes
the geopolitical dimensions of issues like water conflicts, which are clearly defined
through geopolitics and not by the resource itself. Aspects of equity and power have high
importance in GECHS as well as the question of the ability of institutions to overcome
geopolitics and the resilience of institutions (conflicts related to water are not only caused
by scarcity, but also by institutions of cooperation that underlie the mode of operation).
In the further discussion the criteria for the GECHS endorsement policy and for the
selection of projects were addressed. It was asked why SAVI was chosen as an identity
project. Karen explained that SAVI was developed during various SSC meetings through
discussions about vulnerability in southern Africa. The ICSU call for proposals acted as an
impetus for getting the project started.
The GECHS SSC would like to take advantage of the incoming new members in order to
restart the discussion on potential new projects. A scoping workshop will then be
organised. The endorsement is guided by the assessment of an endorsement committee,
which looks into the relevance of a project to GECHS. 10-15 projects have been endorsed
so far. Endorsement is considered to be a crucial instrument to push people interested in
the GECHS agenda, to link up with the project.
(by Oran Young, Chair IDGEC SSC)
IDGEC has developed into a mature project over the last years. A fair amount of credit
for the rapid growth of research on the problems of fit, interplay, and scale can be
attributed to various activities initiated through IDGEC.
IDGEC has started a synthesis process, which will occupy a good proportion of the
project’s energy and time over the next 2 years. A planning group for the IDGEC
Synthesis Conference has been set up and a proposal for funding was submitted to NSF.
The principal objectives of the synthesis process are to harvest, summarize and present
to a wider public what IDGEC has achieved. The conference is planned to take place in
December in Bali and would be the termination of IDGEC’s phase 1, which will have been
running for six years.
The future direction of IDGEC is not clear at the moment, but will be determined through
the synthesis process. IDGEC could focus on new issues, but an alternative route could
also be to develop the issue of governance and institutions as a crosscutting theme
spanning across all IHDP core projects and using the results of IDGEC to discuss
questions of institutional design. A couple of IDGEC SSC members are coming from the
policy arena (e.g. China, Singapore), and a range of SSC members participate in policy
forums (e.g. UNFCCC). This interaction broadens the Science-Practice concern and brings
IDGEC results to the attention of media. At the end of his presentation Oran requested
input from the present audience to the synthesis process, which is still at an early stage
with ample room for ideas. Any support or ideas regarding financial support of the
conference would also be welcomed. IDGEC is already taking advantage of organizational
and fund-raising experiences of the IHDP Secretariat.
The discussion started with the question whether IDGEC had considered collaboration
with other projects in order to explore crosscutting dimensions and to come to a
reflective mode. Oran explained that collaboration with the other projects has not been
approached systematically. Currently the IDGEC research fellows are actively engage in
the synthesis process in order to get them involved in a possible second phase of the
project where cross project collaboration could play a very important role. IDGEC just
started to think about cross projects collaboration, which could help identifying new
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research directions. These projects will be thematically represented at the synthesis
conference. It was considered useful if IDGEC would share the experience with the
research fellows with the other projects. Oran stressed that there has not been a real
assessment of the research fellow scheme, but that there are clear guidelines of how to
apply for the fellowship position and how the applications are evaluated.
(by Eric Lambin, Chair LUCC SSC)
With only six short months to go and after almost a decade of operation, Eric Lambin
presented the final plans of the LUCC joint project. Eric took the opportunity to
demonstrate the development of the six core science questions of the LUCC Science Plan,
which were restructured by the SSC over the last year, and highlighted the major
achievements within each. Finally, Eric offered an overview of how the LUCC project,
over the past ten years, has worked towards the integration of natural and social science
approaches to data, modelling, providing analytical tools and making contributions to
complex system theory. From the time of the release of the LUCC Scoping Report in 1991
to the end of 2005, the LUCC project contributed to the considerable increase of LUCCrelated publications on a global scale (land use as a key word). The LUCC Synthesis Book
is in its final stages. It will be under review by the time of the 6 th Open Meeting (October
2005) and published shortly thereafter in the IGBP-Springer Series.
As far as ‘lessons learned’ for the smooth and effective transition to the Global Land
Project , Eric urged that a driving force for the LUCC project was the excitement of
integrated science that the project provided in the community. Also, LUCC had the ability
to stay away from the policy/power struggles ever present in the global change
community. The key is to put together the scientific and research questions first and then
take off with enthusiastic teams that don’t lose sight of the community’s goals. LUCC
serves as an example to emerging projects. It is important to find the right balance
across scales (local / regional studies); issues of importance at the local scale should be
considered in order to be able to deal with complexity in a meaningful way. The question
of interplay should be captured by new project designs by starting from a more regional
focus to the global. For integrative regional studies to be successful, there has to be a
certain level of commitment at the local/regional level, combined with a global interests
(this requires capacity, people and resources). One cannot engineer a project from the
top-down, it is necessary to “jump on a wave” and build onto what the international
community’s interests are. LUCC’s core group includes 200 committed scientists
(contributing to synthesis book or to LUCC workshops); the LUCC newsletter is
distributed to 1500 scientists. LUCC data will be available to all existing/upcoming
projects to build onto it and take it forward.
