By Greg Schreiner
Global development aspirations, such as those endorsed within the Sustainable Development Goals, are complex. Sometimes the science is contested, the values are divergent, and the solutions are unclear. How can researchers help stakeholders and policy-makers use credible knowledge for decision-making, which accounts for the full range of trade-off implications?
‘Assessments’ are now commonly used.Following their formal adoption by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in the early 1990s, they have been used at the science-society-policy interface to tackle global questions relating to biodiversity and ecosystems services, human well-being, ozone depletion, water management, agricultural production, and many more.
Given the nature of the questions they address, assessments are transdisciplinary, involving integration of different knowledge domains. In this piece, I briefly explore what an assessment is and then describe the assessment for shale gas development in South Africa, where we used the concept of risk as the integrative framework.