International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA)

IAIA Releases Climate Change Position Statement

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Impact Assessment is Essential in Guiding the Response to the Climate Change Emergency

WASHINGTON, DC -- IAIA Issues Position Statement on Climate Change

Impact Assessment is Essential in Guiding the Response to the Climate Change Emergency

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) released a position statement declaring its solidarity with the world’s scientific community in expressing grave concern that the global climate emergency is accelerating the deterioration of systems that support life on Earth and is threatening our common future. This is the first official position statement in IAIA’s 40 years of existence. “IAIA believes the situation is so dire that it required an official position statement and action plan,” said David Bancroft, IAIA’s Executive Director. “As the world begins to address global unemployment, economic uncertainty, and COVID-19 recovery, the climate change emergency remains, with profound implications for human health, socio-economic well-being, and environmental quality,” continued Bancroft. “Assisting decision-makers in managing those implications is part of IAIA’s core mission to advance best practice and innovation in impact assessment.”

In order to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, major sectors, including infrastructure, energy production, transportation, and development planning, will all have to undergo massive transformations. IAIA’s statement emphasizes that this is an opportunity for impact assessment (IA) to be a part of the solution to climate change. This statement comes on the heels of a recent IAIA survey of over 900 impact assessment professionals showing that 75 percent of respondents believe it is highly important that impact assessment processes be applied to enhance climate change mitigation in anticipated post-COVID-19 infrastructure programs. The Co-chair of IAIA’s Climate Change Section, Wes Fisher, added, “Applying impact assessment processes can guide decision-making at local, national, and global levels and help ensure alternatives are chosen that avoid costly social and environmental misjudgments. IA professionals are specialists in weighing alternatives as part of the impact assessment process.”

Since the IAIA Board of Directors finalized the statement in March, a set of priority climate change actions have been developed and are being carried out by IAIA’s Climate Change Section. IAIA will support these efforts through organizational actions, including:

  • Using its role as an Observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to support actions under the Paris Agreement and to request the Conference of the Parties and the UNFCCC to champion the precautionary use of IA processes as essential climate change adaptation/mitigation tools.

  • Liaising directly with institutional investors, insurance industry, and risk analysts on the importance of IA, since these sectors have far reaching effects on the long-term sustainability of policies and programs.

  • Building vital relationships with journalists to create better bridges of communication between IA practitioners and both policy-makers and the general public.

Fisher emphasized, “As the world addresses global unemployment and prepares for post-COVID-19 recovery, the climate change emergency is deepening.” However, at the same time, he sees “exciting and unique opportunities to shape our re-employment responses by using impact assessment processes to help select ‘preferred’ infrastructure and public works alternatives that best reduce global carbon emissions.”

IAIA’s Full Climate Change Position Statement: English Version | Spanish Version

Executive Director David Bancroft’s blog on the Climate Change Position Statement

IAIA’s March 2020 “Impact of COVID-19 on IA and its Practitioners” Survey Results

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