(by Alison Gilbert, LOICZ SSC)
Alison Gilbert gave an update of the current state of LOICZ and the plans for the second
phase. She gave examples of the range of scientific activities currently underway. One
major effort tries to explore the vulnerability of the coastal zones by developing a
typology of coastal vulnerabilities of northern African and European coasts. Another
project analyses pre-anthropocene versus modern time material fluxes and loads in
rivers, which has declined due to damming activities, causing problems for coastal
retreat. Alison also presented examples of research on nutrient yields and loads to the
coasts, focussing particularly on a project on nutrient discharge to the Black Sea. She
concluded by highlighting the ultimate objective of all LOICZ activities to contribute to
integrated and sustainable coastal management. The areas of interest for interaction with
other IHDP core projects are particularly themes two and five of the LOICZ II Science
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Plan. The presentation closed by pointing out the data products of LOICZ I and
announcing again the LOICZ II Inaugural Open Science Meeting in June 2005 in Edmond
aan Zee, NL.
The discussion started with reflections on how the IGBP SC responded to the LOICZ
presentation at its last meeting in March 2005. Hartwig Kremer explained that the
presentation was slightly different and the discussion was more about how to make data
available and link it to other science projects. In general terms, LOICZ seems to have a
perception problem within IGBP because it is considered to be an assessment rather than
process study driven. Within the SC-IHDP there was still some lack of clarity as to the
scope of LOICZ II. Alison explained that the examples she had given were only some out
of a broad range of projects. Other projects related to IHDP topics focus on coastal zone
governance (Steve Olson), fishery economies (Eva Roth), artic regions (Elena
Andreeva), and land-use issues (Felino Lansigan). Also the work of the Singapore
Regional IPO node (Laurence Koe) addresses rather policy driven questions. It was
clarified that LOICZ did not select specific regions for co-operation but choose on a more
ad-hoc basis on the research question. Currently there are about 100 projects, partly
continuing or closing as part of LOICZ I (like ELOISE).
The LOICZ representatives where asked for a brief judgment of what would happen if
LOICZ did not exist. LOICZ was described as a forum for a wide community doing coastal
zone work, providing theoretical reflections as well as methodological developments and,
above all, dealing with application. This makes it a unique knowledge base and a global
platform, facilitating synthesis and driving sustainable coastal management processes
forward. LOICZ does not have a particular process like shared protocols, communalities
of data or a joint approaches to make the projects comparable. The community is driving
most of the agenda but there is a top-down push linking research activities together
under particular overarching themes and questions.
(by Frans Berkhout, Chair IT SSC)
Frans stressed that one of the major achievements of IT has been the creation of an
epistemic community of some 60 to 70 researchers over the last couple of years. The
scientific agenda is largely focussed on systems innovation including large-scale
technological and institutional changes of socio-technical regimes and socio-technical
transitions. He referred to an accumulation of a range of case studies on historical and
recent technological transitions (mobility, food, energy). Some describe alternative
pathways of change and models of causation; others are mapping and measuring system
transformations using different methodologies to describe structures in a consistent way.
A third strand of publications explores the role of policy and the market and how they
work together in guiding and shaping transitions. Recent discussions centre on the
development of conceptual models to explain these transitions (multi-level regimes,
learning, governance), some of them being powerful conceptual frameworks for
innovation studies. Though people are still looking at these issues from a number of
different perspectives, IT has facilitated that they start moving together and also
produced a number of distinctive publications.
A major challenge is the understanding of emerging processes and how they relate to
sustainable development, together with questions of purposive transitions and guided
transformations and how that might be done. Other challenges include internationalizing
the IT community, producing a number of high-level outputs and influencing research
agendas and funding agencies to bring about a methodological convergence. The plan for
the next period of time is to try to understand different forms of socio-technical
transitions and link these to globalization.
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Frans sees the research looking at long-term socio-technological transformation
increasingly feeding into today’s policy debates and concerns. However, the sciencepolicy interface has not been treated systematically so far, apart from individual activities
of the SSC members. Frans is convinced that IT has to be driven primarily by excitement
in science!
