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e-LUP Workshop (3). e-LUP. One more year!. Mikael Pihlström Bordeaux, 12-14 June 2008. The project has four distinct phases.

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E lup

e-LUP Workshop (3)


One more year!

Mikael Pihlström

Bordeaux, 12-14 June 2008

The project has four distinct phases

  • case studies on ecosystem biogeochemistry, landscape biodiversity, ecotechnosystems, pollution, multifunctional agriculture, sustainable building, May 2006 – October 2007.

  • dynamic models and their incorporation into an interactive visualization software, 1st batch ready Aug 2007, 2nd batch ready April 2008.

  • combining simulations, text, videos and graphics into a e-textbook/tool, June 2009. BUT, test version by June 2008

  • testing of the e-tool/e-textbook by policy makers (including EC staff) & stakeholders, July 2008 – May 2009.

Guntis Brumelis on

Biodiversity policies

+ acquaintance with policies

+ critical & analytical standpoint

Dries Boxman and William van Dijk on Water and Soils

+ readable and catchy

+ focus on issues

Jaap IVAM and Jutta IVAM on Sustainable Cities

+ message across forcefully

+ anarchy & enthusiasm

#1 Assume the end user viewpoint.

  • Our primary user, the policy maker or preparer, needs to do an impact assessment; hence, she/he opens the e-tool and formulates her/his question.

  • Other potential end users : national, regional or local administrations, research, education, NGO’s, industrialists.

  • The IA guidelines of the European Commission, which list 32 major impact issues, subdivided into hundreds of lower hierarchy questions (annex 1) is our initial framework too.

  • But, a critical attitude towards the IA-guidelines questions: are they relevant, sufficient and well formulated?

#2 Understand the aim of SIA … and the central SIA concepts … correctly

  • Putting SIA in the centre field of policy making creates a rather new situation, which we have to focus on constantly: we are providing integrated answers whenever possible, not separate ones in the fields of environment, society, economics.

  • Note that the EU definition of sustainability includes economical growth (welfare, prosperity, full employment), as did the Brundtland report (see discussion in WP2 manual). In EU the Lisbon Agenda and the SD strategy are seen as complementary.

  • You are referred to the WP2 Manual chapters 2 - 4 for a necessary background on sustainable development and impact assessment.

#3 Mirror the IA procedure concepts … correctly

  • The chapters should follow the logical framework and pathway of actually doing a regular extended impact assessment according to current EU-guidelines (SEC(2005)791).

  • The subject area of any chapter is essentially determined by the interplay and feedback loops between issues (problems or conditions), leading to impacts, which are analyzed and assessed with SIA approaches and tools, to produce appropriate policies

Integration! concepts … correctly

#4 A casual model helps in describing complex issues concepts … correctly

  • The methodology for identifying and comparing impacts is the central part of e-LUP. In each chapter the construction of a causal model is recommended; all impacts should be included and also quantified if possible. The method to achieve a model might differ by issue from e.g. impact chain analysis or Driver-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses (OECD), to more web-like approaches.

#5 Observe that the textbook is structured around decision-tree and search functions

  • Following from point #1, interactivity, that is generating answers to the user’s question, defines the structure of the whole e-tool /textbook. Each chapter team must observe and comply with the decision tree, which allocates the generic questions (=impact issues, annex 1) to be answered, to specific chapters and e-tool “cards” in a indexed database. The questions are listed as “impact issues” in the chapter guidelines. A chapter cannot be designed without regard for this linking structure which permeates the e-textbook and e-tool.

e-textbook……………………………. e-tool…………………………..

text as index cards, short and focused acc. to different categories, offering questions

running text, linkable subsections, answering questions

  • #6 The end product should be both self-contained and a hub linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc.

  • For our end product to succeed it is important that it is perceived as an entity, as a useful tool that the user will stay with for the time it takes to read up on a issue and SIA. It should be self-contained and coherent. E-texts with a lot of links and asides generally run the danger of unintentionally pushing the user out in the internet, before the full potential of the tool opens up to the user.

  • On the other hand, the e-text offers an opportunity to provide access to information and act as a veritable portal to the topics in question. In figure 2 (p. 10) an example from the ‘air pollution’ chapter is given. The amount and form of linking has to be carefully planned, to preserve the coherence of textbook.

