Impact assessment has developed over the past 35 years as a tool for incorporating sound scientific knowledge into decision-making. As practice has evolved and new forms such as SEA have emerged, it has become increasingly apparent that expertise in the biophysical sciences must be complemented by an understanding of social and political processes. Impact assessment is therefore best seen as both science and art, and it is only in this way that it can fulfill its potential as a tool for influencing decision-making processes.
The current trajectory of global development highlights the need for fundamental change in the way in which we think, act and make decisions. This conference will explore questions of the role of impact assessment in promoting societal change towards sustainability, and particularly how the biophysical and the social sciences can be meaningfully alloyed with the art of policy-making to contribute to the change process. This is the challenge that impact assessment practitioners are now called upon to meet.
What works? What doesn’t work? What challenges lie over the horizon for impact assessment? We hope that you will come and share with other participants your ideas, your experience, your concerns and your hope for the future on these themes and the topics listed.