There was a rather long discussion, which first went into the question of
internationalization of IT and mechanisms to represent the perspective of poorer
countries outside Europe or the US (e.g. the scientific communities in Africa or
Indonesia). Frans referred to the huge and vibrant communities in the area of
development economics and explained that IT plans to work with the Asian Development
Bank to develop a specific perspective at the technological changes and changes in
consumption patterns in the Asia region, particularly China and Japan. These transitions
are considered to be quite different from the kind of transition IT has studied so far (e.g.
by developing deliberately new technologies).
Concerns were raised about the division of interests and research fields. It centred on
how IT manages to integrate the corporate players into the research process where most
of the information is, and how the project relates to other research programmes and the
large group of actors outside the IT research community potentially interested in the
same approach but working in different communities. Frans pointed out that a lot of the
research is actually referring to the firm level and most researchers work in their case
studies intensively with particular firms as study objects. However, he sees the structural
problem that the incumbents in a particular field are not necessarily the ones with the
knowledge or the interest to pursue the innovation of a system and define a future
technological landscape or identify the pathways to use. Frans was modest about the size
of the community of historians of technology, technology economists etc. but did not see
this as a problem if it is an active and coherent community. He acknowledged the need
for a better communication between various groups of researchers and explained that
many of them are not framing their research problem as a long-term technological
system change in the way the still small IT community does.
He added that there was no particular kind of adjustment envisioned to include the
perspectives of poorer countries as the project is interested in large-scale technological
systems, which in the end resemble each other. He highlighted the communalities like
interests of major actors like international firms, terms of technologies, market
mechanisms, resource use, etc. adding that that one certainly needs to be aware of
differences like various policies and institutional designs.
The last part of the discussion focussed on transformations of other areas of the economy
like rural, decentralized transformations or economic transitions in the informal sector to
include a Southern perspective. Frans agreed with the relevance of these questions as
large-scale transitions, which used to be very hierarchical and may have been breaking
up. We might enter a phase of institutional transformation with a much more distributed
and fragmented landscape in terms of technologies, policies, market structures etc..
However, he was concerned that such a thematic development may lead away from the
IT focus on technological systems.
Leah Goldfarb mentioned that the UN’s Commission of Sustainable Development has
been identifying industrial development as one of their four topics being addressed in
2006 and 2007 and approached IHDP, in particular IT, for input into a dialog paper that
will be submitted to the UN at the end of the year.
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(by Roberto Sánchez-Rodríguez, Chair Urbanization Planning Group)
Roberto gave a brief account of the project development. He announced that the Science
Plan was finalized after an external review in 2004 and subsequently approved by the
SC-IHDP prior to this SC meeting. He also summarized the current state of the project’s
development including considerations to have a first SSC meeting back to back with the
6th Open Meeting in Bonn in October 2005. It was briefly discussed how the project
intends to interact with the “Megacities of tomorrow” initiative of BMBF. Roberto
concluded with thanks to all who contributed to the planning process of the project.
(by Emilio Moran, Co-chair Land Transition Team)
The Science Plan was approved by IHDP and the governance issues on the agenda of the
Wednesday closed session. Emilo gave an account of the efforts put into the Science Plan
review and the history of the project. Emilio explicated some of the key issues, which
have changed since the first presentation of the Science Plan a year ago. Emilio found
particularly exiting the focus on coupled systems, which was certainly always implicit in
this field of research but never conceptualized in a really integrated way. He saw the
focus on identifying thresholds in either domain and direction and how decisions play a
role in responding or not responding to evidence of these thresholds. He was interested
in how lags occur between information, consideration and action and concluded that a
range of regional and larger scale issues make this project particularly interesting as well
as the question how we respond to processes on different scales and their interactions. It
was also mentioned that there is a strong modelling component on sustainable land
systems (integrated modelling) in the GLP Science Plan and that the LUCC modelling
group is eager to continue there successful work within GLP.
In the discussion Emilio was asked to elaborate on the role the GLP should play in the
Emilio referred to a page in the briefing book on this question from Dennis Ojima and
himself. He added an appeal to move on quickly as we would otherwise run the risk of
members of the community loosing engagement. He put a proposal on the table to try
and set up an IPO, an SSC and one chair by the end of the year. He has some resources
to finance the transition phase until then. The time should be used for a proposal on the
Emilio was complimented for the Science Plan but also asked to elaborate on the
threshold issue, which comes out strongly in the introduction but not later in the text.
The question triggered some discussion about the implications of the term ‘thresholds’ for
land systems in the context of how we deal with our custody of the systems. It moved on
to the difficulties posed by the multi-dimensional character of many thresholds and
challenge of dealing with the term in political negotiations and institutional design.
Emilio concluded by pointing out the particular approach of the GLP Science Plan to
combine the fairly new and exciting challenge of global modelling with case study
experiments, by trying to link the complexity of case studies information to the models.