#7 Focus on the policy level linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc

  • Impact assessment is frequently divided according to level: Project, Plan, Policy. The point to be stressed is that in e-LUP we are mostly dealing with ex ante policy assessment, which requires a broad and integrative approach.

  • Note, that level in the sense used above and scale are different concepts. Policies can affect very differing horizontal or vertical scales, from regional or sectoral to EU-wide and to whole economy/society scale. Assessing a policy might however best be done starting at a small scale, e.g. farmer, forest owner, consumer or entrepreneur, because these are key actors reacting to a policy. But, to measure policy impacts the results have to be aggregated to reproduce the total impact.

#8 linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etcPolicy hierarchies and regimes

  • The focus on policies (#7) does not consist of only listing and describing the numerous policies bound to exist for all major issues in the e-textbook. The interactions and hierarchies between policies must be dealt with.

  • Environmental regimes and regime theory generally is a growing movement for analyzing large-scale international policies, not only in a legal-formal sense, but the whole institutional setting, governance aspects and stakeholder influence etc. (Breitmeier et al 2006).

  • The policy review of a chapter could well start with international policies, which are common ground for EU member states and Russia on the other hand.

#9 SIA is already being implemented and it is evolving linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc in EU.

  • After the decisions taken at the Gothenburg and Laeken councils (2001), establishing impact assessment as an important element of EU ‘better regulation’ and sustainable development, hundreds of IA’s have already been done and also evaluated (ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/index_en.htm).

  • Both the issues, the assessments and the conclusions seem to differ a lot; no standard format or easy template exists. It is recommended that existing and relevant IA:s should be surveyed in each chapter.

#10 Distinguish between marginal and total impacts linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc

  • Our primary task is to assess marginalchanges, occurring upon the adoption of a certain policy, directive or law.

  • For instance, if the policy affects road traffic, the pertinent question might be: “by what percentage is the traffic on main roads reduced”, rather than the more generic and l question: “is road traffic at all sustainable”.

  • But, here careful consideration is needed. The texts might well need a historical (total) approach to illustrate long term trends and the whole amplitude of change.

  • Sustainable development will happen both through marginal change and radical leaps. If there, in a fictional case, are grounds for stating that road traffic is overall unsustainable and a major modal shift is needed immediately, then we should say so, not be constrained by the principle of marginal impacts.

#12 A tool-oriented approach linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc

  • For the writing teams there is an obligation to review the existing and emerging tools such as models, DSS applications and interactive databases within their topic. Innovative uses of electronic material and media is also a key point in this context (see WP 2 manual, p.37).

  • It is important to distinguish between (traditional) ‘single issue’ or sectoral tools and truly integrative tools, which are especially needed for SIA level assessments.

    #13 …based on state-of-the-art science

  • According to the call text the SIA-tools to be developed within this subpriority area should rely on state-of-the-art science and not engage in new research as such.

  • However, it is not as straightforward as that: the whole project is about scientists informing policy making. As science disseminators we should never disconnect from critical thinking, especially if there are powerful reigning consensuses. The state-of -the-art is constantly being re-examined in the scientific debate and publications.

#14 Use definite time spans in assessments and projections linking to other information sources, models, projects, policies etc

  • Take energy technologies as an example: the conclusion regarding the feasibility of sun power or nuclear fusion is obviously very different if the time span is changed from the next 20 years to the next 100 years.

  • Further: carbon sequestration and storage at the source (power plants) is costly, uncertain as to leakage from aquifers etc., and dependent on non-renewable fossil energy, but could coal power with zero carbon emissions be the solution for a transition period?

  • … in e-LUP we should always specify the projected time period: by 2030, by 2050, by 2100

#15 Impacts of climate change as well as impacts of climate change mitigation policies

  • …. have risen high on the EU agenda during the last years. A strong point of our end-product could be constant attention to these issues (both climate change in itself and adaption/mitigation policies). It has been advanced that climate change should be looked at through the lens of sustainability rather than sustainability being looked at through the lens of climate change (Robertson et a. 2006). Fundamentally, it is about selecting sustainable developmental pathways first, rather than first discuss the costs and imposed constraints of mitigation measures … the challenge for e-LUP could be to address climate change consistently all through the e-textbook, with the fullest treatment in chapter 3.

Thank you
Thank you! climate change mitigation policies

Thank you!