Defining Integrated Assessment
Integrated assessment (IA) can be defined as the scientific “meta-discipline” that integrates knowledge about a problem domain and makes it available for societal learning and decision making processes. Public policy issues involving long-range and long-term environmental management are where the roots of integrated assessment can be found. However, today, IA is used to frame, study and solve issues at other scales. IA has been developed for acid rain, climate change, land degradation, water and air quality management, forest and fisheries management and public health. The field of Integrated Assessment engages stakeholders and scientists, often drawing these from many disciplines.
The Bellagio Principles for assessing progress towards sustainable development serve as guidelines for carrying out IA. They address the whole assessment process including the choice and design of indicators, their interpretation and communication of the result. The principles are interrelated and should be applied as a complete set. They are intended for use in starting and improving assessment activities of community groups, non-government organizations, corporations, national governments, and international institutions.