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(by Oran Young, Co-Chair GCP SSC)
Oran Young presented an update of the latest developments within the GCP highlighting
particularly the new initiatives on vulnerabilities of C-pools and cities, carbon and climate
change which the SSC decided to develop as genuine GCP activities at the last SSCmeeting in Goa, India.
In the discussion Oran was asked to give an account of the reactions of the IGBP SC to
the GCP developments. Oran himself was not at the last IGBP SC meeting in Beijing but
understood that there was kind of a sense that IGBP was preoccupied with other things
than ESSP. Another question related to the governance of the GCP and whether having
two IPO’s (in Japan and Australia) proved effective and whether it hampered integration
to divide their tasks long the lines of human and biophysical science. Oran responded
that the structure of having two offices has worked very well. There is a sense of division
of labour and no problem with fragmentation because the communication is good. Oran
was also asked to elaborate on potentials for co-operation of GCP with GLP and
Urbanization and acknowledged huge opportunities but a need for the right mechanisms,
which maybe joint working groups. He stressed that we need to capture emerging ideas
in common activities to avoid expressions of good will without consequence.
The question posed to IT on whether and how the project reflects the market
developments with big players in the on the corporate world, investments and a huge
industry was also asked to GCP. Oran explained that there is a set of links between
people that are engaged in the application of the Kyoto protocol and the scientific
community analysing this. Some of the practical developments like the Kyoto mechanism
create new research questions per se. It was proposed to build up better communication
mechanism with the experts working in the actual carbon markets who are sometimes
extremely knowledgeable in how these markets works but not necessarily good in
designing the right projects (e.g. people in consulting business). Oran agreed and
stressed again that the project needs to develop the right mechanisms for this kind of
(by John Ingram, Executive Officer GECAFS)
John Ingram gave an update on GECAFS developments since the last SC meeting. An
external review of the GECAFS Science Plan had successfully been undertaken. The
Chairs and Directors approved the revised version of the Science Plan. GECAFS refined
the key terms “Food Systems” and “Food Security”. The conceptual and the
methodological research have been consolidated. John reported on the state-of-the-art of
the various regional projects (Indo-Gangetic Plain, Caribbean and Southern Africa) and
the conceptual projects (food systems, vulnerability research, scenario construction and
decision support systems development). For the regional research approaches the phase
II of GECAFS is characterized by focusing down on specific case studies. GECAFS has
established a relationship with GECHS through the vulnerability work and the Southern
Africa Initiative (SAVI) . Collaboration with IDGEC is currently in its initial phase with a
joint session at the 6th Open Meeting (October 2005) being seen as the first step.
The presentation triggered a discussion on the lessons learned throughout the
establishment of GECAFS, especially with regard to the regional project development and
the strategy GECAFS has developed to avoid duplication and create synergies with
already ongoing efforts. John emphasized that the project development is a process that
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implies a redirection by a thought-through process, which carefully sets up
communication with people and stakeholders in the region.
(by Joe Alcamo, Chair GWSP SSC)
Joseph Alcamo presented an overview of the organizational activities from March 2004
until March 2005 including the finalization and approval of the GWSP Scientific
Framework (published in April), and the establishment of a solid information strategy
which includes the new website, GWSP “Briefing Notes”, and the GWSP newsletter. The
Scientific Steering Committee was set-up in late 2004 and met for the first time in Bonn
in February 2005. The GWSP IPO also organized and co-sponsored the “International
Conference on Integrated Assessment of Water Resources and Global Change: A NorthSouth Analysis” held back to back to the first SSC meeting. Major plans defined by the
SSC include a set of five fast-track activities for the joint project, which will be
scientifically challenging and bring short-term payoffs and help to consolidate projects
(linking more closely to ESSP and of course IHDP). They will serve to build up a set of
common goals within the joint project. The fast track activities will strive to support the
following questions:
1) How can GWSP contribute to ongoing activities? (Input into international initiatives,
i.e. GECAFS scenario exercise, UNCSD, etc.);
2) What is the State of the Global Water System? (The Digital Water Atlas and World
Water Balance);
3) What are the Environmental Flows around the world? (A Global Study of
Environmental Flows);
4) How is Water Governed on the Global Scale? (An Assessment of Global Water
Governance); and
5) Training the New Generation of Global Water Researchers (Advanced (Educational)
Institute on “Global Environmental Change and Water”). A regional meeting for GWSP is
being planned for Asia in September 2005 and this would be an opportunity for IHDP
projects to participate.
