The scoping stage is designed to identify the framework and direction of the assessment in collaboration with stakeholders. It is important to understand the current environmental, social and economic context, and the challenges faced by decision-makers to account for the full value of nature. This can help identify where the needs for an assessment lie, including the knowledge that is required to support decisions as well as the information gaps that need to be filled.
The scoping stage explores how and why an ecosystem assessment might be carried out. There are three main components:
1. Determining the need for an assessment
2. Defining key policy questions that the assessment will address
3. Examining key design considerations and constraints
Stakeholder engagement & policy impact
Stakeholders play a critical role throughout the national ecosystem assessment process. During the scoping stage, stakeholders contribute to identifying the need for the assessment and the key policy questions.
Stakeholder engagement from the outset helps increase ownership of the process and support its outcomes. It also contributes to align the assessment with policy priorities, supporting its credibility, legitimacy and relevance.
The scoping stage will result in a number of key outputs for the assessment. This includes, but is not limited to a communications strategy and a scoping report:
One key output from the scoping stage is to develop a communication strategy for the assessment. Developing this as early as possible in the assessment process helps to ensure the right people are engaged effectively and at the right time.
This includes both internal audiences who are directly involved in the production of the assessment, and external audiences who are not involved in producing the assessment but may have an interest in its outcomes.
The scoping report summarizes the agreed framework and direction of the national ecosystem assessment based on stakeholder consultation. The content of the report comprises the following:
- Key policy questions
- Key design considerations and constraints
- Rationale & usefulness of the assessment
- Methodological approaches & key datasets
- Technical report chapter outline
- Strategic partnerships & initiatives
- Process, timetable & operational structure