Keynote Presentations from the 2nd AVEC International Summer School, Peyresq, 18-30 September 2005

Speaker: Anne C. de la Vega-Leinert
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegrafenberg C4, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Title of the talk: How to integrate stakeholders´ needs in Vulnerability Assessments?

Summary of the talk by Willem Rienks: Students´ summary (pdf)


How to integrate stakeholders´ needs in Vulnerability Assessments?

Global change research plays an important societal role by raising key questions on the way people apprehend their environment and use its resources. In the past decades the realisation that human activities were having an immense impact on nature and the capacity of ecosystems to function properly was largely spurred by the endeavour of ecologists and other natural scientists. This led to a vast and rich societal debate, which in industrial countries resulted in dramatic changes in legislation and management practice. Scientists involved in bringing climate and then more largely global change to the public arena were long chiefly concerned with understanding the earth system, the mechanisms leading to climate change, and its potential impacts on ecosystems and the human population. In the last two decades Vulnerability Assessments have developed as a important discipline, the aim of which is not only to study the potential impacts of certain changes, but also possible mitigation (e.g. finding ways to minimise the changes) and adaptation (e.g. finding ways to prevent or minimise damages) avenues. To achieve this ambitious goal, scientists not only need to work increasingly in interdisciplinary teams, but to engage in a dialogue with societal actors (i.e. stakeholders), such as policy makers, economic sectors representatives, environmentalists and the wider public.

So why do scientists need to engage with stakeholders?

When and how to engage with stakeholders?

There are many ways to engage stakeholders, each one responding to a specific Vulnerability Assessment need.

When? How?

In summary: a Vulnerability Assessment is a bridge between fundamental and applied sciences, as is user-oriented, although it provides solid and innovative scientific understanding on complex systems and their possible evolution. Since it is aimed at transferring and exchanging knowledge between scientists and stakeholders, it is important to include stakeholders judiciously in the shaping, the making and the evaluating of the Vulnerability Assessment to be performed.

Recommended background literature on this presentation:

Science - policy interface
Case studies
AVEC is a EU FP5 Concerted Action No. EVK2-CT-2001-20010
back to the AVEC Summer School Programme
back to AVEC