(by Gregor Laumann, IHDP Secretariat)
Gregor Laumann gave a short update on the history and primary goals of the health
project. A draft Science Plan was presented to the Chairs and Directors in June 2004. The
IHDP Secretariat has not seen any later version or other progress since June 2004, when
the Chairs and Directors reviewed the draft Science Plan and asked the writing
committee to show more specifically the ESSP niche, the added value and the focus of
the projects agenda. The science plan also seemed dominated by epidemiologic and
ecologic views on climate change and infectious diseases and the IHDP reiterated its
interest in linking the health concerns to the topic of urbanization. IHDP started to work
together with IGU Commission on Health and the Environment to further this agenda.
Plans are underway to have a workshop together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
to have a grant proposal to ICSU for a project on “Globalization, Health and the
Environment – Urban issues and policies.”
Geoff Dabelko asked whether health is the kind of topic where integration of other core
projects could play a role. The question would be of the relative advantage of integrating
health into the core projects towards having it as an own project. Barbara Göbel posed
the general question how projects are designed: either as crosscutting issue or as a
compartment in a project. The question of how social sciences organize science is a
general one, which has to be broken down. John Ingram added that the fundamental
question is about the design of the joint projects: do they start with a multidisciplinary
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goal or with a first set of the players who then develop the project. The product depends
on the approach. Joe Alcamo agreed that he would be skeptical about just bringing
together a different range of disciplines contributing their different baggage. A project
has to start with interdisciplinary questions. Eric Craswell continued the discussion in
saying that all sponsors have expectations that seem to be more mono-disciplinary than
multidisciplinary. John argued further that the joint projects are either set up to be
inclusive or exclusive. Getting the science questions right is the most difficult task. He
further stressed the mandate of the joint projects that draws upon the science of the
core projects and are not meant to replace them. He further stressed that the Health
project is designed by epidemiologists, but is not a joint project.
(by Gilberto Gallopin, Chair Modelling Task Force)
Gilberto presented the outcomes of a workshop on modelling convened by the Modelling
Task Force in February 2005 at ASU, Tempe, Arizona. It was designed as an informal and
open brainstorming session focusing on the following guiding questions:
1) Why do we need modelling in the social science arena and within coupled socioenvironmental systems and what functions of those models we do expect?
2) What are the epistemological, conceptual and methodological challenges for this kind
of modelling?
3) What are promising existing approaches as points of departure for an IHDP modelling
4) How can we go on from where we are?
These questions were used as a guidance to chart the field of modelling and as stimuli to
generate ideas on the scientific frontiers. As major result the workshop participants are in
the process of producing a multi-author paper on “Modelling Global Change Dynamics”.
For this purpose the workshop featured a set of open discussions alternating with writing
time for individuals and small groups. Additionally, the discussions kept a focus on what
should be done and what could be done by IHDP. A detailed report on this activity was
made available to the participants of the SC.
In the ensuing discussion questions were raised about how this activity related to other
modelling efforts in the arena of global environmental change research, particularly the
activities of LUCC in this field. Gilberto and Gregor explained that this activity was
designed as a modest approach to explore what role IHDP could play in this field. Tom
Veldkamp is part of the task force and ensures a close link to the work of LUCC. Major
other initiatives like AIMES (IGBP) and COPES (WCRP) have been the motivation to set
up this task force. There is a deliberate effort by the Secretariats to set up good mutual
information flows. Eric Lambin was asked to say a word about IHOPE, one of the
activities within the IGBP AIMES project. Eric explained that the initial idea was to build
an integrated model of the Earth, but shifted towards integrating national with land-use
histories. Sander and Eric will be involved in the first IHOPE workshop in Dahlem in the
middle of 2005. Joao was asked to elaborate on how he would envision the role of IHDP
in AIMES. Joao responded that this initiative was started in Oslo (among others by Arild
Underdal). Some year ago AIMES had expected that they could become a joint
IGBP/IHDP initiative but this did not materialize. AIMES is currently designing their
Science Plan and it is more than timely to get in touch. He is happy about the direct links
between the Secretariat and the AIMES IPO.
Gilberto added that there was a clear commitment that the IHDP should cooperate with
the IGBP but should first define the own position in the game to be able to enter the
dialogue on the same intellectual level as the biophysical side. Joe Alcamo added that
apart from the economists there are no social sciences models of global social systems.
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As IGBP will push forward this agenda he sees an opportunity for IHDP to really deal with
this issue, being aware of the fundamental differences between how social and natural
science see the world and think to model global systems. Sander agreed that this
discussion needs to happen but pointed out that there is no need for the non-economic
social sciences to start on the global level but rather a need for some downscaling of the
other levels.
