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Siebenhuener, Bernd. 2002. "How Do Scientific Assessments Learn? Part 1. Conceptual Framework and Case Study of the IPCC." Environmental Science & Policy 5: 411-420.


Scientific assessments play a crucial role in advising and shaping political decisions particularly in the environmental domain. Therefore, this and the accompanying paper (Part 2) present two case studies of international environmental assessments with a perspective on internal learning processes. When carried out over a longer period of time, scientific assessments provide an opportunity for learning from past experience and from other assessment experiences which gives them the opportunity to become more powerful institutions in the process of solving environmental problems and in advising political decision-making. The paper will investigate how the assessments at hand organised their learning processes and which factors might have been influential in these processes. To answer these questions, a conceptual framework will be developed drawing particularly on literature on organisational learning. This concept will be applied to two case studies on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and (Part 2) on the scientific assessments under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). Both cases are iterative processes with significant changes of the assessment institutions over time, but they differ in their basic structures and in their effectiveness with regard to political outcomes which allows for their comparison in order to draw general conclusions.

Keywords: scientific assessment, organisational learning, IPCC, LRTAP


See also:

Siebenhuener, Bernd. 2002. "How Do Scientific Assessments Learn? Part 2. Case Study of the LRTAP Assessments and Comparative Conclusions." Environmental Science & Policy 5: 421-427.


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