IHDP Mid-Term Review Process
(by Coleen Vogel, Chair IHDP SC, and Barbara Göbel, Executive Director)
Over the last couple of years IHDP has developed into a broad and widely recognized
platform coordinating and fostering human dimensions research on GEC. Therefore, it
had been a decision at the last SC meeting in March 2004 that a stock taking process
should be started in order to analyse what IHDP has achieved so far. One component of
this mid-term review process is the analysis of the IHDP cross-cutting theme on
Vulnerability, Resilience, and Adaptation. Elinor Ostrom, Gilberto Gallopín and Carl Folke
took the lead in organizing this process. Following a decision of the SC in 2004 IHDP
Secretariat also provided Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University, with funds to develop an
annotated bibliography on vulnerability, resilience, adaptation (realized by Michael
As a main step forward in this process the IHDP organized a workshop on “Key
Challenges for Human Dimensions Research”, February 9 – 12, at the Arizona State
University, Tempe, AZ, USA. Other SC members where also actively engaged in its
organization, including Coleen Vogel, Roberto Sánchez-Rodríguez, Sander van der Leeuw
and the IHDP Executive Director Barbara Goebel and Marco Janssen from Indiana
University. A report on the workshop was available at the meeting.
(by Geoff Dabelko, Gilberto Gallopin, Lin Ostrom and Sander van de Leeuw; Members of
Gilberto Gallopín presented the main structure and outcomes of the workshop to the SC.
After the initial presentations of the workshop participants with state-of-the art papers
the key terms “Vulnerability”, “Resilience”, “Adaptation” and their relations were
discussed as well as the structure of the networks working on these topics. Synthesis
papers will be produced on these topics.
Subsequently, one working group committed itself to explore the scientific challenges
emerging from the discussion of these concepts. The following challenges where
1) How is Globalization affecting the behaviour of coupled Social-Ecological Systems
at different spatial and temporal scales and what does this mean for vulnerability
and resilience to disturbance regimes?
2) What are the implications of these challenges for policy?
3) What are the implications of these globalisation processes for the way IHDP
researchers should analyse the problem?
As a follow-up a paper entitled “How will Globalization affect the Resilience and
Vulnerability of Social-Ecological Systems at various scales?” is in drafting process. It will
be presented at the 6th Open Meeting, in October 2005 in Bonn. Furthermore, a special
issue of the Journal “Global Environmental Change” will summarize in 2006 the outcomes
of the Arizona Workshop. As another step in this synthesis exercise Lin Ostrom reported
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on the Stockholm Environment Institute, asking for IHDP’s support with looking at
resilience as it applies to planning international development co-operation.
In the ensuing discussion, the SC debated the merits and use of the cross-cutting theme
on Vulnerability-Adaptation-Resilience to synthesize the contributions of IHDP science.
Although there was consensus on the focus on this cross-cutting theme and the need for
more in-depth analysis, there was also debate on how best to use them and how this
could best contribute to IHDP’s development. The question was brought up if “resilience”
is the right concept when dealing with social systems. It was emphasized, that looking at
a social-ecological system would create varying approaches, always depending on the
specific scientific questions. The SC agreed that one has to be careful about not mixing
different paradigms and making the epistemologies more explicit.
Geoff Dabelko gave the summary on the discussions and results of the second working
group on science-practice interface at the Arizona Workshop. He reported on the major
change of terms from “policy” to “practice” and stressed that there is more to the
participation in the science-practice interface than just the communication of results. It
also includes negotiation of knowledge between users and producers of science and
science products. It implies questions like “What makes the interchange between science
and policy credible, when is the knowledge salient, credible and relevant and who decides
on this?” The workshop participants recommended to carefully craft a strategy to enable
IHDP to better interact at the science –policy/practice arena, in order to play an active
role in conducting science for practice. A paper on the Science –Practice Interface is in
the drafting process and as well foreseen to be presented at the 6 th Open Meeting, in
Coleen Vogel pointed at the fields of common interests, like the notion of “adaptation”,
which is currently high on the climate policy agenda. Coleen emphasized the need for
IHDP to get engaged in these discussions, despite the difficulties of differing
conceptualisations and languages. Oran Young concluded that the practical implications
of the Arizona workshop outcomes for IHDP’s agenda needed to be an external and
internal reflection on these results, in order to identify key actors of the science-practice
arena, and start a process of translation accordingly.
Wednesday, 23 March 2005
Update from the Sponsoring Programmes
(by Leah Goldfarb and Gordon McBean, ICSU)
Leah Goldfarb summarized recent developments in ICSU. ICSU developed a strategic
plan for 2006 – 2012 on the basis of several strategic reports, including 1) Assessment
on environmental and sustainable development; 2) Assessment on scientific data and
information; 3) Assessment on capacity building.
The International Polar Year (IPY, 2007-2008) is one of the main priorities of ICSU in the
area of environment; two human dimensions scientists are on the joint committee for the
IPY. The deadline for project proposals for the IPY is 30 June 2005. Other activities
- Natural Hazards and Disasters (see below, G. McBean)
- Assessment of Global Change Programmes (with IHDP being the first of the four)
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Work with the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The next two year
cycle will focus on four areas: Climate Change, Atmosphere/air pollution,
industrial development and energy for sustainable development. IHDP input is
sought, particularly in the area of industrial development.
ICSU is encouraging IHDP to join IGOS-P, the Integrated Global Observing
Strategy Partnership.
IGFA and ICSU are co-organizing in May a workshop on “Global Change and
Development” to bring together the GEC and development aid communities.
Gordon McBean reported on the newly created ICSU Ad-hoc Scoping Group on
Natural and Human-Induced Environmental Hazards . When looking at hazards,
vulnerability and resilience, there is a human as well as an environmental side to it. The
number of natural disasters, such as storms, floods and droughts (hydrometerological
hazards) has increased dramatically in the past decades while biological and geological
hazards have not increased much. The impacts and economic costs of these hazards are
overwhelming in developing countries, and they set them back by decades (i.e.,
Hurricane ‘Mitch’ in Honduras). The ICSU Assessment Panel on Environment and its
relation to sustainable development suggested that four areas were priorities for ICSU in
consideration of new activities :
- Environment and Human Health
- Natural and Human induced hazards
- Human Security – environmental refugees
- Transgenic crops
An ICSU program would include, for example, research on:
- Natural hazards including weather and earthquakes
- Public policy and strategies for mitigation and adaptation; and The analysis and
design of infrastructure and public health systems
This research should build on ESSP research, as well as the disciplinary expertise of
unions (i.e., IUGG) and UN agencies like ISDR, UNESCO and its IOC and WMO. Currently,
the research is still conducted along disciplinary lines and more interdisciplinary research
is needed. Gordon explained about the different viewpoints and definitions of
vulnerability and hazards, depending on the discipline background. In the field of
hazards, mitigation refers to actions to reduce vulnerability while in climate change,
mitigation is focused is on reducing emissions.
(by Ali Kazancigil, Secretary General ISSC)
ISSC underwent a strategic reform process in the past year, implementing a report
issued by its Strategic Planning Action Committee (SPAC) on tasks within ISSC, which
also calls for changing the structure of ISSC and expanding national organizations. His
suggests that IHDP would have a good opportunity to establish partnerships with ISSC’s
other projects, CROP and GGD. Two new ISSC projects are in the beginning phases, one
on ethnic conflicts and approaches to peace, and one on the social dimensions of
globalization, with the following four sub-themes:
1) Polarization and upward trends in world system
2) Migration and globalization
3) Social policy and globalization
4) Socio-economic actors and agents of globalization.
Particularly with this last project, it is envisioned that IHDP could have an important role
in liaising with this project and establish a partnership with it. Also, IHDP should make a
more concerted effort to get more formally involved in processes that are already
involved IHDP researchers, such as the global/ UN agenda in the forms WSSD, IPCC, etc.
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Setting Priorities for IHDP: Challenges and Constraints
Coleen presented a frame and action plan for the development of a stronger vision for
IHDP. She reminded the audience of the need to explore entry points of the human
dimensions research to the wider sustainability area and asked for the identification of
“signature cases” to start articulating key themes of societal relevance. In the course of
her presentation she proposed a frame of key topics, outlined a number of potential
signature cases in the different fields of action and offered some thoughts on points of
The discussion centred the question how this new vision frame is related to the crosscutting questions synthesis IHDP has started to develop since the last SC meeting. Some
of the participants worried that applying the new framework is dissolving the cross-cuts
framework and the process from last year is being repeated. Coleen explained that by
offering this frame she did not intend to repeat the process but was afraid the SC would
kick-off the next cross-cut without having finished the first exercise on vulnerability
research. She stressed that funders are repeatedly asking for a consistent, ‘over-arching’
vision of IHDP and our relevance in the wider discussions on global environmental change
and the sustainable development and sustainability arena.
Much discussion then ensured and is still ongoing. Oran Young stressed that there was
one issue about branding and a second about the distinct role of the SC. Branding is
related to identifying what is unique and distinct to IHDP. Related to the role of the SC,
he argued that so far the core projects have functioned as an engine and that another
approach would be to give the SC a distinctive role beyond only promoting and
supporting the projects.
Gernot Klepper advocated making a distinction between research questions and academic
questions defining research based on societal problems. IHDP works in an area where
different disciplines come together to find both academic and scientific solutions to
different problems. His suggestion is for IHDP to organize an internal Focal Group to 1)
decide on what is the focus of IHDP and where we should be active, 2) only then decide
how to go after this, and 3) then decide how to organize this within the IHDP Secretariat.
He further highlighted the need to first understand the internal and external feedback
mechanisms and that it was not enough to just talk about e.g. modelling, as this is just a
tool and does not define research or priority questions. He also wondered what would be
the policies/recommendations that come out of our research, from each core project and
from IHDP itself.
The suggestion from Roberto Guimaraes was to organize an internal Task Force on Policy
to offer recommendations at the global level and to show IHDP strengths. Geoff
suggested to find out about the core deliverables from IHDP both on the scientific side
and on the practitioners side and asked for a mandate to flesh out prospects for future
core projects (e.g. global hazards, poverty) and then link them to policy. Gernot
suggested not inventing anything new, but continue on the process of fleshing out the
cross-cuts. This exercise needs a clear identification of IHDP’s turf and the areas in which
IHDP is most active within the international community. The mandate should be to define
these areas and not do too many new things, as it may counteract our investments in
more coherence.
It was finally suggested that the SC should jointly work on a serious document to
redefine the vision of IHDP and link it to a clear mandate, addressing both the societal
and the academic aspects of the vision. It should include a set of instances where we
work (core projects / themes), a clear set of questions about dynamics (cross-cutting
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themes/questions) and what we want to do with all of this (raise a set of societal
questions on the kind of future or environment we want formulated in terms of
alternatives, perceptions, choices, risks etc.). Ali added the point that IHDP should clarify
the vision of its role within the ESSP in terms of what linkages, relationships, and
dynamics can only be established by social scientists.
Sander presented an oral summary of the SC discussion on further developing the IHDP’s
scientific framework. He stressed that IHDP needs a serious statement stressing that the
main societal issue is sustainability based on, for example, coupled systems, which is an
academic question and IHDP would like to put forward the different possible choices
societies have in relation to this theme. The discussion concluded with an endorsement of
Sander’s previous summary. He offered to provide a first draft of a written statement
drawing on what was said before and circulate it for comments.
This is has now been drafted, circulated to a small writing team identified at the Sc
including the Executive, Sander and Gernot. When a more complete draft is completed
this will be circulated to the wider SC for comments.
(by Leen Hoordijk, Chair External Review Panel)
Leen Hoordijk highlighted a few point of the still ongoing discussions within the External
Assessment Panel group. He expressed that the level of activities within IHDP impressed
the committee. Especially the number of networking activities and the share of IHDP’s
overall budget devoted to this kind of outreach activities is honoured by the Assessment
group as a great balance between core projects and outreach/capacity building. Leen
Hoordijk posed a number of questions on behalf of the Assessment Panel:
1) What were / are the criteria for the selection of the IHDP core projects?
Coleen Vogel explained that the IHDP engagement with the new core projects LOICZ
and the Global Land Project has been strongly linked to previous relations, prior to
this current executive, that had been made between IGBP’s and IHDP on invitation by
IGBP to co-host thee new projects.. It was also clarified that there has to be made a
distinction between the IHDP core projects and the joint projects because of their
different histories. Oran Young reported on the dialectical process between the
scientific community and the IHDP SC as a basis for a peer reviewed process of
crafting a project.
2) How influences IHDP the policy process?
SC members reported from specific contributions through IHDP projects that are
admittedly not very clearly identified as an IHDP contribution but rather carried on by
personal engagement of project related scientists. In the case of the GECHS project
Karen O’Brien pointed at the fact that GECHS has made a very conscious attempt to
have a dialogue with policy (e.g. with the AVISO bulletin). The SC agreed to take an
effort on drafting an IHDP policy on “policy-links” and this is tied to the second paper
that is to emerge from the Arizona meeting e.g. vulnerability, adaptation and
resilience and links between science and the practitioner community on these themes.
Although IHDP must take care to avoid policy-advocacy, all SC members agree that
IHDP should make an investment in policy/practice –relevance arena.
3) What are the relations between the SSCs, SC and National Committees?
Debra Meyer Wefering gave an overview of the global network of IHDP National
Committees (NC) and National Contact Points (NCP). These Committees are viewed
as one of IHDP's leading strengths and driving forces of research activities,
connecting international research agendas to national and regional research agendas.
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To date 62 nations are actively linked to our research community, half of which are
developing countries or transition economies. Since the IHDP SC and Core Project
SSCs were asked in 2003 to play a more active role in IHDP’s national and regional
networks, the number of NCs/NCPs doubled. IHDP currently has 31 National
Committees (13 with representation from two or more global environmental change
programmes) and 31 National Contact Points. Within the last two years, there has
been a clear increase in communication with NC/NCP and in SC/SSC member
involvement in national and regional activities. The new role of IHDP NC/NCP has
enhanced visibility of our programme as well as links between NC/NCP and the core
projects and increased the national contributions. They are also instrumental in IHDP
capacity building efforts.
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